Lordy, where did that month go? It’s deep into the time of preparing for next season, this one being dead and gone. I’ve been planting, digging up and potting, moving and chucking out. I write myself lists, the current one still has less things done than not.
It being the weird year it is, on Tuesday Hampshire Hardy Plant had Jimmy Blake talking on Zoom rather than in the flesh, meaning they could throw it open to people from far flung places like Cornwall. I loved his talk, thought here is a man who is singing from the same hymn sheet as me, so I bought his book, which arrived yesterday. I should have made it one of my six, maybe I’ll do six books at some point.
There was just a little frost on the ground friday morning but as far as I can see, no damage was done. It means that things are surviving, even flowering still, providing something to talk about.
Hydrangea ‘You and Me Together’ was moved at the beginning of the year, so a bit slow to get going. It has flowered well and the old flowers are still in good shape and are shades of red and purple. The late produced flowers just seem to sit there, barely changing. They open pale and darken gradually, blue in my acid soil. I still prefer the more refined serrata varieties but I really can’t complain about this one.
Sometimes you get something completely wrong, sometimes only a bit wrong. I planted a camellia just a bit too close to a path. It was fine for a few years but for the last couple it’s been getting increasingly annoying. I moved it around 15 inches, which took most of the work that moving it a mile would have done. I will try to keep it around the size it is now, I won’t want to move it again in another five years.
Plectranthus zuluensis. This plant will get left out though its smaller sister really needs trimming and getting under cover so she can go in this pot next year. They rather rapidly get too big to deal with, but you have to be impressed by a show like this in late November. While taking the picture I realised I’d taken no cuttings for next year, remedied while I remembered; they should root no problem.
Lorapetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Fire Dance’. I bought this a year ago and have just managed to plant it out this week. I knew where I wanted to put it but needed to move several cyclamen first. The trouble with cyclamen is that the right time to move them is when they’re not showing and you can’t find them; so I moved them at the wrong time, they’ll be fine. There was a time I wouldn’t have regarded Lorapetalum as a hardy plant, even here, but I have very little concern now, though I’d protect it if we got really vicious cold. It seems highly unlikely.
We have a plant of Berberis thunbergii ‘Golden Torch’, which when a young plant suits its name quite well in that all the new shoots are bolt upright. What then happens is that those same shoots produce a mass of side shoots in their top third and arch over, which turns it into a fairly shapeless yellow blob. I took the secateurs to it and will give it a last chance, might even tie it in to keep it vertical. I doubt it will still be there in a year’s time.
Fuchsia microphylla. In mid summer you’d barely notice this flowering but at this season of the year it doesn’t have much competition and comes into its own. The blue behind is Salvia corrugata.
I was cleaning up leaves yesterday and there are bluebells starting to push up. Next season’s early birds aren’t for waiting for this season’s stragglers to finish. That’s good, I don’t want a spell when nothing is happening, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. We’re back to dreary greyness with a hint of drizzle today, enough of a dampener on my gardening plans; I’d like to get a few more things ticked on my list. One thing I will certainly be doing is checking on what the rest of the SoS community are up to, starting with Jon, the main man. He’ll be mentioning tulips for sure.