Six on Saturday. The Day of the Triffids.

My posts are getting like buses; long gaps then they all come together. But I couldn’t let another day go by without celebrating my triffid. Eight years ago I bought a plant of Beschorneria yuccoides. I didn’t have high hopes for it because it comes from Mexico and it is not reliably hardy. But I gave it a south facing wall and hoped for the best. It is well named because the plant looks like a large yucca and is quite architectural. But this year it surprised me by producing a flower spike which grew and grew. It is quite magnificent and I shan’t be surprised if it starts attacking us as we go past it as it looks quite menacing.

Beschorneria yucciodes
Beschorneria yucciodes

It grows from rosettes of glaucous, spiky foliage.

Beschorneria yuccoides
Beschorneria yucciodes

It looks as if some mad professor has been at work in this part of the garden, because not only do I have a triffid, but also giant hostas which are so huge they look as if they have been genetically modified.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is great for pots as it has such presence and it has leathery leaves which aren’t quite so attractive to molluscs. I have to add that I have grown it before in a pot and never got it to look like these. I am looking after them for my son for reasons which I will go into another time. Readers of my blog may remember the posts I have written about his fabulous jetty garden and his greenest of greenfingers. We won’t be returning there as Bertie and Beatrice have moved on which is sad in some ways as it was unique. But now they are creating a new garden, and you can depend upon it that it is exciting and unique in quite a different way; and it will be stunning. They have taken most of their plants but I have been left caring for these two monsters. Unlike Bertie, I am not inclined to go out at night with a torch and there is no river to throw the snails into. So I do worry about them, but so far, they are fine.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

For my number three I would like to share a little tree which I am particularly fond of; it is Cornus alternifolia, commonly known as the Pagoda tree. It is such an elegant shape with layered branches, small variegated leaves and white flowers. It is similar to the Wedding Cake tree, Cornus controversa which has larger leaves and grows into a larger tree, I have a small one of these but the wretched Muntjac deer has grazed on the branches on one side ruining its elegant appearance. But this little tree is safe as it lives nearer to the house by the small pond.

Cornus alternifolia ‘Variegata’

Growing nearby and making a lovely contrast is the peerless Forest Pansy, Cercis canadensis. I love the this tree and I am very envious of my daughter who has found one with weeping form.

Cornus alternifolia and Cercis canadensis
Cercis canadensis

I like having different sorts of foliage round my little pond.

Whilst we are talking foliage I must share a lovely form of berberis which you don’t often find. It has tiny yellow flowers but you don’t grow the blue barberry for its flowers. The dusty blue leaves are really striking. They are a great foil for yellow flowers, in this case the daisy flowers of Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C.Buxton’. Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ grows alongside it.

Berberis temolaica
Berberis temolaica

Recently I was talking about my love of brown flowers and I got the feeling that some of my fellow bloggers thought that my idea of a brown bed is a bit weird. But what do you feel about grey flowers? Last week I had a garden club visiting my garden and nearly everyone asked me about this little grey beauty.

Papaver ‘Amazing Grey’

I grew ‘Amazing Grey’ poppy for the first time last year and I was dazzled by it. It is an easy sprinkle on the ground annual and several seed companies offer it now. It comes out in a variety of slate grey, pearly grey and even a dusky pink. Some of them are double, some single, but all are gorgeous. To see this poppy is to want it.

Papaver ‘Amazing Grey

So there we have my Six on Saturday. And it all came courtesy of my triffid which wouldn’t allow me to let it go unrecorded. Do visit the Propagator who hosts this meme. You might not find triffids but you will come across lots of June beauties displayed by all his eager followers.

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42 Responses to Six on Saturday. The Day of the Triffids.

  1. I had to look up your yucca to see if it grew in my area as anything from Mexico usually does well. I saw it prefers a dry condition, so it would be hit or miss for me. Your Amazing Grey poppies have such a special color. As always, I love seeing all your beautiful plantings.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you. The Beschorneria should do well for you, it it much better suited to your climate than mine. You have to wait a long time for the flowers but meanwhile itt is a handsome plant.

