Six on Saturday – 8/1/2022

We had one frosty night this week, then the rain rolled in again. It blackened some hydrangea leaves and Hedychium ‘Tara’ is looking less chipper, though still standing. As far as things happening, there really isn’t anything new, what I put in last week is still true and this week’s six could have been done a week ago but weren’t. My current most tangible way of marking time is to check the progress of the Webb Telescope deployment, which I do too often.

There are signs of life in the garden, in the shape of bulbs coming up, though nothing to match the two daffodil flowers I saw by the roadside on a walk earlier in the week. Amaryliis are leading, leafy clumps six inches or more tall. Crocosmia, Camassia, bluebells, snowdrops and crocus are just showing. I’ll start with another.

One.
Nerine bowdenii. I moved all my Nerines last spring and they weren’t happy about it. They didn’t produce much foliage and there were barely any flowers. I thought I might be going to lose a lot of the bulbs but it seems not. Lots of new shoots are beginning to emerge. At some point I think I’ll give them just a little fertiliser to help them along. I’d been making plans for alternate plants but now I need alternate plans for the alternate plants.

Two
Crassula ovata. This is making a reappearance since it’s now in full flower and when I posted it in early December, just starting to open, it drew a lot of comment. Sue painted the back wall of the porch and now when we go out there it doesn’t smell too good. I don’t want to blame the Crassula but I think it is possibly almost as bad as the paint. Looks good though.

Three.
I was given a Primula a couple of years back, mainly because the giver thought it was ‘Wanda’ and I thought it wasn’t but wanted to put them side by side so the difference would be clear to see. It’s safe to say that at least one of them isn’t ‘Wanda’. The pretender is lighter, redder, larger and earlier. One of the plants of it is producing frilly flowers, which sounds quite interesting but I suspect is not at all a good thing. Should I dig it up and destroy it? Sterilise the soil? Is it something nasty? If so, what? I need to get a decent picture or two and send them to the RHS to scrutinise.

Four.
Polystichum proliferum is a very handsome fern of the “looks like dozens of others” type. What makes it interesting is that the “proliferum” epithet refers to its habit of producing young plantlets at the tips of its fronds. Sometimes these touch down naturally and root, sometimes they need a little help. I will be giving these some help in coming days.

Five.
Coronilla valentina ‘Lauren Stevenson’. A selection made by Cotswold Garden Flowers, which I bought along with some Chrysanthemums a year or so back. It has flowered continuously and is beautifully scented, but it doesn’t seem very well rooted and has been rocking and rolling in recent winds, more of which are due tomorrow. I’ve put in canes and tied it up, I’m not ready to lose it.

Six.
Which brings me to my Camellia of the week. Most Camellias have no scent. A good proportion of the autumn flowering sasanqua types are odorous but it is not really a perfume, though it isn’t unpleasant. a few species have good scent and one in particular, C. lutchuensis, has been used quite a bit to raise spring flowering, sweetly scented hybrids. C. ‘Fairy Blush’ is one such, raised by Mark Jury in New Zealand as a chance seedling of C. lutchuensis. As I recall, Abby Jury somewhere described not registering it for breeders rights as one of their biggest mistakes as it has become one of their most popular varieties, not least because it seems immune to petal blight. I sometimes get asked to recommend smallish camellias; well here’s one. I bought it in 2020, along with C. lutchuensis, the species, and both are still in pots, so I have brought them under cover to protect their roots from frost.

It’s raining. I have a builder coming to look at the drive in five minutes. It’ll like be the only time I go out today. The Prop has done his thing (six post) and is off to do his other thing (running in the rain). If only.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 8/1/2022

  1. Do you peg down the young plants on the Polystichum proliferum? I have quite a big one at present and it fell off the parent plant. I’ve planted it and hope it grows away.

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    1. The alternative to spinning is falling over. The alternative to Nerines would have involved Hesperaloe parviflora which Fred sent me seed of from France a couple of years back. I have so few places that get sun most of the day and too many plants that demand just that.

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  2. It will be interesting to hear the news back on the ‘Wanda’? I sent you. I ought to take some pictures too. I’ve not seen any frilly ones. Whatever I have they are an excellent plant, and bulk up and divide well. My only wish would be to find one the slugs left alone.

