Six on Saturday – 20/2/2021

We’re off to get our jabs this morning, it feels almost like a day out, given that we are going to the Wadebridge Showground; twenty miles away, quite an outing. On top of a hill in North Cornwall when there are warnings out for rain and 50mph wind gusts forecast. Quite an outing.

It’s been a warmer week but the great garden wakeup is still moving slowly. Things are shooting, seeds are sprouting, but I seem to have spent most of the week indoors and only three of my six were pictured outside in the garden.

One.
Hippeastrum ‘Naranja’. Described in the catalogue as bright orange and by Sue as vermillion. Quite the eyeful whatever the colour, and more than the camera, or perhaps more accurately, the photographer, could cope with. I took an in situ picture, which gives rather too much away, then tried to get one with a better background, then gave up.

Two.
Still with my photographer hat on, I took this Hellebore into the glasshouse out of the wind to try for a stacked image. It was sunny but with big clouds switching off the sun at very frequent intervals, not ideal when you’re trying to get over 40 shots in, shifting the focus by a tiny amount each time. I also did a single exposure shot with a small aperture but it brings the background into focus too. The Hellebore is a seedling of a double that I bought a few years back and is nearly as good as the original. I have a lot more seedlings but this is the only one to have flowered.

Three.
Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’. I have this in the greenhouse, still in the pot I bought it in last year. I intended to plant it out but it didn’t happen. I have a question (and a feeling there’s someone out there will know the answer) about the colour of ‘Beth Evans’. Look at images online and the range of colours shown is just plain silly, but I also seem to think I’ve seen quite a lot of variation between growing plants. Is it a clone and does the colour vary even so, or are there seedlings masquerading under the name, some darker, some paler than the real thing?

Four.
Camellia ‘Quintessence’. I’ve been asked to write an illustrated piece about growing Camellias, including their planting, so I thought I’d plant this out and take some pictures while I was at it. It’s another scented C. lutchuensis hybrid, raised in New Zealand, and I have had it growing in a pot, excruciatingly slowly, for years. It’s now on top of my new wall, shaded by my new fence and hopefully will be very happy. It’s supposed to grow slow, low and spreading.

Five.
Cyclamen repandum. I was given some tiny corms and seeds of this a few years back and this is one of the seedlings I raised. They flowered in their seed tray last year and were planted out when they went dormant in summer. The corms of this species can be planted 6 inches deep so are less likely to be disturbed when dormant than the shallow corms of C. coum and C. hederifolium. They don’t vary much in colour but are slender and elegant, flowering in spring.

Six.
How best to photograph snowdrops is not a quandary that keeps me awake at night but in an “I know” moment I had an idea. It’s just as well I don’t have too many. This double snowdrop seems to be very slowly spreading about the place which surprises me as I’d have expected it to be sterile and I don’t see how I could have been moving bulbs about. They seem to be happier when they choose where to grow for themselves.

Right, nearly time to go. What is appropriate attire for a vaccination? Several layers of waterproofs probably, given the weather. Just been reminded to go check the car will start; I couldn’t blame it if it doesn’t want to. I’ll be back to check everyone else’s links dreckly.

48 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 20/2/2021

    1. I’ll do a short blog on focus stacking, too much for a comment reply. The Hippeastrums and books wasn’t straightforward either, too dark indoors against the very bright window, I had to merge pictures at different exposures.

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  1. Great results with the image stacking of the Hellebore – really interesting to see the different aperture settings and number of images.

    Concerning ‘Beth Evans’: you’re absolutely right – there’s a lot of variation. I think the variation is mostly down to seedlings. Corydalis, particularly the solidas, cross breed pretty freely, so when grown from seed the colours can be varied. Also, I think there’s a tendency to lump all pink cultivars under ‘Beth Evans’. You’ll find the same with red cultivars and ‘George Baker’. I wonder whether a number of the cultivars would best be described as seed strains.

    Have fun on your Big Outing!

