Six on Saturday – 17/7/2021

Back on the watering treadmill but who could complain about such glorious weather. The Dahlias are beginning to kick off, which in gardening terms is my yardstick for summer proper. Six for this week, easy peasy.

One
Hydrangea serrata ‘Shojo’. This is on the edge of my shady area and gets very little direct sun though it is in good light. I could do with it not getting any bigger, it’s between two paths and overhanging both. I need to master the art of containing it without losing too much flowering. I also need to take a better picture of it, I’ve made it look dull when it is actually that pale shade of blue that glows in the gloaming.

Two.
Begonia ‘Torsa’ is beginning to live up to the hype. I potted it from a 3 to a 7.5L pot then plunged it in a shady spot under a Camellia. It appears to very happy but I will lift it to overwinter then plant it properly in the ground to stay out next year. It is supposed to be as hardy as B. grandis evansiana. I have a number of small plants of it as insurance now so I could take the risk this winter but I think, even if it survived OK, that it would be much later into growth next year if left out compared to being brought in. The foreground leaf is 14 inches wide by 16 inches long.

Three.
Filipendula palmata ‘Rubra’. Happy in sun provided it has plenty of moisture at the roots, this grows amongst Astilbes in the bog garden.

Four.
Veronica spicata. Given to me by the same lady who gave me the Filipendula. Not quite sure what to do with it I planted it in the hot sunny bank at the top of the garden and it has mostly been too dry, miserable and underperforming. As a result, I have not been minded to give it a better piece of real estate. This year the weather cards seem to have played out just right and it is surpassing itself mightily. The question remains, do I leave it there, knowing that it can be good, or has it earned a bed in a better hotel.

Five.
Malva sylvestris ‘Bibor Felho’ came my way as seeds from a neighbour’s abandoned allotment. I shredded the plants I had in the garden last year and was rewarded with a clump on the allotment where I spread the shreddings. These ones in the garden were planned; sown in cells and planted out when small. They’re five feet tall, will get taller and flower for months. In the tougher conditions of my allotment they produced more flowers and less leaf. The second sowing Cosmos in front of them, at three feet are more than twice the height of an earlier sowing, buried beneath them.

Six.
With a big patch of ground needing to be filled quickly, I grew annuals on a larger scale this year than for many years. Calendula ‘Flashback Mixed’ came from Real Seeds, who mostly do vegetables. Knowing Calendulas, I imagine I’ll be growing them for years, whether I want to or not. I think it’s a case of liking them, but wouldn’t be heartbroken if I didn’t have them.

A day of gardening tweaks lies ahead. Lots of little things, preening and primping. There’s more needs doing on the allotment but I’m not keen, it’s too hot. Picking fruit won’t wait, blackcurrants, my favourite but the fiddliest. Links to other sixes in the usual place. Enjoy the sun.

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 17/7/2021

  1. I’m very happy with the garden flower but blue is distinctly lacking although there are a couple of pale blue shrubs which flower rather late in the year. Interesting Six-on-Saturday as always.

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    1. Blue is a funny colour in a garden. Most people are drawn to the deeper blue varieties of things like Agapanthus, Ceanothus, Caryopteris; but it’s the paler ones that stand out better. The pale blue Hydrangea works particularly well in that it is on the edge of my shady area and emphasises the cooler feel.

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  2. Oh my gosh Jim – everything (almost) looks amazing in your garden! I grew the same packet of Calendula! I wonder if they’ll self seed here as well… I love that Malva – had no idea they would get so tall, and the Begonia!!! But your poor Veronica definitely needs a new forever home, the leaves look a bit sad (or is that normal?)

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    1. I was looking at the calendulas this morning and wondering if I liked some colours more than others and should collect seed selectively; I can’t decide. The same mallow on my allotment is easily 7 feet, though most of them have fallen over. Finding a forever home for the Veronica might be a challenge, I need something else to die or do so badly it demands replacemenet.

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  3. These are a few that I am not familiar with, although I do remember the ‘Torsa’ begonia. I believe that it was still something new when I met it in the late 1980s, at Antonelli Begonia Garden in Capitola. My colleague brought one back to the Los Angeles region, but seemed to have lost it in the process of relocating between homes a few years later. What he though was ‘Torsa’ regenerated as something else after getting cut back.
    I still am not certain if I have ever met the ‘real’ veronica. The most common one that I know of is the lawn weed. When is known as ‘veronica’ here is various cultivars of Hebe.
    We have tried the mallows here, but Malva sylvestris has not been happy. It is not much happier on the coast. I can not imagine why. People grow it anyway, perhaps because it is what we expect to see in coastal gardens. It can actually be rather pretty mixed with fluffier nasturtiums or pelargoniums to obscure the grungy lower foliage. Heck, I should try it in my own garden to get acquainted with it.
    Filipendula is something we have not tried yet, and may never try. It is unavailable in local nurseries. Even if it were available, I suspect that it may perform no better than astilbe. We just added a bunch of astilbe, which I am fond of, but am concerned about. They get roasted by the aridity, even if watered regularly.

