Six on Saturday – 28/5/2022

Our first opening of the summer is on 24th June, which is not very far away, and if I was looking for a single word to describe the state of the place at the moment it would be ‘messy’. It never is a tightly controlled and manicured garden, but the informality level peaks around now with all the self sown stuff growing where it put itself and muscling out anything that gets in the way. In the background, waiting to take over when the self sowers are gone, are Penstemons and Dahlias, various annuals and miscellaneous other stuff, all of which seems to be dragging its feet and not remotely far enough on to fill the spaces that will appear in the next three to four weeks.

Look out the window and you will sea masses of Aquilegia, foxgloves and Geranium palmatum. Look a little closer and there are several rather lovely plants doing their thing.

One.
None more so than this orchid. This was never planted; it appeared in the middle of something else and something else has obligingly died and been forgotten. Whether it is a seedling from one of my other orchids or came in very small and unnoticed on the something else plant I have no idea. I’ve been studying my orchid book and have very tentatively identified it as a hybrid between Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii and Southern Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza praetermissa. It’s currently 15 inches tall but looks like it will get taller. It is in full sun and in a place where it will get rather dry, so I’d better make sure to water it a bit if it’s really wanting marshy ground.

Two.
Paeonia ‘Barzella’. I’d hankered after intersectional peonies for years before eventually succumbing to a couple a couple of years ago. This is the first bloom, one of two on the plant, though the other has been nobbled a few inches below the bud and is opening more slowly.

Three.
Yes, a tulip, just one, quite small, unexceptional except for its lateness. Not quite harking back to 1637 and the peak of tulip mania but this is Tulipa sprengeri ‘Trotter’s Form’ which I bought, in a moment of weakness, from Cotswold Garden Flowers. It came, one bulb in a small pot, with a seed head attached, which I let ripen and sowed the seeds; they germinated this spring. There will be multitudes, maybe.

Four.
Disporum longistylum BSWJ2859, over five feet tall inclined to topple if not supported, with small green flowers. An aquired taste you might be thinking, subtle to the point of vanishing. Let me give you part of Crûg’s description: “A Chinese species that has taken a pride of place in our walled garden for many years, drawing much comment and admiration.” So there! They’re going to be at Tregrehan Plant Fair tomorrow with lots of plants in similar vein.

Five.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, a dumpy little Alstroemeria that was the only one of its flavour left in the garden centre last year and didn’t have a label. I did a careful search on the internet and worked out what it is, wrote the name down on a piece of paper. It’s here on my desk, along with hundreds of other bits of paper. If I find it I’ll come back and add the name later. I wonder if I labelled the plant? (pause while I go and check) nope, that would have been too sensible. (I found it! Alstroemeria Princess Kate (‘Zaprikate’PBR) (Princess Series), aka Colorita Kate))

Six.
As I mentioned at the top, it’s the season when our garden is briefly taken over by anarchic self sowers and it seems a little unfair not to feature any of them, so I won’t. Instead, here is a white foxglove growing in my fruit cage on my allotment. It’s doing the cultivated foxglove thing of having flowers all round the stem and the effect is very fine. I meant to collect seed from it last year and didn’t, so this is either its second year or it has self seeded true. I’m starting to work foxgloves, and Verbascum, into my winter cover crop mixture. The odd one will get left to flower and seed, the rest cut at ground level in spring.

That’s a pleasingly mixed bag for a Saturday six, if I say so myself. Now I need to get it posted and get out there to do some work. Weeds to pull, plants to plant, watering, watering, watering. Holding a garden on the lip of the abyss of chaos takes a lot of work. Coffee first though, and plan my day. Good thing I don’t have to go to work, let alone run around the countryside. You can see it better at walking pace.
There are 20 comments already on the Propagators post, I’m lagging well behind the other SoS elves.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 28/5/2022

  1. I have the same kind of wild orchid that appeared in my garden. I identified it as Dactylorhiza maculata. There shouldn’t be much difference with yours. Mine has a lighter colour but the dots are more spaced out on the leaves. I will post a photo on Twitter tomorrow

    Like

    1. I have another plant which I believe to be D. maculata. It seems that even in the wild hybrids are common, so even more likely in garden plants. My D. maculata is not in flower yet. The spur on the flower is distinctive, according to the book.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. What is really puzzling me is whether it is flowering for a second year or is a seedling from last year’s plant. If it is, it’s made a mighty big plant in one short season. There are purples next to it and I’m tempted to remove them to increase the chances of self pollinated seed, assuming that’s how it works.

