Six on Saturday. Weird and Wonderful.

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.

Weird Fungus.

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.

Morel Mushrooms?

Insectivorous Plants.

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.

Peonies.

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.

Paeonia mascula

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.

Tree peony seedlings

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.

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.

Narcissus ‘White Lady’

Narcissus ‘Beersheba’

Even older than the Engleheart daffodils I have ‘Mrs Langtry’ which dates back to before 1838. The flowers look like little windmills.

Narcissus ‘Mrs. Langtry’

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.

Narcissus ‘Tiny Bubbles’

 

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.

Petrea volubis

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’

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.

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47 Responses to Six on Saturday. Weird and Wonderful.

  1. What a gorgeous selection! The Dahlia ‘Karma Fuschiana’ and Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ are truly breathtaking. Lovely to have so many seedlings! 💕🌱

  2. fredgardener says:

    You must have room for all these seedlings to come … or you will have to sort and keep just a little … it’s always a hard decision … nice to see the flower of drosera! Mine didn’t bloom and died last year.

  3. Heyjude says:

    How wonderful to have heritage narcissus growing, they do look lovely. I am sooo glad I am not bitten by the sowing bug. My fault is cuttings. I always plonk bits into pots when pruning plants and some grow others don’t, but then I have new plants and nowhere to put them! A bit like you and the Prop. I am trying to be disciplined about what I buy and where the plants are to be used, but I may have succumbed to some impulse buying this week…

    • Chloris says:

      I have never met a gardener yet who doesn’t succomb to impulse buying now and then. As for propagating, I never consider whether I have room for or really need new plants, I just can’t resist doing it.

  4. You really have good luck with your seeds. I tend to overdo buying and collecting and then not planting.

    • Chloris says:

      Ah but one thing is certain, if you don’t sow them they will never grow. Even when you sow them you get far too many of some plants but others damp off. You win some and you lose some.

  5. croftgarden says:

    It is such a treat to see your garden, it is a tribute to your industry.
    You are very wise not to be tempted by the fungi in your garden, you have to be absolutely certain of the identification before you get out the frying pan.

  6. Lisa says:

    Ah, a fellow over-buying-seeder! I planned on fewer than last year, ended up with probably double!
    Wise choice to forgo eating that fungus! Too many people do die mistaking one for another. I don’t like mushrooms at all, but if I did I’d keep to the grocery store’s offerings!

    • Chloris says:

      I think most of us over buy seeds. The seed companies must make a fortune out of our lack of will power. I often wonder what percentage of the millions of packets sold actually get sown. I agree about the mushrooms, it’s not worth the risk.

  7. I love your excess of dahlia seedlings! How exciting! Peony foliage really is beautiful, isn’t it? I think it is my favourite foliage of all.

    • Chloris says:

      It is exciting waiting to see what all the dahlias look like but I don’t know what I shall do with them all. I do agree about peonies, I love them from when they first poke their plump noses above the soil.

  8. Christina says:

    Richard is very, very jealous of the Morrels, he lives in hopes of finding some. When you prick out your seedlings do you ever throw the excess away? I’m trying hard this year, but it is hard.

    • Chloris says:

      Do you get morels in Italy? How can you tell that they are the edible ones and not imposters? I can’t bear to throw any of the agapanthus or dahlias away as each one will be unique. With others I give the excess to my daughter and she shares her excess with me, so we both have more than we can cope with.

      • Christina says:

        Yes, there are morels here, Richard is a keen mushroom hunter and has a licence to collect them. Mostly he collects mushrooms that it is impossible to mis-identify.

  9. Noelle says:

    I laughed when you said you had too many seeds. I went through my box yesterday and gave loads away…I just haven’t the room anymore in my small garden. Your staphy is amazing.

  10. The narcissus are wonderful. Enjoy your seed dilemma!

    • Chloris says:

      I shall get some more of the Engleheart daffodils next year, I like having these heritage varieties. I do enjoy checking to see what has germinated each day but the pricking out is getting me down.

  11. Kris P says:

    I’d have steered clear of the morel-like mushrooms too. If I had your success growing from seed, I’d expect I’d be in the same pickle but perhaps I’d open an impromptu nursery service for friends and neighbors. At the very least, this would contribute to the diversity of plants in my neighborhood. I’m enamored with the Petrea volubilis and now intent on hunting it down. The issue as to where to plant it can wait until I find it.

    • Chloris says:

      I do give a lot of plants away to friends and my daughter is always a willing recipient. Oh yes, you could grow Petrea volubis in your garden, how wonderful, I do hope you find one.

