Six on Saturday – 23/7/2022

We woke to light rain this morning, which lasted long enough to lay the dust. Might freshen things up a bit I suppose. I’m doing a themed six this week, reflecting on fillers, the plants shoved in to fill gaps left by the demise of the early stuff.

One.
Zinnias. I only grew these because someone passed on to us some of the free packets of seed that come with Gardener’s World magazine. I sowed them back in April with no thought of what I was going to do with them. Eventually a space presented itself when a monster foxglove finished. The Zinnias needed a home so in they went. Zinnia ‘Jazz’, mixed colours it turns out. Very mixed. There’s a sweet shop vibe about the colour mix that I’m not blown away by. They’re the sort of thing children would love, I think. I know nothing about children. The plants are stiff and no matter how careful I was to avoid rows, looked like they were in rows. I doubt I’ll grow them again.

Two.
Cosmos. This is my third year of Cosmos, year one having yielded about three plants and one flower. Last year was good, though an early sown lot only grew half the height they were meant to. This year I have plenty of growth but less bloom than I would like. I like Cosmos, they blend in effortlessly and keep on going for months. I tried yellow ones this year, some from bought seed, some from liberated seed. I ended up with four plants from the latter, none from the former.

Three.
Marigolds, French type, variety ‘Bolero’. I added these to a small seed order from Real Seeds, more to make up the order to something sensible than anything else. I was mainly intending to dot them around my allotment, which I did. However, a tray of them came ready as another gap needed filling so in they went to join Dahlias and Eucomis. I’m not sure they are of a colour that would ever go with anything, they’d probably work best in isolation. Bright though, and flowery. I probably won’t be allowed to grow them again, even if I wanted to. There are three yellow Cosmos flowers in there if you look hard enough.

Four.
Sunflowers. I think the mistake I made was to go for a subdued colour type, they’re mostly so subdued they look like black holes. Coarse, falling over, disappointing flower display. I shan’t be repeating them. They look like something shoved into a gap.

Five.
Penstemons. A bit more trouble, in that we Sue has raised them from cuttings but worth the effort. They blend in perfectly in almost any company and flower their heads off. I prefer the smaller flowered, finer leaved forms but they’re all good. They’ve slightly gone over and I’m dead heading in hopes of another flush.

Six.
Fuchsia gall mite. I’m about to load up the car and take several bags of heavily infected Fuchsias to the council tip. The Fuchsias have had a terrible year, with heavy damage that I initially thought was capsid (some probably was) but turned out to be flea beetle. And tortrix moth. Now many of the damaged shoot tips are going down with gall mite. Depressing, but there probably isn’t much point struggling on with very susceptible varieties.

The Propagator is off on his hols. Expect his six next week from a guest house in Maidstone, or a tent beside the M20. In Cornwall the locals hunker down and seek out the less well known places when the schools break up. Well, I do, most people are vastly more gregarious than me.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 23/7/2022

  1. Re gall mite: we had a bad attack of gall mite on daylilies last year and a light infection this year. They can destroy the flowerbuds and flowers but are easily removed and that helps curtail the spread. I think we are on top of it this year.

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    1. I thought for a few years that we were on top of Fuchsia gall mite but it’s been getting much worse in the last couple of seasons. It seems that some varieties are much more susceptible than others so I think the worst will have to go. If I keep having to remove the shoot tips they’re not going to flower so there is little point having them.

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      1. There are always new plants to try and were it not for the loss of a great many over the years there are many I would never have gotten round to growing. Struggling on with something that is not thriving is a loss to the garden too. The tragedy is that so many of the problems are self inflicted, newly introduced pests and diseases, climate change.

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    2. I was informed by a twitterer that fuchsias have mites and hemerocallis have gall midge. I hope this information is correct. I have fuchsia and hemerocallis and so of course I have both gall mite and gall midge. I hope I am on top of the gall midge and I keep cutting the tops of my fuchsia.

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    1. Apart from gall mite, vine weevil, fuchsia flea beetle, capsid, tortrix moth and the occasional elephant hawk moth they’re no trouble at all! And Fuchsia rust. Slugs never touch them.

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  2. I’m with you on the Zinnias, too stiff and formal for me. I’m also with you on staying at home in the school holidays, Devon is like Cornwall, crowded for the next 6 weeks!

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  3. Like you I won’t be going far now until September and that will be if I ever get my car back! I actually like Zinnias but have only managed to raise some last year and they were so few it was hardly worth bothering with, plus S&S love them. I think the best place I have seen them is in the Lost Gardens of Heligan where they were quite impressive.

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  4. I am not so keen on zinnias either; but I thought that everyone else is. They are SO popular. To me, they look like cartoon flowers that Mickey Mouse picks for Minnie Mouse.

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  5. There are some lovely combinations in the your photos, particularly the ones with the Cosmos and Penstemons. You may not like the zinnias enough to grow them again, but you have made a lovely collage with their photos.

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    1. It’s all about context I suppose, put them in the right setting and they could be fabulous. I’m just clueless about what that would be. I try not to be cautious and hope for happy accidents. There’s always another camera angle.

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  6. Well, I like your “fillers”, even the zinnia. I haven’t grown fuchsias this year, apart from my perennial “hedge” variety. I’m hoping that doesn’t get any of the common fuchsia problems. Meanwhile, Mr Propagator and all the family arrived safely yesterday, although I don’t know how long it took them.

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  7. I feel like the pests are gaining the upper hand. I’d got rid of my infected Fuchsias before I read about Amblyseius andersonii as a gall mite control. I don’t know anyone who’s tried it though.

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    1. I’ve just been looking at suppliers and It’s more expensive than I am willing to pay for something that is seemingly largely untried. It sounds like it’s a naturally occurring predator anyway, so hopefully it will find the food source I’m cultivating for them and come to stay.

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  8. Just back from Cornwall – sorry! It was busy even before the schools broke up. Yes, those free zinnias are rather formal. I’ve had more success with Purple Prince which branch out more and grow quite tall.

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