Six on Saturday – 23/10/2021

The rain and wind on Wednesday night laid to rest any lingering thoughts of summer. I was out in it on Wednesday evening and it was truly vile. By Thursday morning the rain had blown through but the roads were strewn with leaves and twigs. The garden looked like it had taken something of a beating but I don’t think any lasting damage was done. Weather permitting, the autumn clean up will continue this weekend. The time is fast approaching when a single flower constitutes something happening in the garden but we’re not quite there yet.

One.
Worst casualty of the wind was that my Indigofera pendula broke free of its moorings and was over at about 45 degrees. I took two thirds of this year’s growth off the top and tied it back to its stake. Hopefully it will recover as well as it did when the same thing happened last year. I noticed a few seed pods on the bits I’d removed and managed to find a few still attached to the plant. I will be watching carefully to see if they yield seeds.

Two.
About three years ago somebody or something drew my attention to Chrysanthemums as garden plants. I think I actually bought the HPS book on Hardy Garden Chrysanthemums before I made my first purchase, very far from my usual order of business. Quite why I settled on it I don’t remember but along with a few other things I ordered ‘Jolie Rose’ from Cotswold Garden Flowers. I only bought one because I wanted to see if it could survive slug Armageddon. It did, so a few more have been added since. They’re coping better with the slugs than with my hands off approach to plant supports and I now have four varieties doing their rather pleasing thing.

Three.
Fuchsia regia serrae. When Sue and I worked at *$^”* Nursery one of our specialist areas was Fuchsias. We grew quite a few of them in our own garden but only a fraction of the full nursery range. Every now and then we will encounter an old customer and find that they still have a different one from back then. This is one of those, a plant we didn’t expect ever to see again, since I doubt very much whether it’s available from any nurseries now. It would qualify at least as well as the well known ‘Lady Boothby’ for the description of climbing fuchsia and is probably about as hardy. It doesn’t have especially large flowers, starts flowering late in the season but has elegant foliage that is perhaps even better than F. hatschbatchii. We planted it in the wrong place, with nothing to climb up, so it has been moved, which it didn’t enjoy. Next year it should be much better.

Four.
Seedling Fuchsia. Fuchsias of various sorts self sow around the garden. Usually they are magellanica types and I weed them out on the basis they’re likely to be almost identical to their parent, of which we have more than enough. Just occasionally something interesting looking turns up. These I pot, label with something that two years later will be meaningless (like “Fuchsia, cyclamen tray”) and put them somewhere safe, in most cases never to be seen again. A similar fate probably awaits this one.

Five.
Camellia japonica ‘Patricia Short’. I was sent cuttings of this a few years back to try to root so that it could go in the Mt Edgcumbe National Collection. This is the only survivor and at the beginning of this week it started to open a bloom. Search the Camellia Register and you won’t find it, look in the RHS online Plantfinder and it won’t be there. Do a Google search and Pat Short’s name will come up, she’s the immediate past President of the International Camellia Society and this Camellia has been named for her. I know absolutely nothing more about it, a state of affairs I’m trying to change now that I’ve seen how good it is in flower. This may well be the first ever published photo of it.

Six.
Haknoechloa macra ‘Albostriata’
or ‘Mediovariegata’. I don’t find grasses at all easy to photograph and the Hak macs I would put at the trickier end of the spectrum. They don’t even have showy flowers to give them a “moment”. I took this Thursday afternoon when the sun was just right and managed to focus somewhere sensible. I’ll take it.

This morning is cool and breezy, I’m in no hurry to venture out. Perhaps if I kill an hour following a few links from Six on Saturday Sentral over at the running man’s site, then get a coffee, it’ll have warmed up a bit. I live in hope.

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 23/10/2021

  1. I think that the Hakonechloa photograph is very successful. The climbing fuschia is indeed a beauty. I appreciated your account of saving fuschia seedlings that pop up around your garden. I can’t seem to get rid of anything that appears in the garden unless it is one of the easily identifiable local weeds.

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    1. An inability to get rid of things seems to affect most people to some degree. I am deeply suspicious of people who lead ruthlessly uncluttered lives; it seems like a denial of human nature.

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  2. I think the final photo has come out pretty well!

    On the subject of Chrysanthemums: a lady I work for had one as a present from her daughter-in-law’s parents. It is one of the highly ornamentally, ridiculously ruffled types you often see in florist shops. We popped it in the garden in the expectation of it seeing the rest of the year out and then disappearing. In actual fact it has made an excellent garden plant; slowly increasing in size year on year and reliable putting on a spectacular show often into November. Who would have thought?! It’s made me want to try a few in my garden. I’m quite taken by ‘Marion’ so perhaps that’s one to put on the shopping list.

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    1. Chrysanths have a colour quality that’s all their own and that seems to appeal to me more as I get older. Is that weird? I’m slightly concerned that I may be over stuffing the garden with late season plants to the detriment of mid season when I’m much more likely to be out there enjoying it, not to mention getting garden visitors. That’s interesting about the flouncy variety being a good doer, you see extraordinary displays of extraordinary blooms at flower shows, it makes you wonder how many would be good garden plants and whether anyone has tried.

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  3. The winds played around here too, and it certainly has tested certain plants. Your camelia is a ‘picture’, thanks for sharing.

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      1. Neither do I but we have a large evergreen oak outside our boundary which is great at filtering North and East winds and has the added bonus of sounding like crashing waves.

