Six on Saturday – 8/5/2021

It looks like yesterday morning’s frost may be the last and that we are going to get slightly higher temperatures in the next week or two. We had a good bit of rain overnight but less seems to have found its way into my storage system than I would have liked. A lot of things seem to be growing at a snail’s pace, which means that the snails can keep up with them and the slugs, which are a fraction quicker, can get ahead. A very dry month has driven them to ground but I am under no illusions about how quickly they will bounce back.

Six things going on, in the garden, now; that’s the brief, so try these for size:

One
Azalea. A seedling of what may or may not be Rhododendron atlanticum, assuming such a thing exists and quite different from its parent, which I also have a plant of. This is the better of two seedlings that I managed to grow and have in the garden. A bit more moisture would doubtless help, the original plant was growing in boggy ground, this one is in a very dry spot. It’s a shame you can’t smell it; lovely it is.

Two.
Holboellia brachyandra. I’m learning that this is an immensely vigorous climber but also that you can hack it about a fair bit with minimal consequences. It was mainly on a trellis arch from which it was reaching into the tree above. I’m re-directing it along the fence instead, an arrangement that seems to suit it. It’s a long fence, so long as it doesn’t stray, should be good for a few years. The red is Chaenomeles.

Three.
The arch. The posts supporting the trellis were rotting out, and sinking into the ground, so I replaced the whole thing while keeping as much of the climbers as I could. Basically I built the new structure inches away from the old, then cut the old one away a small piece at a time, moving a Clematis viticella across on one side and the Holboellia on the other. You can’t really see the Clematis on the left hand panel, it’s all tied to the other side, but I don’t think it noticed the move. The Holboellia tried, futilely, to resist. I used taller and thicker posts and the archway looked too tall so I filled it in a bit at the top with some bits cut from my bamboo.

Four.
For better or worse we have quite a lot of bluebells growing in the garden. Some look very close to native English bluebells, some are fairly typically the Spanish sort. They’re probably all hybrids and getting rid of them would be all but impossible so I’m trying to enjoy them while not thinking I need be overly nice to them. The flower stems will all get pulled out as soon as the flowers fade and the foliage won’t be far behind. I’ve been doing this for years and still there are carpets of seedlings every year.

Five.
Corydalis ochroleuca. I don’t think Andrew has shown this one yet so I’ll get it in quick. Looking at something similar on his post this morning it seems likely I’m about to have a name change foisted on me. For most of the nearly thirty years I’ve been growing this I have had one plant, which produces a seedling then dies. At the moment I think we’re up to three. We get plenty of seedlings, all of which vanish, except one. I’ve collected and sown seed, which germinated then gradually all died. It flowers from April until winter.

Six.
Sue’s glasshouse with its new extension is gradually getting sorted out. For the moment there is space enough to park a couple of chairs and enjoy a cup of tea. Terracotta pots are coming in and going under the bench so we can get along the path behind the glasshouse. There are two or three bags full of spiny nasties that I will take to the tip, there’s no way I’m shredding them; too many spines, too much gravel top dressing. I even knocked up a little step so she can open and shut the roof lights.

And that is the current state of play here. We go for our second jabs this morning, on a wet and windy day just like the last time. I need to visit a garden centre on the way for compost. There’s more rain forecast for tonight so I need to clear the blockages in my water system – rain diverters are so easily blocked by a few leaves or a ball of moss. That’s my day sorted. Oh, all the other sixers, mustn’t forget to check in at The Propagator at regular intervals. Have a good week.

43 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 8/5/2021

  1. The last is first, the greenhouse looks incredible, what a collection! Same here with the bluebells, they are tough cookies. Nice little azalea, they are wonderful at the moment. And yes, it seems another name change, I will never keep up.

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  2. I can vouch for that Corydalis ochroleuca aka Pseudofumaria alba being a good doer in the garden. Maybe drier conditions suit it as I have seedlings all over the place, but they are very easy to weed out. Sue’s collection and glasshouse is very impressive, well done to both of you. As for the arch way, I’ll leave the well earned adulation for others to write about.

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    1. Any plant name that starts ‘Pseudo’ should be outlawed, especially when the Pseuds outclass the real(?) whatevers. I get seedlings but it seems to be self weeding.

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  3. Very useful to hear how you replaced your arch. The pergola here that carries the non productive grapevine is seriously rotting away on all four legs. The plan is to deal with it in October. But it won’t be a diy job for me! The greenhouse looks vast and yet so quickly filling up and is stunning. I’ve only just discovered Andrew’s posts and anything that flowers from April to winter is well worth a look so between the two of you I may be persuaded to squeeze a corydalis or two in somewhere.

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    1. It took me a long time to get around to replacing the arch; it seemed almost impossible with plants covering it. In the end it was surprisingly straightforward. I hope the glasshouse doesn’t get too crammed full, it looks better for the plants having some breathing space, plus you can get to see them.

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  4. I’ve always wondered why holboellia isn’t more widely promoted by the garden media as it ticks lots of boxes for me – evergreen and sweetly scented flowers. Maybe what you reveal about its thuggishness answers the questions.

    Now – Sue’s greenhouse is AMAZING – just look at all those wonderful plants. Love it.

