Six on Saturday – 13/3/2021

The weather has had it in for us this week. We hit -4°C earlier in the week then the wind set in. I don’t like wind, it makes me tetchy. Another week has passed without me even getting into the garden much, far less doing anything useful out there. This morning it’s doing that old trick of being bright and sunny until you walk out the door, when the heavens will open.

Fortunately Katherine the teabreak gardener had suggested I do a masterclass on camellia pruning, so thinking that a good idea, I have been working on it on and off all week. It’ll go on my camellia blog when I’ve sorted the rest of the pictures out. I received a couple of deliveries of bulbs during the week, so two more Eucomis, two more Amarines, a rather tasty Gladiolus papilio variety and tastiest of all, two intersectional peonies, ‘Bartzella’ and ‘Cora Louise’, have been added to my plant inventory, or would be if I had one. The bulbs are potted, the peonies planted; I managed not to be totally idle.

The frost trashed the open flowers on all my Camellias but I was intrigued to see that half open flowers and buds just showing colour seem to have largely escaped and within days some plants at least, were well on the way to looking good again. The ones with very few buds left to open have had it for this year but that really only applies to two bushes.

At least as far as this six goes, I don’t seem to be in the position of showing the mushy remains of things I was posting a week ago as showing so much promise. That’s a relief. Which is not to say it’s a mush free post.

One.
Geranium ‘Fay Anna’. I saw this flowering in a friends garden a few years back and decided I had to have it. I moved it from the front garden where it wasn’t very happy and was getting swamped by Osteospermum, to a fairly shady corner out the back. Looking at it now I would say it was the right move. This display from the new foliage is not something I’ve seen it do before. The flowers are pinky mauve, smallish but abundant, late season.


Two.
Hellebores. I mutter and grumble about my collection of self sown bog standard hellebores and usually they ignore me. There must have been something in the tone of it this year that may them pay attention; they’ve suddenly put on the glitz, with a couple of whites that stand out from the rest. Maybe I won’t rip them all out and start again, not this year anyway.


Three.
Chionodoxa. For a number of years I have had a slowly expanding patch of what I have always called Chionodoxa luciliae. Blue, white eye. I downloaded from the RHS website the trial report bulletin from a trial of “little blue bulbs” that is dated 2005. From that I concluded that I should probably be calling it C. forbesii or siehei but that it’s all a bit of a mess. Chionodoxa sardensis sounded to be an even better blue so for the last couple of years I have bought and planted quantities of C. sardensis, purchased from Peter Nyssen. They are a truly fabulous colour and I see that the ones I planted in 2019 are surrounded by thousands of seedlings so they are evidently happy. I’m hoping for the flowering to improve greatly before long.

Four.
The bit behind the glasshouse. There’s a small triangle of ground behind one glasshouse that has not delivered much for several years. It contains a Miscanthus that always flops, an Aster that the slugs always wreck, a Hibiscus that has never got going, an Epimedium that doesn’t flower any more, a Japanese anemone that is reverting to something nondescript, a million hybrid bluebells. I am determined that things will change and today planted two newly purchased intersectional peonies, ‘Bartzella’ and ‘Cora Louise’, which were too expensive for failure to be an option. Keith Wiley had them growing at Wildside when we went there in 2019. Anything he can grow I can kill. I hope you don’t have too long to wait for pictures of the plants rather than the space.

Five.
Baring my soul this week! Another failure. This lot are Aristea ecklonii that I must have had a plant of at some point since they were grown from my own seed. Sown 16th July 2018, so I’ve mollycoddled them for 138 weeks, through three winters, for this. Hey ho, good planting space. I chopped the blackened leaf tips after the last frosty spell, probably a mistake.

Six.
Clivia miniata var citrina. Given to us a week or two back, I now have two, this healthy one and the other, less healthy one. The other one is bud; I think I need them to flower together to stand a chance of getting seeds. It’s not going to happen this year. I don’t really know why I want seeds, just for the satisfaction of getting that far perhaps. Have I got seeds and seedlings of other varieties on order? Might have.