      Like

      1. I have to say I took out the purple Digitalis purpurea in the vicinity of my D.purpurea ‘Alba’ forms only on Friday as I do every year; like you I want to keep the strain pure, and I rarely succeed! But last year bought a new ‘Alba’ form to up my chances, and it has self-seeded; but yours looks a different plant and a bred upgrade. I agree it could be in its second year.

        Like

  2. Lovely orchid, whatever it’s name might be. I was thinking about you earlier as my Bletilla striata ‘Alba’ is almost open, I think you have one too? You can’t beat a white foxglove and the little mystery alstromeria a beauty, well rescued that man!

    Like

  3. The white foxglove is gorgeous. I only have the pink-purple ones that come in from the lanes. I’d like to try some cultivars, but they’d probably die on me! The little red tulip is a gem. I hope my species ones have self-seeded. Perhaps I ought to have grabbed some and sowed it myself.

    Like

    1. My Tulipa sylvestris all have big fat seed pods, which is encouraging, but I wouldn’t give much for the chances of them getting to flowering size left to self sow in the garden. I’ll collect some and let some drop. If T. sprengeri produces more seed I will collect all of it.

      Like

    1. The foxglove is a real puzzle, a white one or an all round the stem purple would have been surprising, to get both, with the nearest gardens half a mile away and the only nearby foxgloves the standard purple is a mystery.

      Like

      1. Thank you for the offer, but I should not add any more foxglove to our landscapes, and I will not likely grow any at home. It is certainly tempting though. I like foxglove even with spots, so a plain white sort would be RAD!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s always a delight when something appears unexpectedly and your orchid is no exception. I like it’s spotty leaves too. Lovely about the tulip as well. I hope you get lots of new plants.

    Like

  5. I know we don’t have to go to work, but that used to be my excuse for not keeping the garden in pristine condition! Never mind. Another interesting Six-on-Saturday, I like the small alstromeria, I’ve not seen that before. Meanwhile, do you know why my tamarisk has not flowered properly for the last couple of years? It is a big tree but, apart from removing dead twigs a few times a year, I don’t do anything else to it. It had been perfect for over 20 years since we moved in.

    Like

    1. According to Bean, Tamarisk grow wild in saline soils and take some of it up, which gives them a degree of protection against water loss. In normal, non-saline soil they are more vulnerable to drying out without that protection. So it may be that yours has suffered from dry conditions some time in the last few years; it can take plants a couple or more years of more even moisture to fully recover.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Jim. Looking back at last year’s photos, it wasn’t as bad as this year but still not the full “feathers”. It does need a lot of tidying but I will get round to that soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I wouldn’t mind an orchid like that appearing in my garden! It is beautiful! The Disporum is unusual, and I thought a little insignificant until you showed the close up of the flowers! They look quite delicate, and I do like their green colour.

    Like

  7. Loaded with surprises, your post is as entertaining as always, Jim. I enjoy Bartzella here and you’re spot on about patience required with young peonies, itohs and tree peonies in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Peversely when you have given another amazing collection of plants I will focus on the foxglove. I had a lovely collection of white ones but I am down to one now, those that I thought were white and moved to other parts ofthe garden have come up purple and now I see tell tale signs of dark patches on the stems. I will collect seed from the last white and try again. Your white foxglove looks splendidly happy at the allotment. I do also love the leaves of your orchid !

    Like

    1. I think I need to make sure plenty of the orchid’s seed drops to the ground around it, where hopefully there will be mycorrhizal fungi, then check carefully and frequently for seedlings. I want more, many more. Good luck with your foxglove, I can send you seed of mine but no doubt many of its progeny will be purple.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s