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    1. The ‘Wanda’ you sent me is identical to the ‘Wanda’ that Sue brought down from Scotland 35 years ago and makes me more certain than ever that it is the real thing. It is close by the frilly thing, which is part of why I am nervous about it being something nasty. It’s doing well but isn’t flowering yet. I’m going to try nematodes on slugs this year, see how that works.

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      1. My plant came from Northumberland via a friend whose father grew it there since before the war. What would send a primula frilly?

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      2. Most likely virus; possibly nematodes, was my thinking. My parents had ‘Wanda’ as an edging in their Surrey garden back in the 1960’s. It’s probably happier in the north, Primulas don’t really like hot dry summers.

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  3. My free standing Coronilla out in the front is prone to rocking in the wind, a few of the main stems toppling over from the base come spring some years. I risked chopping it right back to the ground one spring (not something the books advise) but thankfully it recovered well. I really like the photo of the mini forest of Nerines.

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    1. The base of the Coronilla has a big lump just below ground and seemingly a single root coming out of the bottom of it. I suspect it produced a poor root system when propagated, it looks like a lump of callus. It’s something Camellias do quite a lot. I must try to get another plant of it going.

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  4. Mmm… that frilly primula does look quite odd. I had one a very similar colour but got fed up of all the munching and am really not such a fan of the gaudy ones so I have removed most of my primulas from the garden. I do like the common primroses. I wonder if they get eaten as much?

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    1. I have a lot of common primroses too and the slugs go for all of them. I’m not keen on the really gaudy ones but have a lot of primroses that have hybridised with the coloured ones and flower in a range of dusky pinks and purples. The yellow ones seem to hold their own as a proportion, which is good, they’re probably my favourite.

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  5. I’m very taken with the Polystichum. I’ve been taking more of an interest in ferns generally of late. I am currently negotiating with other family members about taking over a patch of garden for my various Corydalis and Dicentras; many ferns compliment them perfectly as they are later into growth and last well into the winter. Anyway, the negotiation is ongoing!

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  6. The Nerines will hopefully give you a lovely show of colour. They look healthy. The Crassula looks spectacular in flower. I can not recall my one having used unpleasant odour, although it is out in the garden and not near the house. The fern is lovely. I came across another fern that produced tiny plant let’s along the spine of the plant, but I can not recall it’s name.

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    1. Polystichum setiferum and some of its forms produce plantlets along the midrib. Woodwardia does it in various ways. I’ll smell the crassula when the paint smell is completely gone, I don’t want to accuse it falsely.

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  7. Camellia lutchuensis gained a minor following. Only a few knew of it and wanted it, but they ‘really’ wanted it. I seriously do not remember growing cultivars of it though. I know only the species name. Now you got me wondering. Ours must have been some sort of cultivar or cultivars.

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    1. I have Minato-no-akebono, Koto-no-kaori, Quintessence, Fairy Blush, Sweet Emily Kate, Cinnamon Scentsation and the straight species. Two from Japan, two from New Zealand, an Australian and an American. Cinnamon Cindy became quite popular here.

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      1. All together, they sound like ‘the Aventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, with a few friends. I could barely keep the species name straight. We called it Camellia lutchensis (without the ‘u’) because it was easy to pronounce.

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  8. Nerines usually take a year or two to settle in when you move them. I love Coronilla too, mine blooms on and off all year. Lovely to see your camellias and that adorable primrose.

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    1. That’s reassuring to know about the Nerines, they came from my sister in northern Scotland and I would hate to have to tell her they’d died. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get a Coronilla, I’ve always liked them and never grown one.

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  9. Your camellia Fairy blush looks to be a winner! How old is your Crassula? mine is so small compared to yours! I’m impressed with all your Nerine bowdenii shoots, they are going to be fantastic later in the year.

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    1. We inherited the Crassula from the old man next door when he died several years ago. He’d had it many many years. Hopefully the Nerines will be good this year, they were dismal last year.

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  10. Have you persuaded to me to try again with nerines? I hope yours come good and maybe I will start again with a few more bulbs. Coronilla I do not know but then you are always sending new names my way. It looks lovely and I hope it is well secured now!

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