Six on Saturday – 22/1/2022

Thursday night was proper cold, a real shame because there are a few more Camellias starting to flower now and it has toasted them. Fortunately I took a few pictures on Thursday afternoon, having seen the forecast. It’s what would have been happening Saturday had the weather been kinder.

Camellia grijsii. As in many plant groups, step back from modern hybrids to the species they were derived from and you get back a simplicity and charm that can sometimes seem like a bit of relief. Not that C. grijsii has been used for breeding in any variety I’ve ever encountered. Still, it has small, single, white and very fragrant flowers on an open bush with small leaves.

Another Camellia, and a repeat of one I included on the New Year’s Day post. It only had a couple of blooms open then, by thursday this week it was a picture, now the flowers are turning brown and hanging like rags. There are more buds to come, but I’ve seen the best of what this year has to offer. I took a picture on thursday, but half of it is in shade from the fence, these were taken on wednesday. It’s ‘Show Girl’, a sasanqua x reticulata hybrid.

I’ve got tulips starting to come up. I’m trying again with the species to see if they’ll stick around rather than disappearing after a year. Then I have three pots of ‘Jimmy’. There might be a lack of imagination in evidence there. There’s certainly a lack of weeding, perhaps you’ll believe me if I say they were frozen in the ground.

Clematis make me nervous. Last year I chopped my viticellas back hard in January and when they tried to grow the slugs had other ideas. Leaving it later, which I think you’re meant to do, means a lot of fresh new growth gets hacked off. This is ‘Polish Spirit’, growing like mad. If I leave it until February to March it’ll have a foot or more of new growth. I see the Prop is planning on doing his next week; I think I’ll follow his lead.

Red tussock grass, Chionochloa rubra. The very old plant we had of this was getting too big and blocking the path beside it. It set very little viable seed but I did eventually manage to get a few going and after three seasons this one is beginning to make its mark. I just looked it up on Cotswold Garden Flowers and I can’t better Bob Brown’s description of it: “A constant pleasure. Never untidy, moves like a ballerina and shines.”

I’ll finish off with another New Zealander, Astelia chathamica. In all the many years I’ve grown this my enthusiasm for it has never wavered. It may be at its best in low winter sun or it may just look better than ever because of the lack of competition, either way, it’s a winner.

We’re getting our front driveway replaced which has set off a chain of discussions about fencing and gates and how much we want to see of our neighbours (and vice versa). Generally, less is better. The work isn’t going to get done until March but I’m already getting stressed about the inevitable disruption. I must get this posted and go have another contemplative look at it all, in vain hope of a lightbulb moment.
I didn’t get an email notification of the Propagator’s latest missive, but he’s done one and it’s here and it’s not to be missed. Have a good week.

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 22/1/2022

  1. Hope your drive way saga resolves itself. With all your changes last year and then this one, your garden is going to go through a few fine years of settled development, but I am sure you will then be able to concentrate on the plants. It is always lovely to admire your camelias.


    1. Works like the drive always impact on other areas, so the job grows. It seems sensible to do the fence, and the gate has to be replaced. What next? I just hope it all gets finished in March, I don’t want it running into April, too much is happening by then.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In the park where I did last week’s pictures there is a bush of Camellia ‘Show Girl’ that is around 15 feet tall and gets covered with flowers like that. It really is an astonishing sight bang in the middle of winter.


      1. We had a lovely snow storm a few days ago. I like the garden to be covered in snow so that I can’t see anything ragged there. It’s bare again, so I’m going to cover my eyes.


  2. Show girl looks like a small one. I’m looking for a camellia that I will plant in the spring, which will flower in the winter ( Nov to Feb) and which doesn’t climb too much, that is to say 1.50m – 2m maximum because I have an acer palmately next to where I want to plant it and a fothergilla major. They have to live together in a small bed near my terrace.
    I’m going to take a look at the Stervinou website 😅. I didn’t know the astelia ( it looks like a phormium)


    1. There’s nothing small about ‘Show Girl’. The Mt Edgcumbe plant is over 4m with flowers 14cm across. Almost all the autumn flowerers are finished by Christmas and most of the spring flowerers don’t start until the new year. The x williamsii varieties like November Pink cover the right time span but get too big. ‘Sweet Jane’, ‘Fairy Blush’, ‘Yoimachi’ might fit the bill.

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  3. Those fancy hybrids of Clematis are too sensitive to aridity here for us to bother with. Nurseries sell them anyway, and then sell more to replace those that do not survive. There are at least two at work that bloom in spring, but then do not do much more until the following spring. Yet, they seem to perform well everywhere else, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. I would guess that they would be happy in your regions.


    1. I’ve often wondered how many varieties have been put on the bonfire by nurseries like Nuccio’s because they didn’t perform in their conditions but that would have been fabulous here, or in New Zealand or wherever. And the opposite of course. I’ve come across two Australian raised varieties here where the flowers simply wont open; utterly useless, but presumably they don’t do that in a hotter climate.

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      1. I suspect that most breeding is done where the parents do well already. Although there must be some breeds that get discarded because they do not perform well where they happen to be developed, there are enough that perform well.


      2. There are probably way too many in truth so maybe we should be glad for reasons to winnow them down some. The ICS are responsible for registering new varieties and seem happy to let pretty much anything through.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. a lovely description of the grass and yes those clematis are forging ahead. I’ve done a couple but two left to do which will get the chop this week. Yours have put on more growth than those here – testament to west country mildness.


    1. Yes, it’s a balmy 7°C here this morning, and very grey. I did a bit of tidying up this morning and may do more later but it’s not pleasant staying out there very long. Supposed to be warmer at the end of the week.


  5. I’m still struggling with WordPress but I will try again. Your camellias are a lovely splash of colour at this time of year. Has the pink one survived the recent frosts? I have found a couple of tulips poking through the soil this week, but unlike that son-in-law of mine, I have planted only 20 or so. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!


    1. The pink Camellia is now a brown Camellia, though it’s slowly turning pink again. Might have to do some deadheading. Tomorrows post will be running late as I haven’t started yet and we’re going out in a minute.


  6. Yet another reply disappears into wherever they disappear into ! I’m hoping this works….I think I’ve said that before. Anyway, your camellias are lovely at this time of year. Has the pink one kept its flowers after the recent cold nights? We are contemplating what to do with our front garden. I’m afraid I can’t get very enthusiastic about it although I enjoy looking at other well kept front gardens. Keep us posted with your progress there.


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