One Hundred and Thirty – Six on (Last) Saturday: 24 February 2018

We live in exciting times. Last Saturday we had an earthquake. I felt a vibration in the buttocks. Read later about some people getting into an absolute panic because their cups of coffee spilt. The headline “Parts of UK Overwhelmed by Underwhelming Earthquake” was appropriate. The Swansea fault usually moves every ten years; this shift was overdue. We can go back to trying to stand matchsticks upright on the table again now.

I had planned a couple of weeks off. But despite not being here, I managed a post last week before disappearing in the direction of an Alpine Garden Society show. I returned home to an earthquake and one hundred and thirty emails. Those of you who are WordPress bloggers know about WordPress subscriptions where every time a blogger posts something you get an email and every time someone comments on that blog you get an email. I must remember to turn things off on Saturdays as the number of contributors to this meme thing grows and the emails I receive as a result grow almost exponentially as our glorious leader, Mr Propagator, replies studiously to every comment.

But I am faced with another absentee Saturday and, sustained by the fact that my post last week, which may have been written the week before or, indeed, tomorrow, attracted such interest, I am contributing, in absentia, once again. This week, though, I’m avoiding poop art, camera complications and general wotnot, and concentrating on some plants, for a change. There’s been some serious waking up in the garden and things have gone from bare to all flowery in no time.

If only to show that I do actually grow things here!

1 Lachenalia bulbifera

No, this isn’t a renamed Corydalis but a plant that originates from the Western Cape area of South Africa. It’s a rather odd plant to grow which is why I grow it. It’s H2 which means it doesn’t like frost. But it flowers around now when it’s frostiness all around at its most frosty. At the end of spring – in the diminishing frostiness – it will die down and go dormant. But during this dormancy it needs to be kept dry until the autumn when you mimic the arrival of seasonal rains in its home country by starting to water it. This triggers it into growth in time for the frosty season.

So this little baby gets my sinky pot treatment. I sink a pot into the ground – this reserves the hole – then have a few pots the same size into which I put plants. This little treasure can then be popped into its pot on warmer spring days and returned to the greenhouse if it’s going to be frosty overnight. It spends its dormant season in a growhouse without any water, its ground pot being filled by something else. It then spends time outside getting watered by the rain through autumn before the daily in-and-out of the greenhouse starts.

On its way back into the greenhouse, just in time as the temperature was dropping.

Climate requirements aside, and especially if you grow it indoors rather than my fussy outdoor approach, its an easy plant to grow but you’ll have to hunt around for it. It may be sold as a potted plant but is more commonly sold as bulbs or smaller bulbils in late spring which are best potted up as soon as you receive them. Bulbs should flower the following spring. Bulbils may take a few seasons to flower but you may be lucky. It’s a bit unpredictable like that.

I think it may relocate to Edifice2, Simply because Edifice2 is nearer the greenhouse. On the other hand, I would need to unlock the garden gate a lot to get it out and then in (or in and then out if you’re that way inclined). I will cogitate.

2 Iris reticulata ‘Alida”

Blue is a nice cheery colour on a cold spring morning and on a spring evening. But Alida isn’t an Iris reticulata any more. The reticulate Irises have now been put into a separate genus “Iridodictyum”. Thomas Stone tells me that the Iris genus is about to be split into 18 new ones. Except by us gardeners who will continue to use our well-known and understood Gardeners’ Latin names. Yes?

3 Iris histriodes ‘George”

Now technically Georgie boy is a a reticulate Iris but he isn’t in the reticulata group or family or whatever it’s called. So he may be an Iridodictyum or may be something else by the time you read this. But who cares, he’s a lovely purple colour which goes well with the blue of Alida.

