While there are still lots of plants to choose from for inclusion in a saturday six, the garden as a whole is beginning to look a bit ragged around the edges. When things have finished for the season, they either sit there looking finished or get cut down leaving a gap. It’s getting late for second flushes but I’m hoping to get a bit more from Calendulas and Antirrhinum, having chopped them back earlier. I seem to have taken pictures of 13 contenders this week, time to select the winners and losers.
Oregano vulgare ‘Aureum’. This wins hands down for most popular plant for insects. Earlier in the week there were 10 Gatekeeper butterflies among the many bees. It must produce nectar at a prodigious rate. The plant itself looks great early in the year, making a tidy yellow mat of foliage. Now that it’s flowering it’s relatively scruffy, but it’s easy to forgive. I don’t know what the other thing, a hover fly perhaps.
We wouldn’t want to be without Plectranthus argentatus. This is a very big pot with four or five plants in it. For my money it’s all about the foliage but if you look closely its flower spikes are just starting to extend. I think it looks better without and would remove them but I get overruled in this so they will soon be flowering. The pot sits on a tree stump and does a good job of disguising it.
Veratrum nigrum is a plant that I grew from seed many years ago. I think it has flowered before but it certainly hasn’t in recent years, mainly because the slugs give it a constant mauling. It’s around five feet tall so a decent clump would make something of a statement. One flower stem is a start. It seems to be fly pollinated and unsurprisingly doesn’t smell too good.
Indigofera pendula has had several of our garden visitors scribbling in their notebooks. It was blown about pretty badly last winter so I cut it back quite hard and staked it. It was very slow to get going this spring and I was getting a bit nervous but It’s come good, made 3 feet of new growth with a flower raceme up to 17 inches long at every node.
Fuchsia hatschbatchii. When it comes to plants there are gardeners who like just about anything and couldn’t wind themselves up to really dislike a plant, even if they wouldn’t plant it in their own garden. Then there are gardeners who don’t like Dahlias, or yellow, or Fuchsias. My response to the last is “what, all fuchsias, what about hatschbatchii?” In many cases they are confronted by a plant that just doesn’t have any of the characteristics for which they dislike fuchsias. It doesn’t have flowers of fuchsia pink, in vulgar quantities, on an inelegant lumpy bush with very ordinary, disease prone foliage. Instead it’s growth is slender, elegant, with narrow dark glossy leaves and flowers to match. Needless to say, some of the fuchsias we grow do have flowers of fuchsia pink, in vulgar quantities, on an inelegant lumpy bush with very ordinary, disease prone foliage and we love them too.
Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’, to give it its full title. I once envisioned a mass planting of Stipa gigantea, but went off the idea after seeing it done at Logan Botanic Garden, not because it wasn’t fantastic, just because it had already been done. This would be a very good alternative. There’s another form called ‘Skyracer’, which is more upright and taller, maybe I need one of them. My ‘Transparent’ is around 7 feet.
I just went out for a walk round the garden and it struck me that there is a lot of colour from Dahlias, Penstemons, Begonias, Hydrangeas, Fuchsias, Clematis, Salvias, Agapanthus and a few others, none of which feature in the six I’ve chosen, except the understated Fuchsia. It seems I like the full spectrum of flavours offered by plants but tend to focus on a narrower range at any one time. In a sense the six above are six on thursday and if I’d actually gone round with my camera this morning, on the allotted day, a very different set would have been the result. There’s always next week.
Right, link to the Propagator, host and hub for Sixers everywhere. Quick check to see what I’ve forgotten, (categories, tags) then publish.