Six on Saturday – 7/11/2020

At the end of a week of gardening where I barely engaged with plants at all, I’m going to do six plants. I just looked back to last week’s six and I’d barely started on my fence. Somehow I’ve pressed on through rain and shine and it’s now finished. I’ve tidied up and turned my back on it for a week or so. I have catching up to do elsewhere. The sun has been pleasant for the last three days and the garden has enjoyed the break from wind and rain, there seem to be things happening on multiple fronts.

Amaryllis belladonna. Perhaps seeking a diversion from fires and elections, Tony Tomeo sent me a package of Amaryllis seeds at the end of September. I haven’t grown them from seed before, mine never produce any, so I looked online and in books for advice. One seed per 8cm pot was one suggestion. I had around 500 seeds! I filled four 3L pots and put around sixty seeds in each. I didn’t know what to expect but best case scenario was a small bulb in the first year, so I figured they’d go dormant and I could then space them to grow on, assuming any came up. I put them on the window ledge and turned the radiator off. It’s the room with my computer in it and was too warm anyway. They’re coming up, in all probability every one of them. Several seeds have pushed up out of the compost so I should probably top dress the pots. I’ve no idea how long they take to flower.

Hedychium ‘Assam Orange’. This is one of those plants that flowers late in the summer and doesn’t seem to have time to ripen seed before the winter. In fact some years it doesn’t set seed. This year it’s pretty good and the ripe red fruits in their orange capsules were catching the sun and looking nearly as showy as the flowers. The seeds are easily squashed out of the fruits and cleaned. Sown straight away, they germinate quite readily and the progeny come pretty much true to the parent. I just don’t need any more. Seed anyone?

One the other side of the garden a similar story unfolds. Bomarea edulis is not, if truth be told, the showiest of its genus, though it’s undeniably interesting. I put it out, in its pot, back in the spring and it flowered in the summer. Now it has big clusters of fat fruits which are opening up to show these fleshy red fruits. They are very similar to the Hedychium but the seeds inside are quite a bit bigger. I sowed a pot full last year, which all germinated and eventually were composted for want of anything else to do with them. Too easy. Seed anyone? This year, when it has died down, I will plant the parent plant in the ground. It should survive the winter and come again in spring; my concern is whether it will come up and flower very late or not at all. We shall see.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Paradise Little Liane’. The Paradise series of sasanqua Camellias were raised by Bob Cherry in Australia. The autumn flowering sasanquas need a bit more sun and warmth to give of their best than the spring flowering Camellias and perhaps unsurprisingly, these Aussie hybrids seem to need even more. My plant of ‘Little Liane’ is in full sun at the front of the house and flowers freely; I know of two others in different gardens that have never had a flower on them, both growing in shade. The bush is compact and slow growing with small leaves, the flowers 3-4cm across and fragrant.

Dahlia ‘Cheyenne’. This was one of the Dahlias that just wouldn’t get going in the spring. I eventually dug it up, brought it under glass and took cuttings which I failed to label. They were potted on and put outside where they started budding in October. Not sure what this one was, I brought it back under glass where it has slowly opened out into everything you could want from a Dahlia. Seriously, is there any other plant that we can grow in the UK that could do this? When it first opened a week ago it was much darker, as in the second picture.

Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’. I don’t think this coloured last year; perhaps it collapsed before it had a chance. I’ve struggled to take pictures of it through the summer but now that it’s gone turned yellow there’s no such problem. Six feet tall or more. I hope it keeps standing for a while.

The garden is full of plants with the odd flower or two hanging on. For as long as I can find six and zoom in close, I can pretend that I have a flowery garden still. Overall it’s very much winding down though and it’s good to have things like grasses and evergreens to carry it over until the spring bulbs start to appear. Actually, most of the spring bulbs I have in pots are already coming up, so there’s always something to lift my spirits no matter how bad the weather or the news. Just the anticipation of flowers to come is good. That’s gardeners most of the time, looking for the good bits. The Propagator and his acolytes are seekers and spreaders of good bits.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 7/11/2020

  1. Wow! That dahlia is like a Chihuly glass sculpture. It is amazing! And how lovely to have those autumn flowering camellias to carry you through until spring.