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    1. I don’t suppose Holboellia is more of a thug than Wisteria but there are well tried methods for keeping Wisteria within bounds, even growing it as a weeping standard. I just looked up Holboellia in my pruning book and there is no such clarity about how to deal with it. It flowers at the same time as Wisteria so presumably on the same type of wood, I’d better have a go at developing an effective pruning regime and write a blog about it. I suspect that people plant it, get spooked by how fast it grows, hack it back hard in winter, get no flowers and hugely vigorous regrowth, repeat a time or two then get rid of it.

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  5. If I remember correctly, the pre-extended greenhouse didn’t have any floor space at all – all I could do was stand at the door and marvel at the collection from a distance. Lots of plants I haven’t seen before, as is often the case. Interesting Six-on-Saturday.

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    1. You do recall the greenhouse space situation correctly. It’s big improvement to get to see things up close and I’m hoping it will stay that way. Extra space plus a bit of a cull has worked wonders.

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  6. Gosh that greenhouse looks full already! Does Sue sell her cacti / succulents or is she simply(!) a collector? I’m not a fan of the prickly ones although when they flower they look amazing, but I do like succulents.

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    1. Odd plants have been sold on odd occasions, a boot sale here, a craft fair there, nothing very organised. When we open for NGS later (in June! Eek!) we will have some for sale. Mainly she’s a collector but they produce babies and no gardener finds it easy to throw their babies away.

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      1. Ah, yes. She is obviously very good at propagating. You must let me know when you are open so I can try and get up there to visit you.

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      2. If Sue can get Ozothamnus hookeri to root, she will have earned a propagation gold star and it will be clear her talents are wasted on succulents. I’ve failed multiple times.

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      3. Had to look that up. According to Burncoose nursery “Seed can be sown in containers as soon as they are ripe but semi-ripe new growth cuttings taken in midsummer are easily rooted and produce a much quicker result. “

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      4. The problem being that either most people are growing something else under the name O. hookeri or we have the wrong name for ours. It’s by far the hardest to root of any Ozothamnus I’ve encountered. I don’t think ours sets seed but it might be worth a try. It’s encroaching on our shared front drive so will either have to be pruned hard, which I’m very nervous about, or replaced with a small one, if we could get one to grow. I’ll keep trying.

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    1. Logically, dead heading bluebells would stop them spreading but it doesn’t seem to work, which I don’t really understand. There are a few things at risk of smothering but mostly the bluebells are soon gone and forgotten with no damage done.

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  7. Greenhouse looks incredible – what a collection! I really like the effect you’ve achieved with the bamboo bars on your trellis. A clever way to compensate for awkward height. I like the Holboellia, which is new to me.

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    1. Holboellia is in the family Lardizabalaceae, of which I am a modest fan, as much for the word as the plants therein, though there are some good ones. No representatives from Europe or North America. I was quite pleased to use the bamboo for something not wholly practical like bean poles.

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  8. The glasshouse is looking good – nice to see the various plants contained within.

    I see Noelle beat me to it with the name change. It’s one I don’t have, although I’ve tried it from seed a couple of times. One lot never germinated, the second lot produced a couple of plants but they soon disappeared. Anyway, I’m glad it’s doing well for you, even if it’s not seeding around.

    The Holboellia looks great; a plant I’ve seen from time to time, but don’t have much direct experience with.

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    1. Most of the Holboellias around are H. coriacea or H. latifolia, which don’t seem to be especially free flowering in many cases, though it may be a result of the need to contain their vigour. Happy to send you seed of the Pseudofumaria if you want to give it another shot.

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      1. It’s no trouble but a bit of advice on what the best stage is for harvesting them wouldn’t go amiss. They are never hugely abundant, would it make sense to collect over a period of time and keep them in the fridge for example?

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      2. Yes, collecting over a period of time sounds sensible if it never puts out a glut of seeds. I’d just keep them at room temperature. Following their natural life cycle, the seeds are technically not fully developed when ‘ripe’, and continue to mature in the soil over the summer and autumn, so I feel like keeping them cold confuses that.

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    1. 2 x 2 concrete slabs are fancy? Somewhere I have a picture of a glasshouse in New Zealand floored with 12 inch black and white tiles, chessboard style (with a sign warning you to get out in case of earthquakes). That’s fancy.

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      1. Our old propagation house lacked a floor. The ground was Perlite that had accumulated on bare soil since 1974. The fanciest houses had gravel or gravel covered with saran.

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      2. I put a row of slabs down in the nursery prop house mainly because in winter the gravel floor flooded and you got wet feet. They were lethal because the mist kept them wet and they got slimy. Then the suits decided in house production was not making enough money.

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  9. I’ve had to cut my holboellia right back for a new fence and so far it shows no sign of coming back which is sad as it is a gorgeous thing. I’m so impressed with your own azalea plant, will you name it? And Sue’s glasshouse is amazing.

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    1. My Holboellia produces the odd new shoot from old wood near to the roots, making me think it would come back if I cut it hard, but I have no plans to put it to the test. I’m not as familiar with Rhododendrons as I am with Camellias but I strongly suspect that rather too many have been named and since I don’t have a clue whether there is already something nearly identical to mine available, I won’t be trying to get a name for it registered.

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