Six on Saturday – 26/2/2022

I spent a good deal of yesterday carrying on the clean up after storm Eunice a week ago, mercifully in someone else’s garden, not my own. Looking carefully around the other trees in her garden I spotted signs of heave around another big tree, leaning towards and well within reach of her neighbour’s house. It’ll have to go. Fortunately there don’t seem to be any strong winds in the forecast for the next couple of weeks.

What a pleasure to have a bit of sun and no wind. Hopefully we’ll get more of the same today and I can get a bit done, repairing storm damage here perhaps, and moving plants around. I had a look round yesterday and came up with this bunch:

Scilla, or Chionodoxa as was. Oddly, I have one plant in flower and the rest barely poking their noses above the soil. Looks like the slugs have found it and it’s not benefitting from safety in numbers.

Corydalis cheilanthifolia, although I’m bracing myself to be told the name has changed. One of my most satisfying self seeders; never too prolific and easy to pull out if it’s not wanted. Attractive in leaf and flower.

Hak mac haircut. Earlier in the week I decided the Hac maks had passed the point of being attractive to being messy. They were also beginning to shoot, especially ‘Aureola’. I took the shears to them. The first to break up was ‘All Gold’ and the last ‘Albostriata’, which also probably has the best winter colour.

Trachystemon orientalis is another of those not massively ornamental plants that nevertheless fills a gap when not much else is happening, and does so in conditions where most spring bulbs would struggle somewhat, like dry shade. It spreads quite quickly and I dug a lot of it out in the autumn but am glad I kept some.

Camellia time and this first one has been flowering in the greenhouse for the last month or so, providing a waft of scent every time I open the door. ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’ is a single flowered and more strongly scented mutation of ‘Cinnamon Cindy’, both originated by Dr William Ackerman in the USA. He stopped working on scented varieties and turned to raising hardy varieties after a series of cold winters in the late 1970’s. The scent derives from C. lutchuensis, which is borderline hardy even here.

I’m always impatient for the Camellias to open and this year they seem to be particularly slow, just like every other year. They mainly had the sense to wait until Eunice et al. had blown through. The pale ones are quickly ruined by wind damage so I’ve not done a close up picture. This is ‘Annette Carol’, which is probably not available to buy in the UK and hasn’t been since I retired.

Somewhere I have a list things I planned to do over the winter, written back in October or November. I must find it, if only to see how much still seems sensible. It’s a lovely day, I need to get on with things. I’ll be back to check on the rest when I’ve earned my first coffee. I see The Propagator is still referring to today as a late winter’s day rather than an early spring day, which I’m happy with, it takes the urgency off getting out there and doing stuff.

32 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 26/2/2022

  1. A scilla already in bloom… you’re lucky ! I sowed seeds last year with success ( from you or Gill?) and I hope to get my first flowers this spring. I haven’t dared to cut my grasses yet. I’m waiting for this little cold snap to pass.


  2. Looking forward to our Hac Macs in leaf again. As soon mine start to shed I cut them down as I end up having to pick up all the pieces from around the garden. Oh! Your camellias are delightful.


  3. Your little scilla reminds me that the time to visit Mount Usher Gardens in Co. Wicklow is upon me. There are carpets of blue from this little bulb every spring and it is just adorable. There’s a day out in front of me.


  4. I so agree about knowing that it’s late winter – I feel no pressure at all at the moment. Next Tuesday I’ll start to panic. A lovely six – particularly the camellias.


      1. We usually walk a mile or two before breakfast. John gets up much earlier than I do and sips on coffee. I wait to have coffee as dessert after breakfast. At least we all have it at some point!


  5. Sadly the slugs seem to have been taking a fancy to a lot of the early spring bulbs this year. I have never seen my Iris reticulata / histroides nibbled so badly before. Time to order some nematodes I think.


    1. Slugs were stopping my Nerines from getting going but two or three night-time forays has done the trick. Snowdrops didn’t fare well either. I’m planning on trying nematodes this year but was waiting for it to warm up just a bit more.


  6. I’m always so impressed by your camellias, Jim. Wish I could walk into that greenhouse and sniff your fragrant specimen on this wintry day. The before and after shot and toggle is something I hope to learn soon.


  7. Oh, I remember those cold winters in the Northeast in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was prior to the fear of global warming, when we were still afraid of the impending ice age. I was not aware that the cold weather killed off so many camellias though. Until the past several years, I was not aware that camellias are as popular there as they are.


    1. It seems unlikely many Camellias would have been killed in that it seems unlikely many would have been growing in the really cold areas. I have Ackerman’s book, “Beyond the Camellia Belt”, it’s an interesting read.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The color of the scilla is beautiful, and the Corydalis has appealing fern-like foliage. I also just cut the grasses back, though looking at your “after” photo, I may need to be more aggressive in the future.


    1. I’m not sure that Hakonechloa is typical of grasses; one of the reasons I like it so much is that, if you time it right, you can cut all of the previous years growth just above ground level before the new shoots are high enough to get caught. I don’t cut any other grass as hard, not that I have many, and some not at all.


  9. I tried to reply via Jon’s comments but it ended in the wrong place. Anyway, this week I can’t reach Sel and Thistles and Kiwis nor your site first go. The format of the reply box is different today so it should work. Camellias beautiful as always and that Scilla is a welcome different colour at this time of year. When we were in Cornwall in mid January, the Camellias at the hotel were just about to open out. They seemed slightly later than before but much earlier than in the Cotswolds.


    1. Result! It worked. The camellias seem to have opened very slowly this year, in early January it looked like it might be an early season but it seems to have hovered just below whatever temperature it takes for them to open up. I’m hoping for an explosion in the next couple of weeks, in time for the Rosemoor Spring Show on the 12th & 13th, where I’m judging.


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