I always try to theme each post but I was looking at images I had uploaded and can’t see an obvious connection so, because I should really save any activity in my remaining brain cells for work, here are some unrelated items. Anyone who has been reading this blog for long (and thank you all those who follow) will know that I like daffodils. All those I have planted so far have done as well as expected and so I am planting a lot more this autumn. Because I like all (well most) daffodils, I have made the effort to get as many historic daffs as I could find (and afford) this year. They were ordered from Ron Scamp who was very helpful to me when I was doing my bulb book. He offers an amazing range of cultivars. You can see here.
His bulbs (well they are mine now) are great quality and what amazed me was the size of some of them. In the photo above you can see two bags with average bulbs and a bag of HUGE bulbs. These are a tazetta type (‘Polly’s Pearl’) and they usually have large bulbs but these have really surprised me – and explained the postage cost!
I see a theme developing despite my earlier comment. Here is a bulb in flower. My 2020 lilies are flowering late because they arrived late and these double lilies are just opening. ‘Beauty Trend’ is a fully double pink and, I suspect, very lovely. But some buds are not opening properly, I assume because of the cool weather at this time of the year, and they are too frou-frou for me to get very excited.
On a more positive note, my Phytolacca americana is growing! Now to those that have this in their gardens my joy probably seems unfounded. After all, where happy, this plant, commonly called pokeweed, will self seed and can be a boisterous bed mate. But my plant has struggled like the runt of the litter. I bought it last August and almost as soon as I got it home the young shoots withered and I thought it had died. It remained in the pot till this spring when, as soon as I saw signs of growth, I planted it out. All was well for a few months till the May frost when it was cut to the ground. But the thick root was not done yet and it bravely sent up a few more shoots and these have finally made a decent plant. It is only 1m high, half what it can be, but it is branching out and flowering.
And finally, I have a few berries to poke! I used to grow the marvelously named, pink-flowered, Phytolacca ‘Laka Boom’, and must do so again.
And while on the topic of plants that have done well, this summer I did what I planned and planted a couple of cotinus. The first in the ground was ‘Grace’ that Peter Dummer hybrid of C. coggygria and C. obovatus. It is bigger than the average smoke bush and much bigger than the majority of the new introductions which all seem to have been bred for window boxes. ‘Grace’ is a big and beautiful plant with vigorous new growth in the typical, much loved vinous purple and the leaves turn to golds and orange in autumn too. I was tempted to prune the plant back when I planted it but disguised it with a clump of red atriplex (not that clever a combination really since they look so similar) and it seemed to work and the wind (so far) did not spot the cotinus when it was ripping the garden apart. A spring prune will be needed though.
Another good news story has been a number of pulmonarias. Bought as ‘Trevi Fountain’, a clonal plant from TerraNova, this is certainly not that since it should have spotted leaves, not all-silver. But whatever it is, it has grown like a dock! The only problem is that it is not liking the hot, dry weather, looking like a beached football fan on a Spanish beach with the pubs shut.