Six on Saturday – 13/2/2021

The temperature yesterday reached 6.8°C, the warmest for a week, not that it felt remotely warm with the wind trying to go through me. This morning it’s trying to rain, not pleasant at 2°C and still blowing. The only gardening I’ve done this week is armchair gardening. I’ve been trying to sort out digital photos, starting by getting them in one place. 250,571 images, at least 95% of plants. Then there are 91,477 Camellia pictures. That will include some duplicates, but it also misses a few things I haven’t brought in yet. I could cull a great many but that means going through a quarter of a million images one at a time. It’s easier to buy another hard drive.
We haven’t had exceptionally cold weather, the lowest this week was -2.8°C, but I grow a lot of borderline plants so some things will have had a hard time. It’s intriguing to see foxgloves with a bunch of perky new leaves coming up, surrounded by old leaves that are desiccated and shrivelled by the cold. You might have thought the tender new leaves would be hit first. Primroses are the same, and Hydrangeas. There have been moorland fires in Cornwall and on Dartmoor this week, burning dead vegetation freeze dried in the bitter wind. The garden is looking more dead than I can remember. It makes it the more remarkable when a handful of things stand defiant.

Like Crocus. I’ve been adding to my stock of Crocus tomasinianus for the last couple of years, they seem to be at least holding their own and perhaps beginning to spread too. How does something that looks so delicate stand this cold weather when much tougher looking things a trashed?

Camellia ‘Scentuous’. This may well have been the first lutchuensis hybrid I came across, that is to say, the first scented Camellia that wasn’t a sasanqua, so my first spring flowering scented Camellia. Oddly enough, what first caught my attention back then was the leaf colour on the new growth. I have one small plant, less than a foot tall, the leaves chewed to bits by vine weevil but hopefully the roots intact after two applications of nematodes in the autumn. This would be my choice for a Camellia hedge, not because I’ve seen it used for one but it seems to have all the attributes-red new growth, small leaves, scented flowers.

Ensete ventricosa. Jimi Blake had mentioned on his zoom talk that bananas didn’t like cold, something that was already becoming apparent with this plant which was in the cold conservatory. It came indoors and has just produced its third new leaf in two months. I’m glad I didn’t risk leaving it out and wrapping it up.

Erythronium revolutum. Not a lot to see here I admit, but enough to get me a bit excited. It’s about three or four years since I planted these and looking at the number of shoots, they are starting to self sow and spread around. It seems to have been a long journey to find bulb species, other than bluebells, that will multiply rather than diminish.

I was looking at the stalwarts of my winter garden and decided that if one must have evergreens for winter interest, they are the better for having a decent flower display. Two Euonymus, an Olearia and a Pittosporum were passed over in favour of this Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’. Paying it a bit of attention in winter I notice that it is a bit yellow where it gets a lot of sun, fine where the magnolia shades it in summer. Not much I can do about that.

Astelia chathamica. The beast from the east hammered this rather badly, I hope it fares better this time. I dug a big chunk of it out and put up the metal obelisk. The rest took two seasons to recover fully. I’d hate to be without it, it’s good all year and one of my winter favourites, even without showy flowers.

The featured image was of one of our cats just before we brought it home here. Pretty irresistible. How things change! One of many pictures I hadn’t looked at in a long time. Yet another weekend of virtual rather than virtuous gardening beckons. It looks like next week is going to be quite a bit warmer so perhaps we’re due an explosion of growth. I’m expecting pictures of snow this week, we’ve had none I’m pleased to say, but I’m not averse to seeing pictures of it somewhere else.
Links to other sixes at The Propagator, as ever.

21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 13/2/2021

  1. 11°… This is the maximum I had this week… but inside the greenhouse ! (the lower was -1°C…)
    Outside we barely go above 0° during the day. I can’t wait for this cold spell to end…
    What a cute little kitten… He/she looks wise as long as he/she doesn’t do damage to your garden yet. You will have to educate this new friend


      1. One of the difficulties of reading and writing in English, which is not my native language, is dealing with certain details like this. I thought that this kitten …was still a young kitten … Nevertheless it remains cute all their cat life!


  2. It’s strange how things can dry out so quickly in the cold – it was pretty sodden here at the start of the month but after the cold winds you mentioned and the frost and thaw it’s incredibly dry now.

    I sympathise with your excitement about the Erythronium – the anticipation is half of the pleasure!


    1. Except when the anticipation turns out to have been the whole pleasure and the end result is disappointing. Not that there’s any risk of that with these, they were good last year and should be better this. I must check whether my other Erythroniums are showing. I’m experiencing anticipatory pleasure concerning some Corydalis too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Abyssinian banana is one that I could never figure out. They grow so big and so fast, but then die so suddenly without leaving any pups. Other bananas at least bloom before they die, and then replace themselves with multiple pups. I have never seen an Abyssinian banana bloom. Even though they are temporary, and leave such a big void in the landscape, I have grown them a few times since 1989 or so, and will likely grow them again.


      1. No, it is sensitive to frost. Even here, the foliage gets ruined through winter outside. It does much better in Southern California, but it is no more popular there than it is here.

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  4. So much nicer to see a Banana like this in winter, rather than wrapped in white fleece and looking like an eyesore in the garden. Probably healthier for the plant too. I sympathise re long haired cats, ours is a shedder. Yours is very sweet nonetheless. 🙂


  5. I dream of getting erythronium to self seed. I guess I need to be patient. I do hope you share a picture of yours in flower. I don’t envy you that photo organisation task. I thought I had allot of pictures! I have to go through mine again as I like to organise them by theme. I have a good memory for knowing I have a picture of something and even vaguely when I took it but it’s far easier to find things if I’ve bothered to catagorise them. It’s soooo boring to do though.


    1. I keep coming across pictures and being astonished at how long ago it happened, or, less often, how recently. Also so many pictures of plants with no names! grrrr! Stupid me, deluding myself I’d remember. I did collect and sow Erythroniums a couple of years back, don’t recall anything happening.


  6. Wow! That is a collection and a half, and the solution is definitely a second hard drive! The cluster of Crocus is stunning. The Conservancy has definitely benefited the banana, which looks great! New plants to me are the Erthronium, Skimmia (lovely colour) and the Astelia. Prize for the week is definitely the gorgeous kitten, even if she has attitude as an adult!


    1. I was careful to say another hard drive rather than a second one. It would be number 9, excluding the NAS drives. Astelia is an antipodean, that one from the Chatham Islands and others of my aquaintance in New Zealand. Now I need to look up whether any are native to Australia, I’d be surprised if they weren’t but likely rainforest epiphytes.

      Liked by 1 person

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