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    1. Is the guaranteed genuine original clone of ‘Beth Evans’ recognized and available or is it too much of a muddle to be sure any more? This happens in a lot of plant groups where they come almost true from seed.

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      1. According to Lidén and Zetterlund (AGS Corydalis monograph), ‘Beth Evans’ was a selected seedling from Edinburgh Botanic Garden, receiving an Award of Merit from the RHS in ’88. Given it’s distinguished origins, I would assume the original clone is still maintained by one of these institutions. How many of those available commercially are true to form is, I suspect, up for debate!

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    1. The better colour was mainly because the sun came out but it’s odd that an image that’s only really sharp in the middle looks more natural than one where the whole subject is sharp, after all, in the real world the whole flower is pin sharp, even if your eye is only focussing on one bit at a time.

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      1. These stacked focus images are somewhat like the HD images – they can look initially attractive to the eye but the brain soon registers that there is something not quite right about them, an artificiality that does not rest easy with us.

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      2. The artificiality presumably arise because your eye is in fact, like the camera lens, only able to focus on a shallow depth of field at any one time, but is able to adjust focus so quickly that as you look around a scene, the bit you’re looking at is always in focus with no sense of an adjustment having been made. When you look at the sharp bit of a photograph the rest of the image is registered by your peripheral vision exactly as it would be naturally in 3D. But wouldn’t you expect the reverse to happen when you look elsewhere in the image? I’m overthinking again, I’ll blame vaccine side effect.

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    1. I really felt for all the volunteer stewards out in the wind and rain, being stoically cheerful. A bit of decent signage and most of them wouldn’t have been needed (except for picking up blown away signs) but bless them all anyway.

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      1. I saw one set-up on tv news here in Ireland yesterday where they provided a drive-through vaccination programme – you drive up, roll down the window, or open the door, show the shoulder, the vaccine is delivered and off you go. But, as you say, it must have been miserable for those administering the jabs. My son told me today that he is doing some training to administer the vaccine.

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      2. They advised us to wait in the car for fifteen minutes afterwards, in case of serious side effects. Hit the horn if you go into anaphylactic shock. Nothing like a bit of confidence building.

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    1. I’m sure that in the cyclamen society seed order that I never got, (must chase that up), I had a white C. repandum, which would be nice. As far as I’m able to judge, the jab went well. I’d rather not put it to the test out in the real world but I’m pleased it’s done.

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  2. Very nice shots of Jim hellebores. The focus stacking is successful!
    I will have to check my hippeastrums this afternoon ( they are in the ground and I don’t know what I will find under the dried ferns cover… )

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    1. There was something a bit surreal about having the jab in a place I’ve been to dozens of times for flower shows, and in a marquee that could easily have been the one they use as a flower tent. The wind was howling, the rain lashing down, the noise in the tent was deafening. All the people involved were calm and cheerful and efficient. A bit of adversity brings out the best in people, pity more people aren’t like that more of the time.

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  3. That’s a cool snowdrop photo ( a cool snowdrop as well) – is it you thumb at the bottom? When dressing for a jab you must remember that all the layers on your arm need to come off, first…

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  4. Lovely colours again. That hellebore (is that the correct spelling? ) is beautiful, there are so many varieties. I hope you made it to where you had your injection without incident. The distance some people have to travel, is quite amazing. A friend had to go 35 Miles even though there was a vaccination centre 200 metres from her house!

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    1. The roads this morning were eerily quiet, so no problems getting there. We could have had it a bit nearer if we’d waited for the local doctors to arrange it but it was quite nice to have an excuse to go for a drive.

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  5. Lovely cyclamen..so easy to admire given a clear picture. As with snowdrops not so easy to get good close ups. I too had my vaccine this week. I had the same opinion regarding the stewards. I am sure Andrew will come up with some interesting comments regarding Beth Evans. I’ll allow time for him to recover from his run, and come back and have another read.