4 Corydalis solida subsp. solida ‘Beth Evans’

I hope if they change the name of this plant, they’ll simplify it! Why do we need “solida” twice? I used to work with a Beth Evans though she was definitely not a plant. This Beth is a new acquisition from last week’s AGS show. She is definitely a Corydalis and not a Lachenalia and is just starting to show flowers. This is the time to buy a Beth (and her partner George Baker – named after a mountaineer and not an actor) as plants are often offered for sale which are not true to form and may be pale, washy colours. She’s destined for Edifice2 along with her two sisters – identical triplets.

5 Lamprocapnos  spectabilis ‘Burning Hearts’

I’ve got a “Bleeding Hearts” already but wanted a ‘Burning Hearts” for its larger, redder flowers. It also tends to be smaller overall which will be good for Edifice2, for which you may guess I’m ordering plants now. Couldn’t find one locally so I ordered one as part of a large order a while back. The nursery said it wasn’t ready when they sent the rest of the order so they would send it later. Well they’ve now sent it. It arrived this week. Yep, it’s clearly ready.

To be fair the nursery have guaranteed it will appear and grow strongly once it warms up a bit.

6 Paeonia cambessedesii

What a mouthful. My second acquisition last week (I was rather restrained as my main intention was to meet people and drink coffee and consume cake whilst looking at the show rather than the plant sales).

I know nothing about it other than what the tray label indicated – a dwarf variety with a yellow-centred, deep rose-pink flower over purple-tinged foliage. It’ll go in Edifice2.

So ….

I also came away last week with a bottle of bubbly and an Arum. Both raffle prizes. As the Arum was handed to me I wondered where I was going to plant it. Certainly NOT in Edifice2. But I’ve been thinking that maybe those Iris/Iridodictyum could move to Edifice2 and the Arum could go next to the pond. It would like that and there’ll be no issue with it spreading. It can fight with the Epimediuns and Alchemilla Mollis which will otherwise overwhelm the Iris/Whatevers in a year or two. And I won’t have to lie on the ground the next time I want to take a photo of George and Alida. Yep. Problem sorted.

Now you may be wondering what’s going on with Edifice2. Well I’m covering that in a separate short series of posts. You may have missed the first two which you’ll find at:

Episode 1 – Introduction

Episode 2 – Foreplay

Episodes 3 and 4 will appear on Tuesday and Thursday next week. I’m not going to six Edifice2 again until I start planting it up. I may not even then. If I don’t soon have lots of planty things to feature I’ll go off and sulk somewhere.

Now why not pop over to Mr Propagator’s blog of the day and delve into the links (in the comments) to the growing flock of Six on Saturdayers which, if you wait until later, may even include Gill Heavens.

See you next week when, maybe, I’ll relent and give you some emergings. Or maybe not.

23 thoughts on “One Hundred and Thirty – Six on (Last) Saturday: 24 February 2018

  1. I love the lachenalia, I never had a pink one, just L. aloides which I killed in an absent-minded moment.
    My corydalis are all sensibly tucked away in the ground, how nice to have one in bloom in a pot to pretend that spring will come one day. Beth and George do seed around and all the children are lovely.
    Paeonia cambessedesii is the lovely Majorcan peony.
    Iridodictyum indeed. Can you remember how to spell it?
    I like the odd tautology in botanical names, so I would be sad to lose solida solida. Animal names like bufo bufo for toad are great, or rattus rattus for a black rat. Or an extra ratty rat.
    This earthquake you talk about. Whatever you were drinking, I want some.

  2. Lovely plants there, John. I always forget to plant Iris in a shallow bowl by the front door and kick myself at this time of year when I see photos like yours.

    1. Thanks Tim. They would have been better photos if the ruddy flash had fired properly. It was too late to retake the photos by the time I discovered that they were rather shaded. Actually, I’ve never thought of planting Iris in containers. Now you’ve given me ideas.

    1. Well it’s only been renamed by experts for the edification of other experts (and those who sell books about naming plants). We gardeners will continue to grow Iris (if we can find them in places wot use their new names).

    1. It was quite an odd feeling. For a while I thought the roof had fallen off the house or a ceiling had come down upstairs. I’ve not come across a so-called “Alpine” paeony before; will be interesting to see how big it grows.

