Six on Saturday – 28/11/2020

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.

One.
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.

Two.
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.

Camellia ‘Adorable’.

Three.
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.

Plectranthus zuluensis

Four.
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.

Lorapetalum ‘Fire Dance’

Five.
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.

Six.
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.

Fuchsia microphylla

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.

36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 28/11/2020

  1. Despite you calling the end of the year, you are still very busy in the garden. I like to consider it the start of the year as they snowdrops are beginning to come up all over the garden – though, on days when the temperatures don’t reach the magical 10C, the flowers don’t open, which is a disappointment.

    We had Jimi Blake on Zoom during the week also. He’s a very enthusiastic plantsman, always on the lookout for the next new thing to come along, always changing the planting in his garden; a very nice person along with being an excellent gardener. We have visited his garden on several occasions and that of his sister, June, which is only down the road from his, so very convenient to have two excellent gardens close together.

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    1. I can see that snowdrops are a great bridge between seasons but I’m still not tempted onto it, beyond the unnamed singles and doubles I already have. Jimi looks to have had a busy week. His enthusiasm is infectious and like him I like to keep ringing the changes. He’s a lot younger than me and you need a lot of energy to garden like that.

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  2. Lovely Plectranthus. I don’t think I’d succeed if I took cuttings this late – did you use bottom heat? I agree with you about the H. serrata varieties but ‘You and Me Together’ is quite enchanting! I never used to like hydrangeas much, but since they do quite well here, I am expanding my repertoire and yours is definitely worth planting.

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    1. I might be wrong about the Plectranthus but they are amongst the easiest things to root generally. They are enjoying bottom heat and supplementary light. Shall I stick my neck out and say rooted by Christmas?

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  3. It has been a crazy year, and I for one am so grateful that I have a garden to lose myself in during these trying times. You have featured a few of my favourite plants this week. Firstly the dainty pale blue flowers and the dark stems of the Plectranthus are a lovely combination. Although I have a few different species in the garden here, I don’t have P. zuluensis. I’m sure I can find a space for one! The Lorapetaum is a great plant to have in the garden for the lovely contrast it provides to the normal green foliage. I was only going to have one plant in our tiny garden, but I succumbed to temptation and bought more, and now have three! I finally had success with a Fuchsia this year. I find it grows better in a pot. A quick look online for F. microphylla in Australia gave no results. Such a pity as I like the simple bells of F. microphylla. Hope you have a great gardening week despite the weather!

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    1. Plectranthus zuluensis and argentatus are wonderful plants that I wouldn’t be without, we’ve had one or two others that haven’t really done it for me at all. I hope the Lorapetalum thrives, there’s nothing worse than a plant that languishes but doesn’t die. You’re so right about being able to escape to the garden, it’s kept me sane this year, just.

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  4. That Loropetalum is a beautiful colour. It does look as though it should lose its leaves in the cold. Will new leaves come in the spring or do these just stay put? Is that fuchsia the same as the one you gave me? It’s been lovely this year.

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    1. The Lorapetalum should be evergreen but it spent the coldest spells of last winter indoors and this is going to be its first outside. We have what seems to me to be the same Fuchsia under three different names, microphylla, ‘Cornish Pixie’ and x bacillaris. I have compared them minutely and cannot see any difference.

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  5. The You and Me together is indeed a beauty. I like all the others too, except for the Berberis. For one I’m not at all keen of its thorns, and I am sure you can think of something better. Sometimes shrubs have to be moved, and the work as you say is the same however near or far, but now I think the view through your pergoloa is much enhanced, to whatever that large leaved thing by your fence is. The combo of the Fuchsia in front of the Salvia is rather good.

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    1. The thing by the fence would be Dryopteris wallichianum. I’m slightly annoyed by the camellia now having a lean that it didn’t have before, but I’m not sure I want to move it again. All that I have against that Hydrangea is that its growth is very compact so it’s a bit of a lump, but that may be because I keep moving it around. Maybe I should do a bit of careful thinning on it.

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  6. The Plectranthus zuluensis is looking great. I had to go and google it though as I was intrigued as to whether the zulu part indicated a South African connection. The fushia is very pretty and and a great colour.

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  7. It’s amazing that your plectranthus is still in bloom right now. I just went out to see mine this morning (because I sent cuttings to a friend in the US ) and I don’t have a flower. ( P neochilus though)
    I have the same Loropetalum as you and I haven’t dared to plant it outside yet. For the moment it ‘s still in the greenhouse: I will see that in the spring.

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    1. I hope I haven’t made a mistake in planting the Lorapetalum. It’s not a soft, just out of a tunnel plant; hopefully it’s toughened up enough to survive. I just looked at pictures from last year and the Plectranthus went black from frost on 3rd December. It’ll go past that this year, there’s no frost in the forecast for the next two weeks.

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  8. Ooh, you are getting whizzy with the new editor. Actually took me a while to spot the difference in the camellia shots and there it was, staring me right in the face! Duh! My Hydrangea are all done, but I noticed in the larger hedgerow down the lane from me that there are still lots in flower. Your Plectranthus is gorgeous! The zuluensis intrigues me, does this indicate it comes from the Kwazulu Natal region of SA?

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      1. We’ve got ‘Mona Lavender’, which has green leaves with almost black backs to them. It looks like it might be thinking of trying to flower now. Biggest problem is it’s so brittle, every time the wind blows another bit snaps off.

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  9. Your Lorapetalum looks really healthy. I bought one last year and have it in a container on my patio. I thought I was going to lose it a few times, it didn’t seem at all happy. I moved it around into various places and by mid year it suddenly took on a new life. Now it is flourishing and producing some flowers so I dare not move it again so fingers crossed it’ll be ok if/when we have a cold snap.

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    1. So many of these borderline hardy plants are grown in tunnels by wholesale nurseries then delivered to retailers who put them outside in all weathers and hope to sell them before they go downhill. The growth will be soft and relatively tender both because it’s been in a tunnel and because its been pushed by relatively high feed levels. I keep plants like that in their pots, protected from severe cold, without any extra feed, for at least one season before planting them out. Coprosmas are another good example, toughen them up and they are really quite hardy, but I bet most die because people don’t realise how soft they are.

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  10. I like the colours on the Lorapetalum ‘Fire Dance’, and the Fuchsia microphylla is lovely and dainty. I also appreciate my Fuchsias at this time of year, I have lots of the hardy Fuchsia magellanica all flowering their socks off.

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  11. I could play all day with that slidy widget, Jim. I’m now resolved to move a camellia which is being swamped by a bully viburnum. A job for next week maybe. I love your Hydrangea ‘You and Me Together’. Your soil gives it such subtle colouring.

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    1. We’ve never had a Plectranthus hardy enough to survive winter outside so their size is limited by how big a plant we’re prepared to drag into a glasshouse. It’s much easier to take cuttings and start anew.

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  12. I have that lovely plectranthus, thank goodness it is easy from cuttings. I brought my lorepetalum in for the winter as I wasn’t sure about hardiness, I am interested to hear that it is hardy for you.

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  13. Can the berberis be cut to the ground to start over? I pruned a few by alternating canes, just because it seemed to work. The old overly branched canes were removed in preference for the new upright canes. However, it was too much meticulous work. For some of the grungier specimens, I just cut them to the ground. I figure that by next autumn, the new growth will be exactly where I want it to be.

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