I should’ve kept my mouth shut! On Thursday night we had the earliest frost here in 25 years! Well the car roofs (seems it’s “roofs” now and not “rooves”) were looking very crystallised at 6.30 on Friday morning and the front lawns were rather white. The thermometer at the front of the house recorded a minimum temperature of 3C (front of house faces west). But it was very different at the back where the minimum temperature recorded was 6C and the lawn looked quite green a few minutes after 6.30. Such are the mysteries of the climate. But not to worry; tender stuff was already cossetted in the greenhouse in which a minimum temperature of 10C is maintained as the heater thermostat doesn’t seem to work properly below that temperature and anything can happen if I set it to 5C.
But the days are a bit on the chilly side so I’ve kept my clothes on this week and returned to a current horticultural theme for my six.
First things first, though, I’ll start with the requisite bit of grovelling to our great leader, The Propagator, he of wrestling fame and ridiculously ambitious to do lists. On his blog you will find his submission of the day and, in the comments appertaining thereto, links to other contributions (these appear through Saturday and sometimes into Sunday and even Monday so return visits are advised). There’s also a collection of links to most of the regular contributors over at my other web site, GardenBlogs.online if you want to cheat and not wait for them to comment on the host blog. Right then …….
I know, Chesney’s appeared several times before in a six. But he was mentioned in dispatches this week and his fan club are eagerly enquiring about the possibility of seed.
Now Chesney’s recovered from an early slug onslaught that killed all of his siblings. But he’s put on a brave face and grown to a princely 26 cm tall (that’s less than a foot for those who haven’t metricated yet). His flowers have matched his height in their scale – much smaller than your average Cosmos blooms. And the seed heads have been tiny. The first three contained nothing of worth; the fourth is drying out as I write.
And there are four more little buds. Will they open or will the cold get them? If they open and I hand pollinate, will they bear seed? Who knows but, whatever happens, I’m really gonna miss this little fella when his time comes.
Trailing Fuchsia (Tender)
Did I mention we had a frost on Thursday night? These tender fuchsias are in wall planters high on the north side of the house – high enough to be on the receiving end of any cold blast that hit the front. They’re high up because, well, they’re trailing and really look at their best when you stand underneath them and look up. The leaves may be dying back but, in the face of whatever nature is throwing at them, the flowers are still flowering (and there are opening buds just out of shot). Another little bunch of fighters.
Alstroemeria (apparently “alstroemerias” is now out of fashion except in some parts of Australia and the majority of America that’s been going backward of late) are long-flowering plants. Here they start showing off in late March and carry on until early November. I noticed when I was yanking off the expired stems last week (you should yank them, making sure the neighbours aren’t watching you yanking in the garden, not cut them) that there were other stems carrying buds but I didn’t expect them to come to anything.
Lo and behold, I have more flowers. And, again, more buds waiting in the wings. Individual flowers can last for a month or more unless you pick them for the vase. Who knows, I may have Alstroemeria in flower on Christmas Day. Which will be interesting as that’s a Saturday this year. Maybe I’ll only have to offer five Brussels sprouts as part of my six that day.
Daphne Odorata “Perfume Princess”
This Daphne was bred by Mark Jury down in New Zealand. His wife Abbie told me it very nearly didn’t make it out of his greenhouse as he’d forgotten he’d bred it until he found it behind something else. Things went from there and it was introduced into the UK a few years ago. It’s arguably the most aromatic Dapne you can get your muddy paws on. Certainly when it’s in full bloom I can smell it from about 20 metres away. But it’s not supposed to be flowering yet. Will I get a smelly* Christmas I wonder? It’ll keep my spring-flowering heathers company if it flowers now. Fortunately I have two (of the Daphne); the other is proceeding at a more sedate pace so I hope to still have flowers at the right time.
* I’m referring to the aroma of the Daphne, not the aforementioned Brussels sprouts.
I’m not sure what variety this is. The birds may have stripped the berries as fast as they developed but I have the autumnal foliage to look at. Which is some consolation given that this bush is trained against a fence and extends to about 5 metres long and 2 high. That’s a lot of orangey-red. Nice.
And Finally …….
I have a mental block as to the name of this rose. I think I’ve featured it before in its normal flowering season. So I’ll end with it in its non-normal flowering season. This bloom has opened, there’s another starting to open and, even morely yet again, some promising buds. It’s also flowered a deeper shade of pink than normal and this flower is showing pale edges, again something that I don’t see in its normal season.
I noticed this morning that another rose has some opening blooms. Can I take all this unseasonality?
Until next time…….