I imagine I’m not alone in putting my Saturday sixes together on the Friday, an arrangement that means this was written in one year to be published in the next. A 50:50 split between looking back and looking forward suggests itself but is not what’s on offer. It hasn’t been a great year so looking back lacks appeal but then again, a year ago any optimism that things were going to get better was short lived. That leaves the present, which is good since the brief for SoS is six things happening now, the problem being that scraping together six things at the end of December is a challenge. Here goes though.
The view. When we had the extension built it quickly became a regular thing to take this exact shot from the upstairs window. I used to centre it where the paths meet but the Yew tree now obscures that point and I have to guess where it is. I use my 10-18mm wide angle lens, fully open, so I get the same view every time. I shudder to think how many times I have taken the same shot. This version was taken yesterday, when it was dull, but not as dull as the day before. I took the picture without compensating for the bluish light, then did that on the computer. Switch between images and there’s an obvious difference but after a moment all I see are the colours in relation to each other within the picture. As ever, at this time of year, the Hak macs are all aglow.
Right up in the far corner, behind the bench to the left of the glasshouse, is Camellia ‘Show Girl’. There are three “girls”, ‘Flower Girl’ and ‘Dream Girl’ being the other two. All are hybrids between the autumn flowering C. sasanqua and a couple of forms of the large flowered, spring flowering C. reticulata. For my money ‘Show Girl’ is the best of them, flowering December to February with pink flowers 14cm across. Mine isn’t in the ideal spot, a bit too exposed, but it’s doing well so far.
Correa ‘Federation Bell’ is down near the house, atop a low wall where it gets plenty of sun and more wind than ideal. I included it in a six on 6th November when it first started flowering and it’s still going strong. Hopefully it has several weeks of display still to go, provided it survives any really cold weather that we get, and the wind that has been rocking it about alarmingly. This is its first winter in the garden and I’ve not grown it before so it’s an unknown as regards hardiness. I kept it in its original pot for a year, with no feed, to toughen it up a bit before I planted it early summer 2021.
I’m always pleased to see the reappearance of Cyclamen coum. These are well established now and are self seeding around. They’re growing in a mix with ivy and Honesty, both of which need keeping in check to stop them overwhelming the Cyclamen. The foliage of Cyclamen repandum is starting to emerge too, so they will extend the cyclamen season into the spring.
I grow three forms of ginger lilies, Hedychium coccineum ‘Assam Orange’, H. ‘Stephen’ and H. ‘Tara’. All are reliably hardy and generally fully deciduous. ‘Stephen’ died down perhaps six weeks ago and I moved it to a better spot a couple of weeks back. ‘Assam Orange’ turned yellow and about a week ago the stems started snapping off from the rhizomes, they’ve all gone now. ‘Tara’ is still green. I don’t think I’ve noticed such a difference in the past. I get the impression that if we don’t get frost it will stay green all winter, which I seem to remember them doing when I grew them in the nursery tunnels. ‘Tara’ has flowered and won’t flower again on the same shoots so they have to die at some point.
Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’. I haven’t kept a close enough watch to be sure but I’m pretty sure these have been in flower all year, albeit in the tunnel last winter. I grow them in 20 litre pots which I set in the ground and in the spring I put out three pots to replace the tulips I grew last year. They had lots of stems and had started to flower, which they did for months, but the new growth they tried to produce was slugged relentlessly in the summer. I grew three more pots of it which carried things through until now. It really is in a class of its own for flower power. I have a couple more forms which I’m starting to treat in the same way, growing them in big pots that will be sunk in the ground where and when they are needed.
Not bad for New Year’s day. It’s mild; grey but brighter than yesterday. I’ll pop out for a mooch about later but I doubt there’ll be any gardening done. There is at least a sense that the trajectory is upwards now, which is good. Don’t forget to check in with the hungover Mr P, see what he and his followers have to kick off the new year.