Six on Saturday: 22 December 2018

It’s nearly Christmas! It’s been a bit rainy here so, rather than venturing outdoors I took advantage of the longer daylight time to hone my layout changes for the garden next year. There will be more planting space, less lawn and I may actually get round to finishing Edifice 3 (yes folks, it’s still a work in progress) in its new amended layout complete with vertical garden area! And there are the mini-Eds to build too! And other bits and pieces.

It seems that, at this time of year, the passing of someone has a much greater impact as we feel for the immediate family and close friends whose Christmas festivities are dampened by the sorrow of loss. And the gardening world mourns the passing of David Austen (Snr) OBE VMH MSc at the grand age of 92. Thomas Stone has returned to the Six on Saturday tribe with a rosarian tribute which is well worth reading.

Meanwhile, here’s my final pre-Christmas six of the year.

1 A Tale of Two Daphnes

I featured Daphne odora ‘Perfume Princess’ last month so a bit of repetition here but today I’m showing two different versions.

These two are about two metres apart, in dedicated “container” areas within what’s become known as Edifice 1. There’s a bench area between them, just right for relaxing on the odd dry day at this time of the year to sniff in the scent.

You may notice the difference between them. One has nice dark green foliage whilst the other is a pale green. Abbie Jury wondered whether the pale one was clorotic but they are both growing in the same medium and through this year I’ve been dosing the sickly one with every possible anti-clorosis treatment I can find. It stubbornly remains pale. Although it flowers later than its sibling, it is no less floriferous at the end of the day.

Same source, same batch, planted the same day, which tends to rule out some causal disease in just one of them.

So why the difference, I wonder.

The only thing I can think of is slightly different light conditions. The dark one tends to get a lot of sun from midday to early evening when it gets shaded by the house. The pale one doesn’t get direct sunlight until late afternoon, because there’s a tree in the way of the sun’s path, but it’s then in sunlight (cloudy days excepted of course) until sunset.

Daphne odora is supposed to be fine with light shade and both are growing in what would fit the definition of “light shade” but I guess a difference in timing of that shade impacts a bit more than I would have expected.

2 A Nice Surprise

OK, Edifice 3 is behind schedule. But I have a lot of plants here to go in it. And I’m going to have some more. The nice people at WoodblocX ran a competition. And I won a prize of a Garden on a Roll. But I had nowhere to plant it. So a bit of quick negotiation and I’ve now got a voucher so that I can order my Garden on a Roll when I’m ready to plant it, probably in the spring. This means that I’ll be able to choose my planting style (though not individual plants) and its dimensions rather than receive a big box with something unknown in it.

£140 worth of plants is a nice Christmas present for a gardener.

3 Santa List

I have some nice friends and relatives. My Christmas list usually extends to as many bottles of Southern Comfort as anyone wishes to gift to the great cause. Which makes things simple.

This year, though, I was pressed to choose something different.

I need a new pruning saw. One that will last. One which is a bit tougher than my current model. Thanks Sister for your donation which is now on its way to Niwaki.

The other thing I need is a new wheelbarrow. When I first moved here, 30-ish years ago, I treated myself to a Hammerlin barrow. Apart from a change of wheel, that barrow served me well, despite the abuse of using it to shift 26 tonnes of Cotswold chippings from the drive to the rear garden and about 14 tonnes of planting mix for my Edifices. Two years ago the pan finally started to corrode. I discovered this one day when my finger pierced the powder coating and there was nothing underneath it. Now Hammerlins are not cheap. I decided to go with a fully British Company (Hammerlin are French-owned) at about half the price. Big mistake! It’s already falling apart.

So I’m going back to Hammerlin.

Courtesy of a group of gardening friends who have clubbed together to buy it for me.

I know I’ll also be getting Southern Comfort from others.

4 Holly

Look, it’s Christmas right? So here’s the obligatory shot of some holly berries. This was a little shrub holly that I’ve let grow into a tree. And whatever they say about holly needing another holly to produce berries, mine hasn’t listened.

5 Sarcococca

Sarcococca confusa is supposed to be thinking of flowering about now. Mine is a little tardy. It’s decided to berry instead.

6 Camellia Buds

My winter-flowering Camellias don’t look like they will perform yet. One produced a somewhat deformed bloom which isn’t worthy of a photo. But no worries. It’s their first year and whilst they may not yet be ready to put on a show they are growing strongly.

So you get the obligatory photo of buds on my older model. Nice and juicy. Full of spring promise.

Which allows me to breathe a sigh of relief that I’ve made up a six.

It’s a lovely sunny day and quite warm out there. I could easily use up the remaining longer daylight time outdoors but I’m in a flat panic here with house guests arriving for Christmas on Monday. And I still haven’t laid the new flooring in the refitted guest bathroom. So I’m going to be on my knees indoors. Oh well ….

I hope to be back next week with my final six of 2018 but, in the meantime, feel free to pop over to Mr Propagator’s blog where, if you can excuse the mention of Slade, you’ll find a host of links to the international cohort of sixes to while away your hopeful panic-free time.

And, of course, have a great Christmas. Nadolig Llawen.

11 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 22 December 2018

  1. I have been using my barrow on a flat tyre for as long as I can remember. It’s almost as expensive to replace the wheel as it it to replace the b&q barrow. I’ll get around to it at some point. That saw looks vicious.

  2. A good six selection, John. Fingers crossed you complete all your indoor tasks 🙂
    Hopefully The camellias will bloom in time for your next six

    1. Thanks. As there are no buds on the three young Camellias, they won’t be flowering for a while yet. But who knows. If next year is anything like this for plants flowering out of season, they may knuckle down and flower in the summer.

  3. well hello there John, lovely six, too right about having to have holly in there this weekend and I love the berries on sarcoccoca, that form does tend to flower and fruit at the same time. well done for winning and also what a great idea for getting excellent presents that will give you years of work and pleasure from, although is pushing a wheelbarrow around pleasurable?
    strange about the Daphnes, I think it could be the sunlight as well
    thank you very much for the link too, lovely to be back 🙂

    1. When you get to my age, pushing a wheelbarrow around is a pleasure if only because being able to push a wheelbarrow around is good!

  4. That wheelbarrow is absolutely the goods. I am envious!

    1. If it serves me as long as my former Hammerlin (over 27 years) I shall be very happy. And 93 years old! 😉

  5. Congratulations on your happy gift voucher … you’ll be able to enjoy it.
    The pruning saw was one of my last Christmas gifts ..very useful. Your blade looks more resistant and less flexible .. (but be careful because it saws well, watch out your fingers even with gloves)
    I also liked and preferred the Daphne with dark leaves compared to this with light ones : weird…

    1. The saw is a toughie and longer than a folding saw too. I am always careful with sharp tools – making sure I’m balancing precariously on the ladder, holding tight to something (usually the branch I’m sawing off) so I don’t fall and so on. I also prefer the darker Daphne, mainly because that’s how it should be.

  6. Good negotiating and well done for winning! Check around the roots of the daphne, we had a large D. bholua ‘JP’ suddenly die on us, after going very pale, and I believe it was too wet around the roots. Just an idea. All that wonderful camellia potential, can’t wait! Have a good one John x

    1. This one turned pale a few months after original planting and it’s been like it ever since. Roots have been checked, soil has been analysed, Conditions seem OK. Apart from the pale leaves, there’s no difference between the two (save perhaps that the pale one has a much stronger central stem (or whatever you call it)). You too. xx

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