  12. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Isn’t a shame we have to be so cautious about mushrooms? I remember going mushrooming as a child and we never seemed to think about it then. I didn’t know it’s possible to eat puffballs! I’m quite envious of your success with growing seeds as I bought a lot last year and failed miserably to grow anything. Like Jude, I tend to stick to cuttings. The Staphlyea and Petra are both new for me and I think they’re glorious.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, I used to eat field mushrooms, I don’t think I would now. Puffballs get maggoty if they get too big. They taste a bit like an omelettte when sliced and fried.
      I don’t have any trouble germinating seeds, it’s the dreaded ‘damimg off’ that can cause problems just as they are coming on nicely.

  13. I feel the same about seeds. I just know I’ll end up with at least 70 petunia plants when I need half that amount. … I keep potting them on because i can’t bear to throw any living plants away. It seems almost sacrilege to take their life after planting the seeds.

  14. One Man And His Garden Trowel says:

    Those narcissus are lovely. I don’t envy you potting up a 100 dahlia seedlings! Nice Six.

    • Chloris says:

      These heritage daffodils seem more elegant than modern hybrids. Potting up 10 dahlias is a bit tedious but I am quite excited to see the flowers.

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    Your garden always seems to have the most delightful things in bloom – including unusual mushrooms!

  16. What glorious dilemmas you have! I love your six. The morels are fascinating, where do you think that came from though?

    • Chloris says:

      I have no idea where the morels came from, they are not in any of the other raised beds, just the one I covered in cardboard. I believe they are highly prized, they don’t look very appetising to me.

  17. Cathy says:

    As always, you have given us such an interesting post, Chloris, with lots of useful information to take on board. I am afraid I couldn’t bring myself to risk any wild fungi… as a child a friend’s parent instilled the fear of God into me after random firaging on a camping trip 😉 Need to look up care of pitcher plants – I remember Monty cutting his back sometime last year, but that’s all. Glad you managed to visit CBG

  18. Chloris says:

    Thank you Cathy. I didn’t know you had to cut Pitcher plants back. Mine are looking a bit ragged but there are baby ones coming up from the base.
    Yes CBG is always a treat and it this time of the year the alpine house is dreamy. Next time you go to Cambridge try and make time to go to the Fitzwilliam museum, the Dutch flower paintings are wonderful.The Pianist always wants to rush on to the French Impressionists but I could gaze and gaze all day at the these amazing Dutch ones. It would be fun to try to recreate one for InaVoM but the flowers are a jumble of spring and summer ones.

  19. cavershamjj says:

    You are singing my tune on the seedling front. It’s an irresistible compulsion…!

  20. Jim Stephens says:

    The Staphylea is another of those plants we used to sell in my nursery days but that I don’t think I’ve seen in flower. Beautiful. I planted 40 Dahlias I’d grown from my own seed last year on my allotment. They were fantastic. Much less hassle than overwintering tubers and 40 surprises when they started flowering. I bought two packets of seed this year, can’t get enough.

  21. How exciting to find those morels! I love your comment about dahlias from seed and needing to see what they all look like. I’ve always grown them from tuburs but this year I have half a dozen from seed too but 100? – fill the world with dahlias I say!

  22. tonytomeo says:

    Agapanthus from seed? Goodness. As if there are not already too many in the World. I have difficulty discarding them when I must dig them up, and of course, there are always more when they get dug and divided. They are great perennials. I discard the seed because it is easier than discarding pups.

  23. I love the Petrea volubis! That mushroom does look like a morel, but I wouldn’t swear to it. There’s a town not too far from here that has an annual Morel Mushroom Festival.

  24. snowbird says:

    You are delightfully weird, it takes one to know one! I always sow too many seeds too but as the dogs destroy so many plants I always have room for more. You should set up a little stall and sell all your seedlings or sell them to a garden center, you’d make a small fortune! I’ve never seen morel mushrooms before, wonderful looking things but I’d be too scared to eat them too. I do like your insectivorous plants, they always die on me. I did enjoy the Kew collection, as you say they are fascinating. I used to feed mine with dead flies. Beautiful daffodils, I have some pretty ones this year.xxx

  25. Stephen G Kelly says:

    Hi Chloris,

    In you post on the 23rd May you ended by mentioning “if you live in the UK and would like to try some seeds of the tree peonies I wrote about in my last post please let me know later in the season when they are ripe”.

    I don’t live in the UK, I live on the west coast of Ireland. I would love to have a go at growing the Tree Peonies.

    I can send on a stamped, addressed envelope if that would help?

    I really enjoy your postings.

    Stephen Kelly

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