It’s Saturday again already. The sun has been shining all week, and the work here has been feverishly intensive. There is only a little window of time at the end of March in which I can convince myself that this year will be different. I will keep on top of it all; I will finally bully all the weeds into submission and sow and prick out several thousand seeds. But time out must be taken to pick Six on Saturday. So here goes.
I planted my Charlotte potatoes yesterday in one of my raised beds. I had put cardboard over it for the winter to discourage the chickweed. Growing through the cardboard I found these strange fungi , I had to look them up. They have peculiar heads which look as if they are wearing knitted jumpers. There were loads of them and I find that they are highly prized morel mushrooms, what a waste, they look too far gone to eat now. But then apparently there are lookee-likee-morels which are poisonous and cause dizziness, vomiting and even death. So I would be too scared to try them. The only garden mushroom I have been brave enough to eat were puffballs which came up now and then in my woodland garden. They are delicious if eaten young, before the maggots get them, sliced and fried with garlic. But I’ll give these a miss. They don’t look like food.
Whilst we are on the weird theme. I have a few insectivorous plants which I bought in an idle moment at a Plant Heritage Spring Plant Sale whilst I was waiting for my friend go to the loo. The pitcher plants have seeded but are not looking their best quite yet, but the butterworts are coming on well.
The flower belongs to Pinguiculia and the fuzzy leaves to a Drosera capensis. As long as you water them with rain water these insectivorous plants are really easy. I suppose they are a bit cruel but quite fascinating. And weird.
So let’s move swiftly on to the wonderful. My beautiful Paeonia mascula has nice plump buds but the exciting thing is the two little seedlings which I have found nearby.
I have found that these pink peonies hybridise with the yellow Paeonia mlokosewitschii, ‘Molly the Witch’ and in a previous garden I had seedlings in shades of pinky yellow and yellowy pink. So now I keep Molly well away from this dark pink one.
Talking about peony seedlings, they don’t appear the first year after sowing because they are busy putting down roots. I just came across these two tree peony seedlings which I had forgotten about, they have been knocking about the garden for a couple of years and lost their labels. Still, they will be welcome, there’s no such thing as an ugly peony.
Growing from Seed.
I don’t suppose that I am the only one who gets carried away and orders far too many seeds. And then there are all the ones I collected. It’s all very well sowing them, but then they need pricking out. I feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn’t know what to do. For instance I sowed seeds of some of my dahlias. I was surprised the second one, ‘Mambo’ produced seed, it is usually only the single ones.
And now I have 100 seedlings. I don’t really need 100 new dahlias but they don’t come true from seed so how can I throw any away without seeing what the flowers look like ?
And I seem to have about 50 agapanthus seedlings. It is all part of this silly business of sowing seeds, not because you need new plants, but because you can. You have the seeds, you have the compost, you have pots and water. I can’t quite remember what Kant’s Categorical Imperatives are but Chloris’s first Categorical Imperative is seeds must be collected and sown. I suppose I’m back to the weird now. So let’s find something wonderful.
Narcissus keep on coming into bloom. Suffolk Plant Heritage has a National collection of Engleheart Narcissus. So far they have 34 cultivars. The Reverend Engleheart was born in 1851 and like all the clergy of his age he had time on his hands and he spent his time breeding narcissus. One of them ‘Will Scarlet’ won an RHS 1st Class Certificate in 1897 and three bulbs sold for £100. I have just two Engleheart Naricissus but they are so dainty and delicate that I shall probably add to my collection next year. Maybe I will get ‘Will Scarlet’ and these days we don’t have to pay £100.
Even older than the Engleheart daffodils I have ‘Mrs Langtry’ which dates back to before 1838. The flowers look like little windmills.
In a pot, miniature Narcissus ‘Tiny Bubbles’ is delighting me at the moment, it is the first time I have grown it. It comes from America and it is delightfully pretty and also fragrant.
Cambridge Botanical Garden.
We went to Cambridge Botanical Garden a few days ago. I was looking forward to seeing the Jade Vine which blooms in March in the glasshouse but there was no sign of it, perhaps it died. But this amazing Petrea volubis made up for it.
I got quite excited seeing these Passion flowers because when I was in Madeira last November I bought a range of different Passion fruits in the market and ate them but I saved some seeds. So now I have about 20 Passiflora seedlings. OK. We are back to the weird now. They won’t even be hardy.
But outside amongst all the different blossom trees I found one which is of course hardy and has gone right to the top of my wants list. It is not a cherry at all, it is Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’
But lovely as this staphylea is it is not as beautiful as my magnolias which are fabulous this year. But they deserve a post of their own and anyway, I’ve done my six, I kept count this week. But yet again I forgot to arrange pictures all in a row at the top of this post like everyone else does. I’ll try to remember next week but there is no time today I have more seeds to sow.
Thanks to The Propagator for hosting this meme, Six on Saturday. Do have a look, more and more people are joining in and it is fun to see what people are enjoying each Saturday.