  2. I’m afraid my two dahlias succumbed to the frost this week, as I mentioned in my post. I am going to try to grow them from seed next year. No:6 is very elegant. Maybe I will try some grasses next year………the things I am going to do next year, I’ll be pretty busy!


    1. My Dahlias have succumbed to rain and wind for years, I can’t remember when they got frosted last. Dahlias from seed are great but it’s pot luck what you get. I’ve grown them 50-60 at a time on my allotment and while they’re mostly good, there have not been many keepers.


  3. Having seen the seed capsules of the Bomarea edulis I would love to grow it for those alone. May I add that to the list I emailed? I have read a little more about the plant than I did during the week, when I had so much else on my mind. Your Dahlia Chayenne is better than any firework/pumpkin combination to cheer us up on this dull November Sunday morning. How tall does it grow there in your garden/glasshouse?


    1. Just been out and picked a few more Bomarea seed pods. ‘Cheyenne’ is tall, 4-5 feet in good soil with plenty of water. The pot plants in the greenhouse are a bit less, fortunately.


      1. Thanks very much Jim, I think there will be several of us who will be comparing notes come next year. Hope you will be posting some cultivation tips on your post, or setting us in the right direction if I am unable to find them from your wonderful index.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That Camellia is simply divine Jim. Such a pure white. Your ‘Transparent’ is much bushier than mine but maybe in a year mine will catch up. So strange we both chose to feature them this week.


  5. I’m with Katharine on the Camellia, so very unsuitable for my garden but so desirable. The dahlia is captivating too, one day I will find a comfortable place for dahlias in this garden. I had a quick peak at your fence photos too. That is a great job done 🙂


  6. Growing all those Amaryllis belladonna seed in pots would not be practical! I just put them in a flat, and let them grow through the year. While they are dormant, but just before they foliate, I separate the bulbs out. Some are too small to find; so I just dump the sorted medium from the flat in a damp spot on the side of the road where tiny bulbs can naturalize through the winter if conditions are right for them. I can always go back and dig them up later if there is use for them. Alternatively, I would use the same medium for another batch of seed for the following year. They supposedly take a long time to bloom from seed, but I think they grow rather rapidly. They form tiny bulbs in the first year. These bulbs grow significantly in the second year, even with a brief growing season. They grow so fast in the second season that some may bloom before their third season! They do not grow so fast after that, but they do not need to.


      1. I stopped collecting them for the year, and did not even finish deadheading all of them. Heck, if I encounter any while I am out and about, I break the tops off and toss them into a sunny spot a bit farther back from the road. Like Sweet Brown says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. There are just too many. I still have no plan for those that I am actually growing intentionally.


      2. I just looked in one bulb catalogue, they’re £3.80 each. It may take a while but I’m heading towards 200+ bulbs. I can’t just toss them on the ground and have them grow though, not that I’ve tried.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You can not purchase them either. That would be cheating. Besides, that is expensive. (It comes to $5.05!) I would not spend that much on a lily bulb that I actually want.
        Of those that I toss out, most get eaten by birds. Only a few germinate. However, I would rather give them a chance, rather than merely discard them. I suppose I will discard them when they take over the neighborhood.


      4. There is no need to feel guilty. They would have been discarded if they had not gone there. Birds actually like them, which is why I toss them into dried grassy weeds instead of onto bare ground. Alternatively, I plug them into the ground so that the birds can not see them. When I get too many, I toss them out along the roadside, and even if only a few come up, it is more than would have come up if I had discarded them.


      5. When I grow too many of something, it is typically something that is very difficult to find homes for, like deodar cedars or desert fan palms. Too many pelargoniums would be no problem.

        Liked by 1 person

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