Six things in the garden is it? You’re ‘avin’ a laugh guv. Rain, x 6. I usually take the pictures for my sixes on Friday, not a chance yesterday, solid rain from dawn ’til dusk, plus a few hours on either side. Today is very different, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. I ventured forth, camera in hand, looking for colours other than brown and green. Here’s what I found.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Tiara’. I dug out and gave away my large bush of this about a year ago. It had really struggled through a couple of dry summers and obviously wanted more moisture or shade, which I couldn’t provide it with. I did take a few cuttings and now have three good little plants but still nowhere obvious to plant it. It’s just such a lovely variety I’m loathe to let it go. With a backdrop of collapsing Hedychium, it is the brightest bit of colour I could find.
We planted up a pot by the front door with violas a few weeks ago and pretty they looked for a short while, before succumbing to a rash of black spots and losing all their leaves and flowers. Sue picked up some cheap and cheerful cyclamen at the garden centre, hopefully they’ll fare better.
After that I had to look in the greenhouses for something happening. This time last year I had miniature daffs flowering but they’re only just breaking the surface this year. Because I want to grow loads of Camellias and don’t have room in the garden, several stay in pots, brought under cover during frost to protect the roots. C. transnokoensis is a very pretty thing, tiny leaves and flowers, very pretty buds. I took it outside to photograph and half the flowers promptly fell off. In the garden it will grow into an upright fine textured bush and get quite big.
Alstroemeria ‘Rock and Roll’ was never envisaged as an indoor plant, though I had considered keeping it in a pot. This being its first year I brought it into the glasshouse a couple of months back and it has just carried on throwing up new stems and flowering. I imagine ‘Indian Summer’ would do the same, but they’re all still outside. I imagine there are people on whom it’s subtle, understated charms would be lost but it takes all sorts.
Coming right into the house, our flowering houseplant of choice is Phalaenopsis in all its myriad forms. We’ve just about mastered the business of keeping them alive and in good nick so that they flower again. Sadly, that hard won knowledge is not always applied, providing an excuse to buy more.
I scurried out during the week to borrow a book from a gardening friend, an issue concerning Camellias as usual. She had found something about Camellias in another old gardening book that she had, but given that the book was from the 1880’s it was a bit out of date. Taped inside the cover of the book however, was a small brown envelope containing three seeds and a note. The seeds are nearly 174 years old. I have sown them. The chances of them growing must be almost zero but imagine if they did!
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero we buried
Charles Wolfe 1816
Sir John Moore died in the Battle of Corunna on 16th January 1809. Puts the current arguments over Europe in the shade. At least we’ve stopped knocking seven bells out of each other.
That was a struggle, getting six. By this time next week the days will be getting longer again, Christmas will be over and Covid will be all but over. Oops, alternative truth is creeping in. Check out everyone else’s sixes; the great thing about gardening is that in midwinter you can tell yourself it will get better without that feeling that you’re lying to yourself. Happy Christmas everyone.
(The featured image is Camellia sasanqua ‘Yume’)