Six On Saturday: Ups and downs

The garden is filling up well but losses are still being revealed. I’m adding to the carnage with my own impatience. Last weekend I cut back a blackcurrant sage, having decided it was dead. Only as I collected the twigs did I notice two small green shoots. I’ve left the roots in in the hope that it will grow back. I’ve also had poor germination with seeds. Again, some of my own making. Old seeds sown in giddy optimism only to end in failure. But new seeds too have not delivered in quantity for me. But there are more and more ups to choose from. Here’s this week’s six.


Starting with an up. This weigela florida ‘Variegata’ was one of the first plants I added to the garden nearly seven years ago. It has been trouble free, delivers lovely pink flowers and has pretty variegated leaves. It’s in the thin border so I have to keep it line with the border edge and it has a midsummer tidy up of the old flowers but otherwise I pretty much leave it alone. It gets an up from me.


Two for the price of one here. Two downs. I unwrapped the agapanthus and lemon tree last weekend. One probable loss of agapanthus and although there is one green stem on the lemon tree I think it will let it go. Following the demise of the large greenhouse in a winter storm there is nowhere to shelter the lemon tree. It was never very happy in an unheated greenhouse so I think it is time to give the space over to something new – and hardier. Happily four agapanthus did survive.


This is a special up because the newish libertias were dug up last year and moved to new locations. At least two are flowering, perhaps the other two will follow this week. Libertia chilensis syn. Libertia grandiflora to give it it’s full name, is described as reliable and long lived. I hope they all settle in and do well in the years to come


Another up and another mover. Tellima grandiflora or fringe cups. I really enjoy these and they are suited to dry shade so that is where they went. But they were not doing so well on one side, perhaps crowded out by other plants. So one group was dug up and moved to a more open space and there they have flourished. I also have one self-seeder which is another plus.


Another plant for dry shade is geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ which has settled in well, and is fighting back the bluebells. I also had geranium macrorrhizum ‘Mount Olympus White’ in this area but so far no sign of a white flower.


Lastly a second group of camassias. These are paler blue and shorter than those shown last week, and I think are the quamash variety. Tsk, tsk, I really should keep my plant list up to date.

We are due some sunshine this weekend, yes please. I did sow parsnip seeds and I think they have had enough watering but are in need of some warmth. The tulips are just finishing and deadheading them is a great way to discover the hiding places of the slugs. My toads in the compost heap are very happy. The roses are all in bud and the delphiniums are climbing. This is the time to walk the garden with a ball of string in hand ready to tie in anything that needs support. Jim’s garden is open once again and he reminds me that SOS has been running for six years. Thanks to our original host The Propagator and to Jim at Garden Ruminations for taking on the baton. Much appreciated.

27 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: Ups and downs

  1. In your place, I’ll give the Agapanthus one last chance. They will grow up from the soil quite easily. Just cut down the dried leaves and wait a little bit. Nothing in June > trash
    On the other hand, the lemon tree looks cooked to me. Nice, the colour of the camassias which is much lighter than the one I have, and that we usually see!

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  2. I always wanted a lemon (had a gigantic Eureka lemon tree in the backyard growing up in California), but alas, no good light indoors for that, and clearly it would never survive outdoors in WI, especially since I have no glasshouse heated or not. Luckily, you have many lovely plants to enjoy!

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  3. Hah! Yes, I was surprised to find slugs hiding in my tulips. They went over very quickly this year and not as elegantly as usual due to the constant mizzle and fog here – just soggy balls, yuk! Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ seems to be very popular with the SOSers. it is lovely but I really have no more room for shrubs. White geraniums seem to be much harder to keep hold of, I have tried several varieties, but most don’t even flower once before disappearing. Your Camassias btw are the same colour as my C. cusickii – which are quite tall and very pale sky blue or possibly Camassia Leichtlinii Caerulea? My others (C. quamash which are shorter) are just coming into bud – there should be some Camassia Leichtlinii Alba too, but I’m not holding my breath.

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    • My pale blue ones are shorter so I’m plumping for quamash. I have a white geranium that does very well here, but I inherited and it can’t confidently name it, but it could be ‘Kashmir’. Hope you white camassias appear!

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  4. Gads! Agapanthus looks horrid! Are you certain that it is dead? I have noticed that it gets frosted in cooler climates in the Sierra Nevada, but have never known it to actually die. When I dig, divide and relocate it, I bury scap rhizomes between the foliated shoots, just to get them to fill in faster. New shoots grow from the bare rhizomes. (Most of us retain only the foliated shoots, but discard the bare rhizomes.) Is the lemon a ‘Meyer’ lemon? If so, it may not be grafted. If you do not see a graft union, you could cut it back to the base. Even if you cut it back to the one remaining green shoot, it could regenerate efficiently.

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    • I’ve cut out the absolutely dead wood and cut back the greenish branches on the lemon and just this week I can see new growth – it may be reborn! The aggie has been completely cut back and I am giving it a few weeks to see if a miracle happens. Finally here, the weather is warming up.

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      • When I split agapanthus, I bury the scrap pieces of rhizomes that lack foliage between the shoots. Some generate new shoots. I can always move them later if they get crowded. I just hate to waste any piecis of rhizomes that might be useful. Anyway, their rhizomes are surprisingly resilient.

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  5. The main cause of losses here is winter wet rather then low temperatures and, like you, we are noting our losses. There are other things growing though!

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    • I ‘ll join you in blaming the cold spring. In addition I’ve also successfully overwatered peat-free compost and pretty much lost some lychnis seedlings! I’m hoping they will dry out and try again 🙂

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  6. When I first grew Liberta chilensis I thought it was a fabulous plant, but it just self sows everywhere and after a few seasons I went right off it. I still have some of the smaller species which only produce a few stray seedlings.

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