Six on Saturday – 21/8/2021

Our first season of opening under the NGS finishes tomorrow, not a moment too soon both from the angle that the garden is slowly starting to collapse under its own weight and that we have had enough now and want our garden back. If we do it again next year we will open less often.
It has been fun showing off our garden, with the reaction from almost everyone being of surprise, even astonishment, that such a garden would be hidden away in the middle of a housing estate, let alone packed with so much of interest. It has also very much kept us on our toes; there has been far more primping and preening than we normally do, some of it all good, like dead heading and being rewarded with more flowers, some of it, staking or cutting off things that encroach on the paths that we would step over or push past, less good.

None of which matters for now, since this is saturday and that can only mean one thing. What six things happening now, in the garden, are going to get commented on this week. The first one will, of that I am quietly confident.

One.
One of the pleasures of growing things from seed is that you never quite know what you’re going to get. I suppose if you sow a packet of cabbages and what comes up is cauliflowers, it might not be a pleasure but that rarely happens. I grow Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’, a rich red form of G. papilio which I have grown but tired of since it spread all over the place but didn’t flower. ‘Ruby’ had come up in one or two places away from the original plant and flowered the same as the parent. A couple of years ago I collected seed and sowed it in a pot. Last winter I planted the whole potful of seedlings out without dividing them at all. There are four flower spikes coming up, one of which opened on thursday, providing quite a surprise.

Two.
Fuchsia problems. I’m starting to see a few shoots affected with Fuchsia gall mite. I will follow the same strategy as in previous years: maintain a high level of vigilance, remove any that I see and bin it, cut them all right down at the end of the season and clean up carefully around them. There is also a large dying branch on our bush of F. ‘Lechlade Magicien’, just a foot or so away from where my Schefflera taiwaniana died last year. Almost certainly honey fungus, a legacy of the long since removed Leylandii hedge. Both capsid and tortrix moth have been quite bad on some fuchsias this year and some bushes were just starting to flower well, so I very much hope we can contain the problems.

Three.
Last year I cut all the garden fuchsias right down in the autumn, which may have helped control gall mite, but inevitably delays flowering as the plants have to make quite a bit of growth first. Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ is only just starting to flower and Sue is adamant that I should not cut it back so hard, so that it flowers earlier next year. If it stays clean I will perhaps take a chance on it. ‘Hawkshead’ completely lacks any pink colour, it is white and green. If you have ‘Hawkshead’ with a pale pink corolla, it ain’t ‘Hawkshead’.

Four.
Eucomis pole-evansii. I haven’t found Eucomis to be very successful in the ground and grow most of mine in pots, but this thing is such an enormous beast I planted it out; it’s now 105cm and still getting taller. I now have to decide whether I leave it out or lift it for winter. I planted E. ‘Pink Gin’ alongside it and the same dilemma applies. The more Eucomis I grow, the more I want.

Five.
Crocosmia ‘Carmin Brilliant’. When Crocosmia are flowering I want more but when they’re not, I wonder why I have them at all. I don’t know that this one is exceptional, but I liked the mix with white and purple.

Six.
Cyrtanthus elatus ‘Pink Diamond’. Every year we get to July and I begin to think this won’t flower. Then all of a sudden the buds appear and shoot up. It could do with being repotted, which would give me the chance to get the Hesperantha out of the middle of it. I have absolutely no idea how Hesperantha huttonii came to be growing in with it. I found instructions for growing Cyrtanthus in the ground, which got me wondering about planting some out, with winter frost protection, or just planting them out for summer.

And that my friends, is that. It’s raining on and off here but looks like an improver. I have potatoes to dig, then want to get a green manure crop sown where they are. Should have done it earlier. You’re not going to forget to check in on The Propagator and his links, it’s probably how you got here.

36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 21/8/2021

  1. How pretty is that cyrtanthus?! I love the eucomis, a monster one at that. Have a good day today, hope the weather is kinder than it is here. NGSers are usually hardy types, sure you will have a good show. And then relax!

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    1. Opening tomorrow, though actually today has turned into a quite nice day, so far. The Cyrtanthus seems unobtainable, the RHS don’t list it, and Google brings up very little. I should spread it around perhaps.

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      1. It went well but it’s well that it went and we can let it collapse in late summer lushness as it should. Of course perhaps, did I see something about you coming down to Cornwall sometime; if you’re passing call in.

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  2. Many thanks on the low down on Fuchsia problems. Mine too are very late to flower this year. It may be also due to the strange weather. I found far more flowers on my hardy fuchsias in their first and second years. I am very tempted to take cuttings and remove the plants completely this year, after I am certain the cuttings have taken. Your Crocosmia combo is delightful.

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    1. Growing Fuchsias is becoming something of a struggle. We take cuttings early in the year, we find late cuttings harder to root and often they don’t come through the winter. I think April’s eternal frosts sapped some of the emerging Fuchsias, they struggled to get going.

