Six on Saturday – 27/3/2021

Way back in November I ordered the parts to extend Sue’s cactus house. It all turned up yesterday. 18 weeks is, I think, a little shorter than was predicted but it’s still a long time to wait in these days of instant gratification. Most of that time has not been suitable for putting it up so it’s worked out quite well. Along with the clocks going forward, it marks a clear change from not having a great deal to do in the garden to having too much to do. I’d rather have too much to do. It’s an easy choice for the first of my six.

Sue’s cactus house is 10′ 6″ x 12′, 126 square feet. The new bit adds half as much again. With the takeover of my propagation house, 60 square feet, she’s going from 126 to 249 square feet. Am I concerned she will struggle to fill it, no, not in the least.
This extension marks the resumption of what I was calling the top corner project, last reported on, because it was last acted upon, in November, just two days before I ordered the glasshouse. There’s been nothing more I could do on that because it’s where any surplus soil from the glasshouse foundations will go and I couldn’t do the foundations until I had the structure and could see exactly what size they needed to be.

In the meantime, back in my one remaining glasshouse, the 8′ x 6′ one that doubles as a shed of sorts, my Tropaeolum tricolor that I first grew last year is back up and flowering. When it dies down this summer I shall rummage around in the pot and see what I have in tubers with a view to trying one in the great outdoors. ‘Ken Aslett’ is somewhat similar, when does that grow and flower?

Years ago, before the tunnel went up, let alone got taken down again, I found a clump of Corydalis solida growing in the ground. I still don’t know where it came from but it wasn’t a seedling sized plant when I found it but a good big clump. It’s been divided up and planted in a few more places in the last couple of years and is flowering, more purple and less blue than I remember, not altogether an improvement.

Muscari latifolium. I suppose this could become a nuisance, in that it spreads around fairly enthusiastically but it spaces its progeny out rather than making clumps and the effect is very distinct from the other Muscari I have which all stay in clumps. It’s only going to become a nuisance if I go off it and want rid of it, which is not in prospect yet.

Chionodoxa forbesii, or whatever it is. This has spread to create a large patch and at its peak, which was Wednesday, looked lovely. The buds were getting eaten as they came up, so last weekend I started nightly torchlight patrols as the slimy assassins assassin. The difference was really striking and within a couple of days there were masses of flowers and very few slugs.

My last remaining toehold in my ex propagation house is my propagator, relegated to the lower shelf of a bench and lit all winter with a couple of grow lights. I moved it across the path, still on the lower shelf but in summer getting enough light without the grow-lights. Two benches will come out now to make room for tomatoes, currently indoors on the window ledge. I can’t mention the Camellia ‘Mystique’ to the right, C. transnokoensis to the left, I’d be exceeding my six.

I just stepped out this morning and it’s fresh out there. Nevertheless, I intend to crack on with sorting out the foundations for the glasshouse extension. I quite like putting up glasshouses and tunnels, it’s Meccano for grown ups, but concrete and blocks I don’t like at all. Dirty, heavy, bent double with a dodgy back; not my idea of fun. There will be coffee breaks, lots of them, or opportunities to check on other sixes, as I think of them at weekends. Onward and upward!

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 27/3/2021

  1. There some sweet spring flowers in your garden, but how wonderful to have a shot of ‘tropical’ colours with your Tropaeolum tricolor.


    1. I should try to get hold of Tropaeolum speciosum, then try to get it to grow up my Taxus ‘Standishii’, red aginst yellow would work whereas tricolor against yellow wouldn’t.


    1. I realised today that while I was patting myself on the back for my success with the Chionodoxas, the slugs were avenging their fallen comrades by trashing various clematis that were looking good a few weeks back.

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  2. I would have thought Sue could fill at least 2 more glasshouses with her present stock. That is the most densely packed space I have ever seen! Good luck with the new construction. That Tropaeolum is a beautiful colour and interesting flowers.


    1. An extension to the existing greenhouse gave the best combination of more glasshouse space at least cost in outdoor space, but straightforward it ain’t. I’ll give it three months tops before she’s back for more.


  3. It looks like you got a greenhouse kit – which one did you opt for? My progress toward acquiring one has been stalled out by fears of choosing one that will not prove long-lived. I really love the Tropaeolum, which is new to me. Are there reasons to believe that it will survive outside the greenhouse? At some point, you must share pictures of the new (and old) greenhouses filled with cactus.


    1. are all saturday sixes where Sue’s cactus house got a mention. The glasshouse was supplied as a kit by a UK firm based in Bolton and they also supplied the extension kit. The two smaller glasshouses we have are both Rhinos, supplied by who again are a UK firm and I have no idea whether they do exports. They are heavy duty houses, which I needed where I was putting them down by the house as it is really very windy there. I’d assume you’d have the same spectrum of cheap and flimsy through to expensive and robust that we have here, but perhaps you don’t. The Rhinos will outlast me, of that I am completely confident. The info about the Tropaeolum was on Paul Christian’s Rare Plants website


  4. What a lovely spring six! I hope my Chionodoxa (which seem to be classed as Scilla now) would spread a much as yours, but mine are in shade all winter and pretty much all summer too. Your Tropaeolum is a beauty. Good luck with the extension, best wait for this wind to die down somewhat I think. Sue is one lucky lady!


    1. It seems like you just have to find the right bulbs to suit your conditions, there’s not much mileage in trying to create conditions to suit them. It’s taken me so many years to find four of five things that will increase rather than decrease after planting.

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  5. Muscaris seem to be popular right now. I mean there were in other Six on Saturdays too, like snowdrops were earlier. I should have featured mine. (It is a long story.) I remember Muscari latifolium in catalogs, but never paid much attention. At the time, I was still trying to get rid of my common Muscari aremeniacum. Only the cultivar ‘Album’ appealed to me.


  6. The Tropaeolum is stunning, lovely to have something so exotic (to me) in flower. I am also enjoying your muscari latifolium and chionodoxa, both of which are on my purchase list. Perhaps the weather is doing you a favour – ensuring that you take enough breaks!


    1. Three free standing greenhouses, one in the process of being enlarged. Then there’s our grand sounding conservatory which is basically a lean-to greenhouse on the back of the house. They are all stuffed to the rafters 12 months of the year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a range of quite low wattage heaters, max 500 watts, which I use to keep them just above freezing. All currently and overoptimistically put back in the attic and will be coming back out tomorrow!

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