Six on Saturday – 29/1/2022

Another drab winters day here but a bit less cold than it’s been. By the end of next week something might have changed out there but right now there’s no discernible difference from a week ago. I seem to have this notion in my head that for something to be “happening” it must have progressed in some small way from a week ago and on that basis, nothing is happening.
I’m going to do six evergreens, five of which have done nothing but be there for months. At this time of year it’s all they’re required to do. Even the pictures look a bit drab but that’s how it is, no crisp clear winter days here this week.

Ligustrum lucidum ‘Excelsum Superbum’. I don’t know how tall this is now, maybe 20 feet. Once upon a time it was a shrub; now there’s little doubt that it qualifies as a tree. I’m doing a talk to one of our local garden clubs about trees for small gardens in a couple of weeks time; it’ll get a mention. Evergreen, quite large and boldly variegated leaves that are at their best autumn and winter, flowers in late summer. There’s just the small matter of how long it takes to become a proper tree.

Ozothamnus hookeri. This is beside our front driveway and gradually encroaching to the point of being an obstruction to the business of reversing the car in our out. We’re getting the drive “done” in March so it will have to go. For years I have been trying to propagate it since I don’t want to lose it and didn’t know anyone else who grew it. I checked the propagator yesterday and it seems the latest batch of cuttings may be rooted, plus I now know someone who grows it. The parent plant can go, I have it covered.

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Elizabeth’. This will be of a similar height to the Ligustrum but still retains more of a shrubby feel. It must be something about the ratio of trunk to canopy that defines a tree, I’ve never been sure. Its particular merits: relatively hardy for a Pittosporum, comparatively large leaves with a bold variegation that gets pronounced pink tones in winter. Scented flowers, quite narrow upright habit. It has a bit of a lean, yet another example of a pot grown tree having a compromised root system. It’s beginning to sprout from the stem, I might start to think of cutting it down to those shoots in a year or two.

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’. At some point in the past this was cut of flush to the ground. It was growing under a big conifer and not enjoying it. Branches started dying and it looked miserable. I never dug the root out and after a year or two it started to make a comeback. What’s to say about it, what you see is what you get. I find it hard to get enthusiastic about and Sue has stayed my destructive hand more than once.

Euphorbia mellifera. What’s this, a sub-shrub perhaps. A year ago I included this with a few pictures showing the cycle of growth and chopping it gets. It was razed in July 2020 and will be again this summer, once it has flowered, which it didn’t in 2021. You can see a new set of stems beneath the main canopy and they will get left for a bit after I take the big stems down in May. A couple of months later they will go too, by which time there will be new shoots sprouting from the base to start the cycle again. It’s another plant that is too close to the path and has to be contained, but I think in this case it looks better for it. Unpruned they get very leggy.

Camellia ‘Minato-no-akebono’. This is the exception to the unchanged rule in that it has opened a few blooms in the last couple of days. This is a month or six weeks later than in some years. I moved the bush a couple of years back and it is still in recovery mode, not making much new growth. There’s quite a bit of bud though, opening to small single fragrant flowers. It’s now beside a path where we can get to them to smell them.

That’s yer lot. It’ll be February next week and I will start to maybe sow seeds and get the season properly kicked off. Don’t forget to check in with The Propagator to get links to the rest of the gang.

22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 29/1/2022

  1. For a moment then I thought we were going to be camellia-less. Phew! I am definitely going to get a pittosporum for the garden, we definitely need a bit of evergreen. I quite like the ozmanthus, does it flower well? Here is to less gloom in the coming days, although I am not hopeful. 🙂


    1. Ozmanthus must be a new hybrid. The Osmanthus barely flowers at all in my experience, probably would on a much older bush. The Ozothamnus gets plastered with whitish flowers each well under a millimeter wide but smelling strongly of honey. Sory to give you a scare with the Camellia, I’ll put it first next time.

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  2. I can see that my mellifera is going to get too big for its space, but hopefully following your pruning advice will help. It’s good to see the evergreens, they do their stuff in the background and deserve a turn in the limelight. I’m sure OTEG will be right back at you with some comment on new hybrids! I’ll just keep quiet!


  3. Pretty colours of the Osmanthusand and glad to see how my euphorbia mellifera will be in a few years. I’m already happy that it continues to grow after a first attempt failed years ago. I’ll follow your regular way of pruning it


  4. Pittosporum tenuifolium seems unduly happy there. I would not expect it to like the cooler and damp climate. The common sort makes a nice hedge here, but is susceptible to rot where it gets frequent irrigation. Large specimens in a formal row sometimes lean outward as their roots decay. I find that they look best if shorn from the beginning or not shorn at all. Once they take on a natural form, they do not like to be pruned back down.


    1. I don’t think that I’d treat it much different even if I had much more room. It’s appearance deteriorates rapidly after it has flowered. Maybe I’d cut it every three rather than two years.


  5. Goodness, I didn’t think Elizabeth grew so big. I hope mine doesn’t grow so huge, it hasn’t got space. I grow Osmanthus Goshiki for winter interest, I love the foliage.


    1. I think Elizabeth has probably reached maximum height at around 15-18 feet. I’ve cleared the lower branches to head height so I can grow things under it. Goshiki came back up right at the edge of the path after it was cut down, not an ideal location.


  6. The pittosporum you have is more interesting than mine with its variegated leaves and pink edging. A few weeks ago I showed how a trial pruning last year resulted in some bushy growth near the main stem. I think I will repeat that over all the plant. Pleased you finished with another camellia.


    1. ‘Elizabeth’ is a very good Pittosporum. I remember when it was introduced. We bought 25 liners from New Zealand in 1995, then 75 more in 1997. Within a year or two we could get UK grown liners, and did. Those first 25 would have been among the first in the UK. We were buying with no knowledge of how it would grow here; it’s quite pleasing that it has stood up so well. Our plant might well have been from one of those first two batches.

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