I just spent the last hour blasting mealy bugs off cacti, at which point the skies opened and I ran for cover. Such a glamorous life. I was expecting to be fencing this weekend, the kind with bits of wood, not swords. Unfortunately only part of what I’d ordered was delivered, so now the rest is due Tuesday. Doesn’t sound like the weather would have helped so perhaps it’s for the best.
I’ll have a coffee, get this posted, then hit the cacti with SB Invigorator before putting them back in the glasshouse.
Nematodes 1. I bought two garden Chrysanthemums earlier this year and one has gone well and truly pear shaped. I have the Hardy Plant Society book on them and it looks like I have eelworm, aka nematodes. Specifically it will be Aphelenchoides ritzemabosi, which attacks a wide range of hosts, especially Compositae. I can’t say I’m totally surprised as one of the adjacent Heleniums had similar symptoms earlier in the summer. I have no idea which had it first. Most of the advice online says it’s untreatable and to destroy affected material and sanitise the area as best you can. The HPS book says you can treat it with hot water. I duly dug both plants, discarded the tops and most of the Helenium, then divided the rest into single shoots which I washed thoroughly. I then submerged the lot in hot water at 45°C for 5 minutes, then into cold water. They’re now potted up and I’ll see if they grow away clean, or at all.
Nematodes 2. Steinernema kraussei, for vine weevil control. I treated young Camellia plants about six weeks ago but will do them again, along with Begonias and some succulents. I picked 30 grubs out of 4 9cm pots yesterday, too late for both plants and grubs now. Succulents are difficult, they get up into the stems out of reach of nematodes. There were millipedes and woodlice as well, but it’s the wine weasels that I hates the most. Today they all die!
Chrysanthemum ‘Jolie Rose’. The other variety is doing just fine and is a very nice splash of colour this late in the year.
Amarines. I was admiring a late flowering bulb in a friend’s garden on Thursday but when I looked at the label it just said Nerine. I was sceptical as it looked a lot like my Amarine tubergenii ‘Zwanenburg’ and not much like any Nerine I’d seen. Suffice it to say that https://jacquesamandintl.com/product-category/amarine/# is likely to get a return visit in spring. I think it may be Amarine tubergenii ‘Aphrodite’, from the Belladiva series. It’s doing very well planted in the ground and I think that’s what I’ll do with mine, which are in a big pot and only produced one flower stem this year.
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’. The male Skimmias generally have much bigger flower heads than the females and the buds are ornamental for several months through the winter, opening in spring, so even without producing berries they are well worth having.
Geranium incanum, or maybe harveyi. I obtained this as Geranium incanum but I’ve never been convinced that’s right. G. harveyii seems a better match, judging pictures online. During the winter months it makes a tidy mound of silvery leaves then in summer it sends out long stems which carry lilac-blue flowers. One way or another it’s a good plant for 11 months of the year.
Tomorrow is the longest day of the year, all 25 hours of it. It doesn’t look like it will be a gardening day, any more than today, so progress will be made on the records for the National Collection of Camellias, my wet weather job. There will be gardening going on somewhere and I will be checking in at The Propagator to find out about it. Now I’m off back to my killing. Have a nice day.