Drive or Write?

Decisions early in the morning are just too much for the tired mind. When I woke at five this morning the thought came to me that it would be a good opportunity to drive the 160km to see and photograph a previously unseen orchid. I calculated that I could be there in two hours with ease, spend two hours on site and with another two hour return journey be home well in time for lunch. But then, it was unplanned and “unplanned” is something I find uncomfortable so I settled down to breakfast, an update on the Olympics (boring!) and settled instead to looking back on the gardening week – though I know we will head out for a walk shortly and that I’ll leave this at some stage to return to it later.

It was an unusual week for it is a very rare week when I take no photographs of the garden. I did a gallop around yesterday evening, as much to stay in touch with what was in flower as anything else as we seem to have been absent from the garden for much of the week. Rain returned this week and that, along with other things, had us spending less active time in the garden. Nonetheless, there was some activity: those tired perennials of the early summer have been cut back and this lead to a large pile of shredding and a big addition to the compost bin. A prized magnolia tree was finally dispatched. It was frosted early in the year and went into terminal decline afterwards. It was rotted to the base so, very sadly, it was been taken out. Similarly, a twenty year old bamboo has been dispatched. It had simply outlived its popularity and it was decided it would make way for something more interesting – that was a hard afternoon’s work. Strawberries continue to be picked – loved by the grandchildren – while autumn raspberries are just beginning to ripen. Runner and French bears are coming into season as the mange-tout peas are finishing, well timed! The rain was most welcome as the ground had dried out to a dreadful degree and plants have revived reasonably. We hope for further rain to give us some late summer growth and autumn colour but, for the moment, let’s see what was looking good this week in the garden:

Wikipedia says that Lilium lancifolium (syn. L. tigrinum) “is an Asian species of lily, native to China, Japan, Korea, and the Russian Far East. It is widely planted as an ornamental because of its showy orange-and-black flowers, and sporadically occurs as garden escape in North America, particularly the eastern United States including New England, and has made incursions into some southern states such as Georgia” while I would say that it came as a few bulbils from a gardening friend some years back and has grown like the clappers ever since, multiplying with ease and flowering reliably year after year.

Lilium ‘Rialto’ in the white garden is also another good performer and has a delicious fragrance. it is increasing well, something I always like to see in a plant and promises to continue to make a significant contribution to the garden:

On an altogether smaller scale, my favourite cyclamen is in flower. This is Cyclamen purpurascens and it always beats the more common autumn-flowering Cyclamen hederifolium into flower here by a month or so, giving interest to a small bed under an Abies Koreana. Cyclamen hederifolium is shoving up its first flowers and will swamp this bed shortly. This little cyclamen is especially treasured as it came from Villa Balbianello on Lake Como, a fond reminder of a holiday and garden we enjoyed very much.

Watsonias seem to enjoy the conditions in our garden and thrive here. Some of those we grow are unnamed cultivars, a few corms of this or that received from friends over the years, and other are species grown from seed from Silverhill Seeds in South Africa, an annual reminder of the tragic deaths of Rodney and Rachel Saunders who were always so generous with their seeds and advice.

I love the Californian Fuchsia and the Head Gardener tolerates it for that reason. The taxonomists have put it through a few different names over the years. I knew it first as Zauchneria californica ‘Glasnevin’ and it now seems to have settled to Epilobium canum ‘Dublin’, a mysterious journey in nomenclature which baffles me as much as the plant delights me. It grows here in a raised bed which is in view from where I sit in the livingroom. The soil in that bed has been amended with the addition of a lot of grit so that the plant has excellent drainage and is also in full sun and this seems to suit is very well as it runs about pleasantly (the Head Gardener is not keen on plants which run about “too much”!)

Finally, the odds and ends of the garden this week:

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator”. To read more contributions go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

15 thoughts on “Drive or Write?

  1. I wish I could grow Watsonias outside here.I’ve tried a couple of times and lost them.They are stunning.Fantastic article again Paddy

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    1. They have never been a problem outdoors here and survived our worst winter for decades in 2010/11 when we had -10C, an unheard of low temperature here.

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  2. Please add me to the list of people amazed by the watsonias. What a range of shades and they make such a statement when clumped up!
    Glad to hear the weather has improved and some rain has made things a little more comfortable for the plants. I really don’t like those extended dry spells, although I suspect ours tend to be a little worse 😉
    I think the orchids can wait, although a nice plant adventure is always a good way to spend a day. Coincidentally I’ve heard of an orchid bog that really isn’t all that far from me, and I think it may be in full bloom now. Hmmmm. I might put it off until next year, there’s already been plenty of driving lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the watsonia clumps is especially attractive as it was grown from mixed seed – described as “Tresco Mixed” which came to us via a seed offer on one of the gardening societies. They don’t seed about here but, most likely, that is because we cut them down shortly after they have finished flowering. The clumps become very big and congested and need to be split every few years.

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