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 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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.