Six on Saturday – 5/6/2021

It’s all coming on apace now, making up for lost time. Everything is filling out and bare ground is disappearing; a good thing, I don’t like bare ground. Lots of things are in bud, like peonies, dahlias and hydrangeas and it’s tempting to include the promise of things to come but the things already happening demand attention.

One.
Like this primula. There’s something funny going on with this plant of Primula prolifera. I thought at first it was fasciation, the flowers are dense on the stem, but all its flower stems are the same. They’re unusually stout and have a triangular cross section with round corners. I shall collect seed and see if its progeny are similar, though it isn’t an improvement really.

Two.
Aquilegia. I’ve had to remove quite a few Aquilegias which were suffering from downy mildew. A few weeks ago we were as usual wondering where all the aquilegias hade gone. I get accused of weeding out too many every year but as usual, and in spite of losses to mildew, we have lots around the garden now. Along with Geranium palmatum they provide a lot of the early June colour for us year after year. I tried to improve our stock by growing bought seed the year before last and again this year. We have one with a yellow flower, so something survived from the earlier lot.

Three.
As in the last couple of years I shall be planting out several Begonias that I have overwintered in pots in the greenhouse. The first to go out are B. luxurians and this one, which is ‘Connie Boswell’. This is the first time I’ve planted it out, having got a few young plants going as backup. I’ll bring it back inside in autumn. It didn’t die down in the winter, even in a just frost free, glasshouse.

Four.
Maianthemum bifolium, May Lily, is a rare native plant, occurring in a few northern woodlands. I think it’s fair to say that it’s not going to be rare because so many people have dug it up for their gardens but it has something about it that appeals to me. It is spreading with considerable enthusiasm but so far is only dense in the original clump.

Five.
Codonopsis clematidea is a herbaceous climber/sprawler that I have growing in a pot tucked under our big bamboo. Seemingly the only thing it won’t put up with is being too wet, just as well since I rarely remember to water it. I collected seed last year which germinated well, but I only sowed them as an insurance and last year’s plants survived the winter.

Six.
I went out this morning and took a few more pictures, then came back in and changed my mind on what I’d put at number six yesterday evening. Asphodelus albus was looking good, it often has too few flowers open on the spike to look very good. Taken through the promise of Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’s flower buds, all reaching for the sky. Number six was going to be one of the begonias in the featured picture; another time.

It’s grey here this morning, but dry. (Sue just came in and said it’s spitting, bah!) Another full day of garden tinkering awaits, or beckons. Perhaps a bit less watering than of late. A list of little jobs to work through, mealy buds on orchids, tick; water beans, tick; tie up Holboellia, tick; shredding, tick; coffee time, tick; check other sixes on saturday, tick.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 5/6/2021

  1. Hopefully your rare May Lily will be offered in nurseries so that it can remain untouched in its natural habitat. It would certainly catch my attention when touring a garden. The leaf form is interesting and that little spot of white adds a classy punctuation.

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    1. I just came away from Tregrehan Plant Fair with yet another Begonia, “aff. panithurensis” according to the label. It has to be good, it cost enough, but I know nothing about it. Got another fern too, and that was it, such restraint.

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  2. The codonopsis is lovely, Jim. I grew a selection from AGS seed years ago but they gradually died out. C. clematidea was the best to last but a particularly cold winter brought it to an end. By coincidence I saw a few plants in a local garden this morning.

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    1. The Codonopsis was a Hardy Plant Society seed acquisition, under the name C. thalictrifolia, which I’m pretty certain it isn’t. I will plant the pot-full of seedlings somewhere and be sure to collect more for next year.

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    1. I half-inched the seed from a public park originally and I’m glad I did, the plants there were swamped by Persicaria then the whole area mowed. I should sprinkle some seed back there if I can find a bare area.

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  3. You have so many unusual plants it is a joy to visit. The Codonopsis clematidea flowers look just like the bell flower hats that fairies wear. I had to look it up and see that it is in fact called the Bonnet bellflower and has a very pretty pattern inside which you can almost make out in the top flower.

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    1. You can look at plants and see nothing beyond bright splashes of colour, or you can look at them closely and see details you’d otherwise miss, you can look them up and find fascinating back stories, you can grow them, requiring knowledge of their needs, which perhaps leads to where they grow in the wild. and down and down. To see only the bright splash of colour is to operate at the level of an insect. (Am I ranting?)

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  4. I had a pink and white version of that primula several years ago but it disappeared after the one season. Number 5 is an unusual, delicate blue and most attractive. My bog standard peony has been good this year. Usually there are plenty of buds but many don’t open. This year’s some of the plants have fewer buds but they have all opened completely. How is the Open Garden Scheme going, or has the start been delayed?

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    1. The garden opening is proceeding as planned, which means starting on the 23 June. We have a non NGS group coming on wednesday this week as a dry run. Good thing the last week or so has been good growing conditions. Primulas tend not to last long, if you don’t collect seed you can be sure they’ll die.

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  5. May lily is quite different from our related Solomon’s Seal. I am told that the native Solomon’s seal (which is really false Solomon’s seal) can be aggressive, and then difficult to eradicate. I would not know, since I have not been able to get it to survive transplant yet. I have not tried with the plants that are now in the landscape, . . . but I might, . . . even if it becomes a ‘slight’ problem. It would not be the worst that I tried.

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    1. My (false) Solomon’s seals have been very well behaved and stayed as tight clumps, which probably means the conditions are not quite ideal. Some things are like that, you get just the right conditions one year and it makes more growth than in the previous ten.

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  6. That’s is. A lovely Begonia. I need to identify the Begonias I have here, but it’s a task that can wait until I have less gardening to do. The yellow Primula is very unusual and I will be interested to hear if the seed produce any unusual plants. The May Lily is lovely, and it’s such a pity that the native plants are been taken for gardens.

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    1. I just went and bought another Begonia; I seem to have a bit of a fixation on them. You misunderstood my comment about the May Lily being taken from the wild, I was implying that it was a bit underwhelming and therefore safe from that particular threat. It’s anything with showy flowers that is at risk. The primula is puzzling, I mustn’t forget I want seed, it’d be just like me to dead head it.

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      1. Another Begonia! I do like the variations in their foliage. You will have to feature it in one of your blogs. Ah! I really did misunderstand what you meant! I’m glad it’s safe as I quite like it.

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      2. It seems remarkable to me that there are still species of Begonias out in the wilds of north India that haven’t been collected before now. This one has big palmate leaves and I thought it was something quite different until I read the label. It will no doubt appear in an update blog on Begonias and/or a saturday six.

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  7. That’s an amazing six, three of which are new to me. I don’t have a favourite, Jim, but if I did have one it would likely be the Asphodelus & Sarah combination. That’s two.

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