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  6. Hope you enjoyed your trip away from home – the furthest I have been is around 5 miles and that was for the jab too! I look forward to your post about focus stacking, never attempted that one, though I know my camera can take several focus shots on a setting that I always forget to use. The hellebore is delightful – a gorgeous cherry red – and the mirror shot is ingenious! Looks like you could do with a new bookcase though 😁 given the height of those piles!

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    1. There’s still a bit of space on top of our bookcases, we haven’t reached the ceiling yet. I did a brief post on focus stacking which you may have seen. The hellebore was pictured in alternating sun and shade and looks a completely different colour in different light, basically because it is a completely different colour, but so is everything around it so in context your brain compensates but out of context as a close up photo, I never know what to do by way of tweaking.

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  7. Impressed by the creative problem-solving involved in your feat of snowdrop photography. A clever solution for demure, downward facing flowers in general. I think your photo of the cyclamen is a real success. It allows the elaborately figured leaves to share top billing with the flower, whose delicate form and color are all the more striking for not being made the focal point.

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    1. I may try again using the mirror, make a more serious attempt to get an ant’s eye view from below but from one side so not directly against the sky. The cyclamen was one of those pictures where I could only take it from one angle and as luck would have it, probably the best one.

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  8. Oh no; another interesting cyclamen.
    In intend to limit my acquisition to just the Cyclamen hederifolium. I know they are common for everyone else, but are new and fascinating to me. Others catch my attention too though.

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    1. They’re a uniformly good bunch, but essentially quite similar, so it’s just a case of picking the species that will do best in your conditions. If you rarely get frost and are hot and dry in summer it might be worth trying to get seed of species C. persicum, which is beautiful and has one of the best scents. C. hederifolium is very versatile and accommodating though.

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      1. Cyclamen persicum is the ancestor of the fancy hybrids that I grew when I was a kid, and what we use as expensive annuals now. I still like them, and will likely always grow them, but to me, the hybrids now seem to be cheap and common. Of the few species that I have seen, I prefer Cyclamen hederifolium, and I know that it does well here. Cyclamen coum is nice, but . . . different. The foliage does not seem to be as elegant to me.

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  9. Quite a few bloggers getting their ‘jabs’ this week. We are miles from getting ours as the first few only started today.
    Lovely, lovely photos, Jim, and great ingenuity with the snowdrop one!
    I am hoping one day to have some cyclamens in my garden, but last year’s plantings gave up the ghost when the warm weather arrived.

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    1. I remember seeing cyclamen in Greece growing from thin cracks in huge boulders; no soil or leaf litter. I don’t know what species they’d have been but I’d have thought that the right sorts would grow with you. You need someone with local knowledge, and a source for the right ones.

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    1. I don’t seem to do very well with hellebores, get a lot of diseased leaves and never get big robust plants, it’s put me off spending much on good forms. The double was one of two I bought, a purple and a white, the white has all but disappeared, no flowers and just one or two leaves. It’s frustrating not knowing why they’re not thriving.

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      1. Like you, I would have thought my conditions were good, I’ve been more meticulous cutting down all the old leaves mid winter the last couple of years, thinking that might help, but it hasn’t really. I must look into this more deeply.

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  10. Jim, at least your ‘I know’ moment worked slightly better than mine. Result is not too bad.

    The Hellebore is stunning! I am always envious when I tour the SoS blogs at this time of year, and wish I could grow them. How long do the flowers last?

    Hope the jab outing was a success. Hubby is high-risk and we are still waiting to be notified. His jab should have been FEb… and here we are nearly in March

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    1. Earlier in this thread I was telling 30daysofwildparenting that I don’t find Hellebores very easy to grow, they survive but don’t seem to thrive as other people’s do (isn’t the grass always greener!) and for reasons I don’t understand. Ashwood Nurseries describe them as snow melt plants, which may well be all the explanation required if I only understood the full implications of it. Part of their appeal is that the flowers last for a long time, fading to greenish as the seeds ripen. The jab outing was a success inasmuch as we have now both had our first jab and no side effects. So far, so good.

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