It was tipping it down overnight so I’m not planning any digging or planting today. Seed sowing is a possibility. Showers area pain, you never know what to do. Hang a light fitting, watch the rugby, read everyone’s sixes. Time passes just the same, whatever I do. The sun is shining, I have to do something!!!!

36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 13/3/2021

  1. At first glance I thought your geranium was a heuchera. It will look very pretty in flower. Looking forward to the camellia next week. (I couldn’t log in to WordPress last week but I hope it’s sorted now.)

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  2. Very pretty chionodoxas. Mine are still in the ground and I can’t see the first leaves… I believe year after year earthworms bury them even deeper. I will have to renew the bulbs.
    Beautiful Clivia flowers !

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    1. I’ve lusted after them for a very long time and have been saved by not seeing them for sale. The ones I bought were much cheaper than plants on sale at a flower show in Wadebridge a couple of years back; I had no problem convincing myself they were a bargain!

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  3. The geranium leaves are a beautiful, and unusual combination of colors. I admire the bold move of placing your new prized peonies in an area that has heretofore disappointed. Every corner of the garden has the potential to be stunning, if only we can find something that will survive and preferably thrive there. Interested to hear about your master class and appreciate you finding ways to share your knowledge.

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    1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in my underperforming area beyond lack of effort on my part and perhaps a bit dry because of nearby trees. My masterclass is turning into a master struggle. When you’re conceited enough to pretend you know something about something, you want to get it right, assuming that a “right” exists, which in gardening is not always the case.

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  4. ‘Fay Anna’ is a beauty. I hope that I misread the sentence “I saw this flowering in a friends garden a few years back and decided I had to have it” and that you didn’t steal your friend’s plant 🤔 I had a geranium that I must have moved several times before I found the ideal spot for it. Hope your peonies settle in nicely. I daren’t try them here, too high up and too windy!

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    1. Might have been better if I had stolen it as hers expired. For a bunch of plants that are supposed to be bomb proof, they’re quite fussy about where they go, I’ve moved a few about trying to find somewhere that suits them too.

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  5. I think killing plants (or more kindly, making mistakes) is a very important part of the gardening process! I was reading Janis Ruksans’ biography and was surprising how many times he loses things, or puts them in the wrong spot and kills them.

    Anyway, the Geranium looks great in it’s new position and the Clivia is another showstopper.

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  6. I’m not usualy a great fan of geraniums but that one is worth seeking out. And you can’t go wrong with peonies, what a coincidence I bought just those two last year and I can’t wait for them to bloom. I grew a clivia from seed and after a long wait for flowers it turned out to be a nice shade of yellow, but exactly like its mother.

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  7. Hey, my hellebores are unusually pretty this year also. For here, that is a big deal. They typically only produce a few flowers, and then leave their grungy foliage through summer. I am none too keen on them, but can not get rid of them either, since they have been here for decades. I want to believe that they will eventually perform well. Although not native, they seem like something that would be visually appealing among the redwoods. If I thought they would perform better somewhere else, I would relocate some or most of them. I would always leave a few where they had always been though. If any are original cultivars, I can not distinguish them. There is one specimen that really seems to be distinct from the feral sorts, but it is on the edge of a walkway where I doubt it would have been planted intentionally. I therefore suspect that it is also feral.
    Clivia is something that I would like more of, not because it is as visually appealing among redwoods as hellebore would be, but because I believe it would tolerate some of the shade. There is a large planter that is crowded with Clivia miniata than should be divided. It is the common bright orange sort that I prefer. There are a few more in another landscape, but they seem to be ‘too’ shaded to perform. I should relocate them. Just a few days ago, I dug and canned three shoots of Clivia miniata that I found a while ago down by Bean Creek. The area was about to get ‘vegetation management’. I doubt they were planted down there, since the area had not been landscaped. They may have grown from debris dumped from another landscape nearby. I really do not know. Yellow cultivars that were a fad years ago are a bit too pale for our shady landscapes.