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  4. This camellia flower is really beautiful. This is perhaps the first photo of this flower ever posted and you have succeeded perfectly. Hope they smell good and last a long time.
    Another plant that you presented that I like a lot (and that I have not bought yet) is the Haknoechloa.

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    1. It almost never occurs to me to smell Camellia flowers since most of them have no scent. I have just been downstairs to sniff it and it too has none. It’s flowering extremely early for what I assume is a japonica variety, though it has been in my tunnel, then glasshouse. Hakonechloa is my favourite grass, no contest.

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  5. Those stripey markings on the camellia are lovely, what a special flower. I am just starting to realise that fuchsias could be a godsend for parts of my garden, if I could only keep the dog out of the bed. Hoping to get some rooted cuttings from shoots he has brushed off the plant…

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      1. Huh, that is interesting. Always happy to see another female Nobel winner! Pet subjects are very good things too, and one which the internet facilitates, in my opinion. Deep dives into strange and small areas — nothing like it! About dogs and gardens, the best said is nothing…

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  6. That is one very pretty Camellia. Will you be trying to get cuttings from it? The Hak Mac photo is excellent, those ‘flowers’ are very difficult to see – I had to look closely at mine before I realised it is also flowering!

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    1. I will need to grow the Camellia a bit bigger before I can take cuttings. It would be good to get it into nursery production, a requirement for registering it as a variety. I know a man who might take it on.

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  7. What were chrysanthemums before they were garden plants? They are used like annuals here, but can be perennial. Mine live for several years at my former home in town. It annoys me that they are not allowed to last so long in other gardens. There are a few white chrysanthemums here that came from the chapel, where they were left behind after weddings. Some were already dried and very dead by the time I found and removed them. Others get brought here, cut back, and then returned to a landscape as they recover and bloom.

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    1. I’ve mainly thought of them as being grown for cut flower under glass. I think that’s the niche they mainly filled when I was young, but whether they fell out of fashion or heated glass became uncompetitive compared to importing them from warmer climates I couldn’t tell you. I know that if you go to flower shows here there are still one or two producers who stage extraordinary displays of cut blooms and sprays. But are they grown under cover just to protect the blooms? Are the blooms only the size they are because they’re grown under cover and disbudded? Would they grow fine outside with smaller blooms that might spoil in inclement weather? Are there several different types of Chrysanths, some better for outside than others? What happened to Koreans? So many questions that I think I might once have known the answer to and if I’m honest, don’t care very much about because I just want a few for late flower in the garden, which I now have, and probably won’t get more.

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      1. Well, of course, they are grown as cut flowers as well, and used to be one of the more important cut flower crops in Santa Cruz and San Mateo County. The cultivars are generally distinct to the particular function. I mean that some cultivars were developed for cut flowers, some were developed for ‘potted plants’, and some were developed for home gardens. Of course, many cultivars can function differently than intended, or just work out that way incidentally. For example, the ‘potted plants’ that I remove from the chapel eventually get planted out into the landscapes somewhere. Also, many, or most of those that are grown as cut flowers, can perform very differently with either disbudding or pinching. I remember that, back in the 1980s, some cut flower cultivars were grown both as single stems and as sprays. They got disbudded to produce big solitary blooms, or pinched to produce many smaller blooms. Since I do not grow them as cut flowers in my own garden, I just let them do what they want, and then shear them back after bloom.

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      2. I imagine your climate gives you a bit more leeway with growing indoor varieties outside, to the point of blurring whatever distinction exists. I think I’m just starting to cotton on to one of their drawbacks, that for a plant that starts flowering in late October, it needs good light all the way through the growing season when it has little ornamental value. So what do I grow in front of them for the summer that will screen them but not significantly shade them?

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      3. I do not know. I never gave it much though. Mine got cut back at the end of winter, so that they would develop new growth. I really did not notice what they did while they grew, because they were mostly obscured by nasturtium. By the end of summer, they became more prominent, just prior to bloom. They probably would have bloomed better if not obscured and partly shaded by nasturtium.

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  8. I’ve not grown hardy chrysanthemums before, so it was interesting to see yours. Marion is a stunning looking flower, but the other two are very nice too. I was listening to Sarah Raven’s podcast this morning and she mentioned growing hardy chrysanths as cut flowers. She leaves them in the garden until the weather gets too poor, and then brings them into the greenhouse where they will flower until the end of November. I’m not very interested in cut flowers myself though and wondered how long they will continue flowering for if left outside.

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    1. You prompted me to check in the HPS booklet on Hardy Garden Chrysanthemums, which at £7.50 is a good, information packed resource. However, in the front of it the author does a few acknowledgements, one of which is for Dr Andrew Ward, who runs https://norwellnurseries.co.uk/ and holds a dispersed National Collection of Hardy Garden Chrysanths, many of which are in his nursery list. Mercifully it’s in Newark, a reasonably safe 297 miles away. I suspect that the plants Sarah Raven is growing will be the so called florists Chrysanths, if she’s bringing them in. I suspect the thing about the longevity of garden varieties comes down to variety and weather. I will take note in respect of the varieties I have and mention it in a saturday six at some point.

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  9. Oh gosh! Hopefully the Indigofera will recover! What a pity it was damaged. I particularly like the photo of the grass (it’s name is a mouthful) and the lovely contrast of the darker seed heads against the leaves.

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