  3. It’s hard to read a newspaper or watch the television here (Vancouver Island) without hearing something about earthquake predictions or earthquake preparedness or some such. A couple of weeks ago, there was a tsunami warning (later cancelled) which I slept through quite peacefully because I hadn’t signed up for a cell phone alert. Actually, I seldom turn my cell phone on, so it wouldn’t have helped to sign up for the alert. A number of people got the alert and drove up a nearby mountain, where they waited out the night.

    Lovely Corydalis and the peony looks very promising. I hope you will find space for further mentions of that peony as it comes along.

    1. These “extreme” events like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes are very rare here so their impact on the news is rather disproportionate to their impact on real life.This was the first earthquake I felt (though I have apparently experienced two before with no feeling at all) and the feeling was very odd. Mr P’s progress will certainly feature somewhere in my blogging in future.

  4. Newly emerging Paeonia foliage is so pretty—almost as good as the flowers. The lachenalia is wonderful, too.

    Also, the sinky pot—I hadn’t thought of doing that, but it sounds like an idea worth experimenting with.

    1. I’ve used the sunken pot trick in various ways over the years. It’s usually a case of buying four pots the same size, cutting most of the bottom out of one and sinking it into the ground. Then the other three get planted with blousy seasonal stuff like lilies. At the appropriate time the pot in/about to flower gets popped into the pre-formed hole. Pots in waiting are kept in an out-of-sight staging area. More recently I’m trying it with plants that shouldn’t really be outdoors. I have less space than you so need to use it to best advantage.

  5. Lachenalia is gorgeous..! Love it !. Thank you for sharing it in bloom… About Iris Reticulata or Iridodictyum, whatever the name, just look at the flowers we will know that they are irises … No? Great Six John!

    1. Thanks Fred. And well done yesterday (I’m staying happy today as I have Irish friends). Lachenalia is, I suppose, really a conservatory or glasshouse plant but I’m not into indoor growing at all. We gardeners will stick to our gardeners’ names and let all those DNA experts call them whatever they want. Would be better if they came up with alternative names that weren’t so long and hard to remember,

  6. Not quite sure how to follow Charles’ comment ……… I’ll give it a go. Great Six. Wonderful new plants, especially love the lachenalia. You have written a lot of words this week. What with that, show visits and your construction exploits you have been a busy bee. Still lots to do though, unless you are holding back on us. Is there going to be a celebrity opening of the Edifice?

    1. Well the words were written a while ago. Next week’s two posts are completed and scheduled. I didn’t want to treat you too much in one go. Soil comes on Thursday. Then I add a photo or two to the post already written for the week after next. Today’s SoS post was written on Monday and I remembered I hadn’t taken the photos last evening, just in time! It’s forward planning is wot it is.

        1. Yeah! I schedule delivery of 7 tonnes of soil and stuff which I have to mix and get into the beds before it gets dark on Thursday. So far so good except that the temperature here is forecast to be minus all day except for a brief spell in the afternoon when it may rise to +1C. That’s planning!

  7. I really like your not-a-corydalis & am almost tempted by it, but sounds a bit high maintenance. Mind you, I cope w/dahlias, amaryllis, & begonias so . . . & it sure is pretty. Perhaps I should go all Oscar Wilde-ish & not resist. Or, I could set up the hammock & stick w/corydalis. Decisions, decisions . . . so did you rig the raffle? Two prizes. Most unfair.

    1. You could grow Lachenalia as a house or conservatory plant (which saves the daily out and in). Just forget to water it after it starts to die down until mid September. The prize display was massive. Luck of the draw. I think they only sold at most twice as many tickets as there were prizes.

      1. That’s the kind of raffle I like. Sign me up. Or just send the bubby. I’ll pay you next Tuesday.

        1. Sorry, I guess it’s floating around somewhere in the Bristol Channel by now (unlike London we don’t get to drink everything three or four times).

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