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.