  2. fredgardener says:

    So beautiful photos Chloris ! I love the large leaves of your hosta. Unfortunately it’s not just me who love them and the slugs must have spotted it… About the Cornus alternifolia, how old is this shrub? I have wanted to buy a cornus controversa for a long time, but I can’t find a beautiful and isolated spot to highlight it. Your variety seems a little smaller and maybe would do the trick

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Fred. And thank you for making me realise that to my shame I had spelt Cornus controversa wrong, I have corrected it now. My cornus is about 14 years old from a tiny cutting I brought with me from my old garden. I don’t think it grows much taller, maybe about 2 metres. Anyway, it is a pretty alternative to the wonderful, but much taller Cornus controversa.

  3. bcparkison says:

    Te grey is beautiful. I love how it is crinkled like fine material of a ballgown.

  4. And hello again! Congrats on the beschorneria, looking amazing. I loved the Jetty Garden, looking forward to seeing what they have been up to at their new place. I think I like the grey poppy, I’m not 100% sure but pretty certain. In real life I am sure it is stunning. All about placement I would imagine. And you are very good at that!

  5. susurrus says:

    I’ve sprinkled some P. ‘Amazing Grey’ in Mum’s garden this year. I’m hoping they’ll look as good as yours, but it is a battle with the slugs there and I haven’t seen many signs of them yet. I had to plant late as we had so many late ground frosts.

  6. Heyjude says:

    As usual a visit to your garden is a joy. The hostas are amazing! A shame we won’t be back to the jetty garden as I loved accompanying you on your visits there, but I am sure they will have the most wonderful garden in their new abode.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Haven’t heard of triffids before. Interesting plant. The gray flowers appeal to me. Love the poppy. A couple years ago I bought some hellebores with decidedly gray flowers that were fascinating. Apparently I didn’t take care of them!! Hope you take care.

    • Chloris says:

      The Day of the Triffids is the title of a famous book by John Wyndham written in 1951. After a meteor shower blinds people, killer plants called triffids attack them. It sounds silly but it is frightening to read; it has been made into a film.

  8. Kris P says:

    I’m happy to see your blog posts whenever they turn up 😉 Your Beschorneria has performed better than mine, which has done precisely nothing (other than failing to actually die). I suspect mine gets far too little sun as it was gradually shaded by other plants over the course of the years since it was planted. I suppose I should move it. I sowed seeds of that same ‘Amazing Grey’ poppy last winter but got not a single seedling, which I’m going to blame on our pathetically low rainfall rather than the gardener’s inattention. Your trees are spectacular.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Kris. It took years for my beschorneria to bloom so don’t give up hope. The poppy doesn’t always germinate. Only one of the ones I sowed last autumn germinated but I have self seeded ones in another part of the garden. My policy this year is to sow them at different times and see what happens.

  9. I haven’t seen the Beschornia reminds me of Bromeliad flowers though some Yuccas outdo the Broms..have you seen the Foxtail Agave, mad cool, another outer space plant. I grew Sum and Substance further north, my favorite Hosta, I think! Good luck with the slugs.

  10. Anna says:

    Those hostas looks as if they are on steroids Chloris. Oh it’s sad that you will not be visiting the jetty garden again but no doubt Bertie and Beatrice will have much fun creating a new garden and will produce an equally magical space. A beautiful poppy. I bought some seed in the spring but then forgot to sow it so I suppose it will have to wait for another year 😢 I’m getting pleasure from my self-seeded ‘Lauren’s Grape’ poppies at the moment.

    • Chloris says:

      The hostas are giving me a lot of pleasure. We are sad that we can’t spend time on the jetty garden any more but very excited about their new project. It is going to take a lot of hard work but it will be wonderful. You can sow your poppy seeds in early autumn. I looked up ‘Lauren’s Grape’, it looks lovely.

  11. What an interesting selection of plants. I do hope the brown border does come to fruition one day, but in the meantime the grey poppy is very beautiful.