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  3. My in-laws, who live in the Cotentin (NW of France near Cherbourg), have the same problem with fuchsias. I took a cutting from one of their huge fuchsias 4 years ago. Mine has no problem but their plants are infected with gall mite, ( Fuchsia coccinea)
    Very nice mix of eucomis and agapanthus !

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    1. Since the English aren’t responsible for anything, we blame the French for giving us Fuchsia gall mite. The story is that someone brought infected cuttings from France to England. In my book that makes the presumably English person who took the cuttings responsible. It’s difficult, I could give someone a plant I’d grown and which appeared completely healthy, only for it to appear later on. I have no idea whether we have our own mite infestation that carries over from one year to the next but doesn’t show up until August, or whether it’s blowing in from outside each year.

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    1. I’m convinced vigilance is the best defence with gall mite, and much else. The Gladiolus clump, all seedlings, has three more flower spikes to open. Could all be different; I will admit to a certain level of excitement at the prospect.

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  4. The Cyrtanthus is perfection itself.

    Good to know about ‘Hawkshead’. I have a pink tinged Fuschia which I always assumed was ‘Hawkshead’. It was taken as a cutting from elsewhere so I didn’t really have proof of it’s identity anyway!

    I’m glad you enjoyed aspects of the garden opening, although I can certainly believe that you’d like it all back to yourselves. If you don’t try these things, you’ll never learn anything new!

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    1. The thing with the garden is that we’ve spent 30 odd years creating a garden that is of interest all year round and I really don’t want to start changing it to be good for three weekends in the summer.
      Was it you put a picture of your Hawkshead in a six a couple of weeks back? Someone did and I winced but said nothing. There always seem to be unwritten rules about these things that I am too old to be familiar with. I Googled ‘Hawkshead’ and to my astonishment among the pictures were a few pink ones, including one from Ashwood Nurseries. Their description was self contradictory too. I sent them a message and they acknowledged the error and corrected it (I haven’t checked) straight away. There’s no better indicator of a business’s quality than how they behave when they get something wrong. The downside was that I looked at their plant list and Cyclamen season is upon us.

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      1. Completely understand about the garden.

        Yes, I put a picture up of ” ‘Hawskhead’ “! Feel free to point out any of my errors, I won’t take offence! Funnily enough, it was an assumption on my part so I Googled it to check and saw Ashwood Nursery’s picture – I assumed it must be right. Good job you spotted the error. They are a fantastic nursery, one which I’m looking forward to visiting soon!

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      2. It’s probably just as well that Ashwood is as far away as it is. I just popped into Treseders, I was so near it would have been silly not to, and came away with Blechnum montanum and Zephyranthes carinata; just can’t help myself.

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  5. One thing I can almost always be sure of when reading your blog is learning something new. This time it’s Cyrtanthus elatus. Now, where can I find one of those, I wonder. Off to Mr Google!

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  6. Your Eucomis looks very exotic. I’ve never tried growing one, but I am tempted, except I have promised myself not to buy any plants that need cosseting! Congratulations on the openings, they do seem to have gone on for a long time. Maybe a couple of weekends/midweek openings in the future. I’m sorry not to have got over, but I’ve not been too good for the last month so driving anywhere has been limited. Next year, hopefully!

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    1. The Eucomis don’t get much cosseting, they die down in autumn, spend the winter dry under the glasshouse bench then come out again in spring when they start to grow again. It’s a relief to get the openings done, everything is getting overblown and falling across the paths, not very visitor friendly. We finished on a high with a good bunch of visitors and very good weather.

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      1. Best day for some time! I might give Eucomis a go then. And, I was excited to see a flower spike on my Amarine today! I have three bulbs in a pot (3 or even 4 years) and this is the first flower.

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  7. I used to work in a garden that regularly opened for the NGS and there was always a trade off at this time of year between letting plants have their last fling and keeping paths clear for the visitors. Have you tried the predatory mite against the Gall mites? I’ve really missed my Fuchsias this year and was hoping to try again next year. I haven’t been able to find out if this is a feasible control method

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  8. The Crytanthus is exceptionally beautiful! It is such a lovely colour! I was amazed by the Gladiolus too, as I have not seen one of that colour before. New fuchsia plants are available at nurseries here now, but I just admire them now. I’m no longer tempted to try and grow them anymore. I honk it is the humidity here that they don’t like. I do like the white one you featured. Such a pity about the other fuchsia being infected. So pleased to hear how well you did with your open garden season.

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    1. Fuchsias don’t much like very high temperatures, at least in our conditions; we don’t get your tropical levels of humidity. In a glasshouse we would spray water around to increase humidity if the temperature got too high, basically aiming to reduce water loss. The gladiolus has me puzzled now, in that what I thought was a clump of seedlings is all flowering an identical colour.

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