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    1. I hadn’t realised B. ‘Torsa’ went back so far. There has been a fad for “hardy” begonias here for the last few years and much as I detest fads, I reckon they can’t all be bad. I have found it difficult to find out much about the various varieties I grow, though I admit I could have looked harder. I just glanced at the Wikipedia entry on Veronica and discovered that Veronica spicata, which is what I think I have, is a British native, which I didn’t know. Then again it might be V. longifolia or a hybrid. We get various Veronica species as weeds, one of which I tolerate as it does a good low splash of clear blue, but I’m not sure which species it is.Bit more homework required there. The mallow I associate with seaside here is Malva arborea, though my wildflower book says Malva sylvestris grows by the sea too.

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      1. HA! You detest fads too! COOL! (Although I ‘get it’ that some are not so bad.)
        ‘Torsa’ begonia is not something that I would have known about if my colleague had not been interested in it, and we only met it here because Antonelli Begonia Garden happened to be in Capitola nearby. It was the sort of nursery that we needed to visit while he was here.
        Like some of the begonias, some of the mallows are traditionally grown in planters and those big urns on the sidewalks of the coastal towns like Capitola and Aptos. I do not know why. They never thrive. Nonetheless, they look ‘traditional’. I mean, they are the sort of flower that one expects to see blooming there. I will not argue with tradition.

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      2. Go back fifty years and our coastal towns were spectacular with bedding schemes and well maintained parks. It was seen as an important part of what attracted visitors to them. The acme would have been carpet bedding, which you rarely see now. Edinburgh still has its floral clock, some traditions are still upheld.

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  4. A lovely sunny six to cheer us all up. Love the mallow, know what you mean about calendula, indeed it’s all so good your next round of visitors won’t know where to look first. Can’t wait to see the cosmos in flower.

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      1. They’ll be there. I’m planning a visit to an NGS garden near me for Sunday and haven’t booked. Now I’m thinking I should to give the owners peace of mind.

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  5. It has been too hot here to do anything other than water, with plants in pots etc., I’ve decided for once just to visit other linked in posts, as as usual yours is full of delights. Fab hydrangea, mine don’t like the heat!

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    1. I gave one of my serrata hydrangeas away because it suffered so badly in heat and dry, I had nowhere else to put it. I need a bigger shady area, but I need a bigger sunny area too.

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  6. I also introduced the veronica spicata but the tops of mine aren’t the same, as mine would have been fasciated. Gorgeous too !
    Love the begonia leaves and the mallow flowers.

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  7. I really like the look of begonia Toro and it’ll be good to hear how it gets on outdoors. I can see that the hydrangea ‘Shojo’ is a stunner. I’m keen to try out some new hydrangeas here but there’s insufficient acidity here for such a stunning blue.

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    1. I have never tested our soil pH but I wouldn’t expect it to be very acid, we’re not on the granitic soils you get up on the moor. The chemistry works very nicely though. Both ‘Shojo’ and my other two serratas, ‘Cap Sizun’ and ‘Fuji-no-taki’ were grown for Pan Global Nursery, though I got them directly from the grower. I potted up 5 more small plants of Begonia ‘Torsa’ this morning, it produces bulbils like grandis but they have been very slow to come into growth. With luck I should have bulbils to spare this autumn, should you be interested.

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  8. If my Filipendula had been as gorgeous a colour as yours I might not have pulled it all out! The Malva is also a lovely colour and I have to say your calendula are pretty good too. I am sure I sowed some different calendula but so far only last year’s orange ones are flowering. I don’t mind too much as they are cheerful. I would come over on Wednesday, but I’m not good in very hot weather and this Wednesday is still rather warm I think.

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    1. You seem to have come to the same conclusion as everyone else re Wednesday, we still have no online bookings at all. It’s becoming a struggle to keep the garden looking presentable and it needs to look as good for one person as for forty. You presumably had the wild white Filipendula, nice as wildflowers go but borderline as a garden plant. We went to Lanyon Quoit and Men-an-tol on thursday, that’d be your neck of the woods?

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      1. Lanyon Quoit had a herd of cows all trying to get shade from the sun under it. I didn’t squeeze through Men-an-tol, my scrofulous taint, which it is known to cure, being in remission.

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      2. Seems to be a favourite spot for the cows, on my visit I stepped into a cow pat under the capstone! Still got to do the walk to the Ding Dong mine!

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      3. Mmm… Minions is a little far from the Men-An-Tol. You should have booked a table at the Gurnard Hotel or the Tinners Arms, though the latter can be a nightmare to find parking at.

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