Six on Saturday – 29/5/2021

At long long last we have some decent growing weather. It feels like everything is miles behind but looking at pictures from last year doesn’t bear that out. There seem to be a lot of things on the verge of flowering and rather fewer actually performing, but serving up six helpings at this time of the year isn’t really a problem.

Rhododendron atlanticum(?). There are a number of closely related species which also hybridise with each other so the names prinophyllum and periclymenoides are also contenders. Suffice it to say that it is flowering, as in the picture and has the best scent of anything in the garden; it trumps Daphne and Maianthemum. (IMHO) If someone can identify it with confidence it would be much appreciated.

Libertia sessiliflora. I was convinced I’d included this last year but it seems I didn’t. It didn’t flower for many years because it was too shaded, in fact I’m not sure that it didn’t die and come back up as a seedling. Last year it flowered for the first time in many years and I can’t even find any pictures I took of it, though I’m certain I did. Maybe much later or earlier. Unlike most Libertias, it has blue rather than white flowers. It also makes quite a tidy clump of slender upright leaves. I just dug up and moved what looked like a seedling of it, but I have others, so it may be something else or even a hybrid.

Hosta ‘Raspberry Sundae’. I seem to be finding it increasingly difficult to pass by the Hosta section in nurseries these days. I’ve had a few in the garden for years but inevitably they have been shredded by the slimy ones so my enthusiasm for them was lacking. All bar one are now in pots and they are much more successful. This one could be my current favourite.

A lot of our Dahlias were lifted to make room for the glasshouse extension and I planted them in my polytunnel up at the allotment to go through the winter. Though unheated, they still came up much earlier than the few that were left in the ground in the garden and were all but untouched by slugs. I moved them back into the garden in late April and put upturned pots over them night after night to protect them from frost. Come May the battle was with slugs so they are a regular check on my nightly mollusc patrols. Three other plants here weren’t showing so I looked more closely. Sure enough, two were being browsed at ground level and the third doing nothing. I lifted them and put them into 15L pots in the greenhouse, hopefully just for a short while to get them going a bit before replanting them. I think it was what I planned to do all along, after last years experience, but it slipped under the radar, so I’m a month later than I should have been.

Cactus. It’s almost peak season for the cacti so I took pictures of some of them. The last three are of a couple of the night flowering, moth pollinated varieties. I took them yesterday evening and have put the time on them. I was back out with the camera this morning too.

Ozothamnus hookeri. This is beside our front driveway, which is narrow, curved and shared with a neighbour. The bush is encroaching onto the drive, doesn’t like being pruned and is very tricky to propagate. It looks like Sue might finally have managed to root some cuttings after several failures by me. It has whitish flowers about half a millimetre wide, not very ornamental but strongly honey scented. I’ve seen a lot of plants labelled Ozothamnus hookeri, but none like this one, so I don’t want to lose it.

I need to plant my runner beans, and a lot of other veg plants. Masses to do in the garden too, it’s catch up time. There’ll be a lot of that going on methinks. To check if it’s this weeks theme you need to read The Propagator’s missive then follow the links.

13 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 29/5/2021

  1. Those cacti are stunning, if you don’t mind me stating the obvious. 🙄 I can’t get overexcited about hostas. Maybe my parents’ hatred of them has rubbed off. For whatever reason, I was told numerous times how awful they were and just slug magnets. Meanwhile, that Number 1 is beautiful, it looks very much like honeysuckle but more sophisticated. Interesting Six-on-Saturday again.


  2. Cactus flowers are so cool, in a silly sort of way. Cacti look too clumsy to bloom with such vibrant color. My colleague down south says that those stout sort with their wide flowers suspended on elongated pedicel like ‘bases’ that look like chubby cheer leaders.
    I have been out of the Rhododendron crowd for years. One of my colleagues from that time would likely have no problem with identifying that rhododendron, although the real expert is now deceased. I do not believe that we grew that one for wholesale, but might have had a few about for collectors. (The expert sometimes sent us oddities like that, to grow for his friends.)


    1. The rhododendron came from a lady who was being forced to move because of marital problems. She had a garden full of choice plants, mostly too big to move and suspected that the new occupants would bulldoze the lot. I only ever managed to get about three cuttings to root and I have one of them. I feel obliged to keep it going if I can, there may not be another like it.

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    1. There’s something a bit zen about growing a plant the flowers on which last for 24 hours or less, then you wait 364 days in hope it will do it again. Some last longer but not usually much.

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  3. My Dahlias are not looking too enthusiastic this year. Annoyingly, the ones I’ve potted up at various client’s houses are doing really well. I suppose at least I look like I know what I’m doing!

    The mystery, or uncertainly identified, Rhododendron looks good. Shame I can’t smell it!


    1. I dug and potted three slug browsed Dahlias and after just a few days the improvement is remarkable. They just need protecting for a critical two or three weeks in spring, then they’re away.

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  4. Our vegetable garden has had a dreadful start to the year with temperatures so low in April/May that there was hardly any germination of seed. I am not trying to catch up
    Though the blue flowers of that libertia are attractive I stubbornly refuse to plant one in the garden again. Previously they became rampageous and were a dreadful nuisance to remove.


    1. I don’t direct sow much on the allotment because the slugs are fat enough already. Most things are germinated on the bedroom floor then moved to the glasshouse. It’s mostly been painfully slow to grow on.
      I know what you mean about Libertia, the tall white ones have been banished here too. I have L. ixioides and L. sessiliflora, neither of which produce more than a handful of self sown seedlings here but I can imagine even they could be a problem in other places, they produce abundant seed.

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      1. Libertia perigrinans is the only one left in the garden. It moves along by stolons but is very easily pulled out. The golden foliage is attractive.

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