Six on Saturday – 12/12/2020

Yesterday wasn’t much of a day for scurrying out between showers to see if anything was happening. Not a lot if truth be told, so I’ve had to be a bit creative. It’s a lot easier for me than many I know and I’m always impressed that so many people find something going on even in very small gardens at this time of the year.

Not in the garden at all is this Hippeastrum ‘Apple Blossom’. I took its picture by the window, so there’s a fuzzy view of garden fence behind it. I bought a few different ones this year, this one is flowering, one has a bud starting to move and the other three are doing nothing. You couldn’t plan a wedding round them.

Cyclamen. Last year we bought several of the cyclamen that the garden centres are full of at this time of year, the ones that sometimes get described as hardy, sometimes not. We planted them in the garden and I wasn’t very happy with how they looked but thought they’d all die so wasn’t unduly bothered. One survived to flower again this year and on its own, amongst C. hederifolium and C. coum, it looked out of place, so I dug it up and potted it, replacing it with a good C. hederifolium form that needed planting out. It’s now inside alongside the single white flowered plant of the same ilk I bought this year, and that simply because it smells divine. I had to sniff a bench-full to get the best one.

Talking of smelling divine, Camellia ‘Minato-no-akebono’ is flowering quite well. This is a six foot plant that was moved across the garden at the end of September and I am very pleased that it doesn’t seem to have noticed. The name means ‘Harbour at Dawn’, a name that visually works well enough but if it’s the olfactory angle we’re talking about…

We finally had a couple of quite cold nights at the beginning of the week, very nearly hit -1°C. It’s interesting to see what got splatted, and what didn’t. Plectranthus went black, Dahlias blackish, some Fuchsias and Salvias were damaged. This Rhodochiton atrosanguineus is looking amazingly good though, which was unexpected. Having realised just recently that it’s a perennial, I still don’t know whether to leave it in or pot it up and bring it under cover. It’s set masses of seed so I’ll probably just leave it and get some more going early next year that I may not need.

I collected as many sacks of leaves as would fit in the car from a friend’s garden last week and put them through my shredder before spreading them as a mulch in various places. It will have very little nutrient value but what there is may as well wash out into the soil rather than out of a leaf heap and the worms can get straight to work on it as well. I think it looks very presentable as well. The fern here, Araiostegia parvipinnata, is another plant that when I first had it I would bring it in every winter. I doubt it would survive a really vicious frost but here it’s pretty much evergreen and isn’t damaged at all. The berries on the Polygonatum will go scarlet eventually.

Six. Once our oak tree is bare of leaves the starlings start to come in and their chattering is very often the backdrop to my work in the garden at this time of year. Talking of birds, the gulls were checking out last year’s nest site behind our chimney yesterday. That is so not going to happen again.

Today looks a little better, at the very least I must get up to the allotment and water my tunnel. It was much more convenient when it was in the garden. There’s always clearing and tidying to do but It’s hard to get motivated for it. Far easier to follow The Propagator’s siren call to stay in the warm and garden vicariously.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 12/12/2020

    1. The lutchuensis hybrids have been very slow to get a toehold in nurseries. ‘Koto-no-kaori’, the best scented one I have, is only available from Stervinou in France or Wisley who stock their plants here. Crazy because any nursery that sold it would never be able to supply enough.


  1. I really like the soft colours of the Apple blossom. Cyclamen are one of my favourite flowering plants, and the one I currently have has a number of tiny plants around the bulb. Hopefully they will survive the summer. They are probably too small to produce any flowers in winter/spring. The leaf much looks good indeed. We cheat and mow over our fallen leaves and then compost them or use them as much. I loved seeing the video of the starlings; they are quite noisy! Hope you have a great gardening week!


    1. I have a couple of cyclamen too where all the babies seem to be on top of the parent corm. If I remember in summer when they’re dormant, I’ll try to transplant them. I can’t mow leaves as I have no lawn and no mower.


  2. This Rhodochiton is amazing ! Fortunately I have a good friend who sent me these seeds among others…😉
    Nice to see the amaryllis in bloom too. Mine haven’t started yet but this year I tried growing them outdoors. This explains that.


    1. We get starlings and jackdaws in that tree in quite large numbers and they both sound like they’re having conversations with each other. An in focus picture of the view from that window would inspire a rather different story, methinks.


  3. Hi Jim – hippeastrums really are a law unto themselves. It always makes me smile that they’re sold as plants for Christmas as they can flower early or late but timing for Christmas itself is nigh on impossible. I have the Araiostegia fern and mine definitely goes black and dies back. Each year I wonder if it will return and so far so good. Love your leaf mulch – very neat!


    1. I remember being blown away by the fragrance of species C. persicum years ago, a plant SO much lovelier than all the things bred from it. The white flowered hybrids seem to be most likely to have scent and if they do, it is lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know Cyclamen hederifolium is fragrant! I met it for the first time last year, and will be getting some from a neighbor. He thinks it is a weed. It does not seem to be at all aggressive. I do not care if it is. I sort of like it. When I was a kid, I grew the common florist’s cyclamen as perennial.
    What is that oak seedling in with the ferns?


    1. Cyclamen hederifolium isn’t normally fragrant though there are rare fragrant forms; I have seed on order. Sorry if I implied it is, I was meaning the florist’s cyclamen, which are derived from C. persicum. The oak seedling is my backup in case someone fells the big oak in the corner. It’s a self sown Quercus robur.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s okay. I would not expect any cyclamen to be fragrant anyway. It would just be a bonus if it were.
        Quercus robur is a nice oak. I have seen only a few. It sort of resembles our native Quercus lobata, but with bigger leaves and smaller stature.


      2. Quercus petraea, the sessile oak, is a better looking tree from the point of view of healthy foliage, robur gets eaten by everything going. Both sometimes go over 100 ft, rarely to 120-130ft.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a young starling which comes in for the suet. Not sure why it is on its own as I see a flock flying around, but glad it is as the birds eat so much already! My Rhodochiton is in a pot. I hope it comes back next year, but I have no idea whether it will or whether there will be seedlings around where the pot is. I never knew cyclamen were fragrant.


    1. Some cyclamen are fragrant and when they are it’s a lovely fragrance. (IMO) I must read up on Rhodochiton, I’m astonished that it is still looking so good so late and after some frost.


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