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    1. Most of my Hellebores came from seed I pinched on a garden visit years ago. They’ve hung on in there, never thriving enough to be really pleasing, never bad enough to get rid of. That they don’t do very well has discouraged me from buying better forms. I’ve been more disciplined with removing the old and probably diseased leaves the last two seasons. don’t know if that’s why they’re a bit happier this year.
      Clivia is an indoor plant here, I don’t know how much cold it would take. Do your orange ones have scent? I’ve once or twice come across good scented forms but not in recent years.

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      1. Strangely, I neglected to get out to remove the foliage earlier. Nor did I bury them with compost like I normally do. Obviously, they are responding to something that I am not noticing, rather than something that I did or did not do. I suppose I should be selective with those that perform better, and remove some that never do, but I dislike those that perform best. The inferior sort have prettier flowers. If any cultivars remain out there, I can not identify them.
        The common Clivia miniata are fragrant in abundance. Those in my colleague’s garden are nicely fragrant because there are so many of them. Also, he grows some in the unseen alley for cutting. I do not grow enough to be so fragrant, but could get quite a few if I divide those that are crowded in the planter. Some of the modern cultivars are not so fragrant; and it seems to me that some are not fragrant at all. When the yellow sort became a fad a while back, I started to ignore them. My colleague regularly tells me to bring more back here from his garden. I just never had an excuse to do so. Now that others are noticing the few that we have here, I am more compelled to get even more. Those in the crowded planter are all the same. I might want to add some richer reddish orange sorts.

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      2. Well, I potted up five mixed seedlings today and sowed five mixed seeds, hope I don’t have to wait too long to see them flower; Clivia, not Hellebore. I wonder if they’re worth trying outdoors in summer, I can’t think they’d survive winter.

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      3. They get damaged by the worst of the frost if too exposed here. I suspect that they would not survive the frost there. Those that I would like to bring here from the Los Angeles region never needed protection down south, so will be slightly out of their element here. Most get planted in spots that are too shady for other plants, so just happen to be sheltered incidentally. Therefore, I really do not know how much frost they will tolerate.

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  8. Very interested in the chinodoxias, I’m wondering about them or scilla. It seems scilla face downward but might be a stronger blue and chinodixia face upward. Maybe the chinodoxia has it! The hellebores are wonderful, so glad they pulled their socks up for you this year. Minus 4 is a horror. Glad there’s not too much mush.

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  9. The foliage of the Geranium is really stunning! I don’t know Chionodoxa, but agree the the blue is really lovely, especially with the white throat. I’m looking forward to seeing the peonies flower. The Clivia is lovely! I only have the orange miniata’s – so far!

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    1. I always associate bulbs with hot climates like Turkey and South Africa so from here it seems like you would be able to grow a wealth of things outside that we have to grow in pots. Do you have specialist bulb suppliers that sell all the weird and wonderful things that are around?

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      1. I haven’t really investigated bulb suppliers much. I did find a Brisbane based nursery that imports seeds etc from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. They grow the plants from seed, and have a lovely variety of Clivia, and others. Most of the special plants I have are in pots though as the clay soil here is not free draining. But yes, most of those plants do well outside. Most of the suppliers of ‘unusual’ plants are based in Victoria or Tasmania, and I have ordered some of the unusual plants from them. Every year though I seem to find another supplier to add to my list.

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      2. I bought seed from Silverhill Seeds a couple of times, who are in South Africa, but not recently. It’s good that Australia’s tough phytosanitary laws haven’t choked off too much of the variety. We grow a lot of our more choice things in pots too, mainly so they can be moved in for winter though.

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  10. How exciting to have such a space to replant. I bet it will be a dream in a year or two, and hope us SOS get to have a ring side seat watching its development. Can’t finish without saying what a great geranium that it.

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    1. I’ve the much bigger area in the top corner where the tunnel was still needing to be dealt with, I’m waiting for the extension to Sue’s glasshouse to arrive before I can make much progress on it. It’s going to be a very busy spring.

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