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    P. ‘Amazing Grey’ is a stunner. Loved the assortment around your pond, too. A fab six (per usual)!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Eliza.I am pleased with the planting round the pond, it is well established now.. I did it to deter the heron but it looks very pretty.

  13. tonytomeo says:

    Wow! I had not seen a gray poppy in many years. Actually, I do not know this particular cultivar, and I do not remember the species of the gray poppy that I experienced. There was a species of poppy that I read about many years ago, but have been unable to identify again, that bloomed with only three options for color, and one of those colors was gray. Although I am not so keen on brown flowers, there is a brown with lavender bearded iris that I want. I have rules against purchasing bearded iris, but would purchase this one if I every found it. The name is ‘San Jose’!

    • Chloris says:

      ‘Amazing Grey’ is a relatively new variety of Papaver rhoeas. It is not just grey, sometimes shimmering silver, sometimes brushed with pink or lavender, but always lovely. I haven’t heard of ‘San Jose’ butI do have somebrown bearded irises.

  14. I thought the Triffids were an imaginary plant, originating in Dr. Seuss or Star Trek (wasn’t there an episode, “Trouble with Triffids”? But no. It is truly fantastic, in all senses of the word, as are your massive Hostas. I like your combination of small trees very much.

  15. PS- I think the urge to post waxes and wanes with developments in the garden.

    • Chloris says:

      With me, it is weather related. If it is raining, I catch up with writing commitments; my blog or one of the publications I write for. If it is sunny, nothing will drag me indoors.

  16. Cathy says:

    If you stop blogging for a longer period I will know that plant has swallowed you up! It does look rather menacing, but also fascinating. The grey poppy is something I could love but not necessarily want to have in my own garden. I wonder what colour will be bred next. I would however love both your Cornus and Cercis in my garden, although I fear they may get scorched by wind and sun here! Good luck with the hostas. 😃🐌

    • Chloris says:

      With al, the rain we have had I am probably at risk of getting swallowed up by the garden. The silky flowers of ‘Amazing Grey’ look like a very expensive sophisticated evening dress.

  17. snowbird says:

    Goodness, your triffid is indeed fearsome!!! I do love your son’s giant hostas, oh, I will miss their Jetty garden but I’m sure their next garden will be as original and beautiful. Your sweet poppies are just

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Dina. We will really miss the beautiful jetty garden and the days we spent on the river. They are making something spectacular where they are now and it will be wonderful, although there is a massive amount of work involved.The trouble is, from our point of view, they are a long way away. They do make regular videos of what they are doing though which are wonderfully entertaining. I keep trying to persuade them to put them on youtube, people would love them, but so far they insist it is just for family.

  18. Wow, that IS exciting! Something in the soil? All the plants look very healthy, actually. I am jealous of your poppies, as I’ve never had success growing them. I might try some in pots next growing season. The color of that poppy is really special, too.

    • Chloris says:

      Maybe, it is all the rain we have had this year, although I cannot take any credit for Bertie’s fabulous hostas. This is a variety of the field poppy, Papaver rhoeas, it is worth persevering with.

  19. Cathy says:

    Those hostas are stunning, Chloris – are you managing to keep them pristine, or did you pick off the shredded leaves before you took the photo?!! Are they likely to be reclaimed, do you think? I love the abundance of the foliage around your pond. I remember your grey poppy from last year and did look into seeds at the time but they did not seem to be readily available but I will have another look (or perhaps you might have a few spare to throw into an envelope…?)

    • Chloris says:

      I used slug pellets I’m afraid. Bertie thinks he will get his hostas back some time, but given the circumstances I don’t see how. But he has taken plenty of others with him. I’ll make sure you get some poppy seeds this year Cathy.

      • Cathy says:

        Organic pellets are one of my many means of defence too. Actually, I have seen very few slugs this year, but an increased number of snails, so perhaps the nematodes and hedgehogs really do make a difference. Would hedgehogs cope with the shells of snails? Not sure. And yes, I thought it might be unlikely the hostas were reclaimed…! Thanks in advance for any poppy seeds that might come in my direction 😊

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