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.