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IN WHICH I LEAD YOU DOWN THE GARDEN PATH

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A while ago I showed the Eucharis flowering in a shady (and somewhat neglected!) area along the back fence.

eucharis 3

Marie asked how big the bulb is and if it could be planted in clumps. Well, I had to find out! As the flowers had finished and it needed re-potting (I’d have planted it out, but I have such trouble keeping things watered, what with the rubbish soil and the palm roots and the drought…) this seemed a good opportunity to look at the bits that hide under the soil.

The “pups” are not conjoined so my guess is that they will naturalise easily provided they are in a frost-free position. Marie, that would mean pots in a greenhouse in your case.  And for a guide to size I photographed them on a 16″ cutting mat!

2009_0908eucharis0001

These were in a smallish pot and had not flowered. The flowering ones (medium onion size, as opposed to shallot size) were in a 9″ pot. All of them are now in a shrub tub. No, I don’t know its diameter in either metric or imperial, but I can tell you it’s heavy!

The shrub tub had contained some rocket. Note the tense. Last week’s insanely high temperatures fried the rocket to a pathetic little scrap. You wouldn’t even know it had been rocket! Some lessons I never learn…But I did so want to be able to continue picking it from the back deck.

The Adenium obesum (Desert Rose) was in bud and the poor thing was still in last year’s too-small container. It’s not really good to shuffle things about when they need their energy for fruiting or flowering, but sometimes one has to take risks. So I moved it! As if in gratitude for more root room, it’s opened its first blooms and there are new shoots coming.

A Euphorbia leucacephala that needed regular pruning to avoid scratching the car was finally pulled out and hauled to the dump. Getting the root out took a combined effort from me, The Man and Geiger. I promptly tipped half a bag of potting soil and some well-rotted compost into the hole, watered it thoroughly and it’s now home to another of my  “forgotten treasures.” Since this is something I snagged from a vacant lot a couple of years ago I think it probably can tough it out with the palms. The real difficulty lies with its name (or my spelling of it?)

Since this is about garden plants and since it’s my blog-my rules I’m going to have a major whinge. WILL ALL NURSERYMEN PLEASE STOP SELLING DURANTA! Merde! That is a truly horrible thing! Poisonous in all its parts* and with vicious little spines, berries that drop in their thousands, each one viable, ugly stems if not wisely pruned, difficult yellowy-green leaves…the only kind thing I can say is that the variety “Geisha Lady” smells like vanilla. Oh, yes, the flowers are a good “strong” blue. But, Lady, your days are numbered!

Something else destined for the bin is one of my roses. It was “Just Joey” and for its first two years or so we adored it. But the flood washed silt up to and over the graft. I left “Joey” in the ground, pruned her hard and hoped. But the new growth  was from the  rootstock. Out of curiosty, I let that grow, thinking it might be fun to find out what had been used. In some areas, the old rose “Doctor Huey” was , still is, a favoured rootstock, but as I didn’t know who’d supplied “Joey”…well, worth  a try, I thought. If it ever flowers, I’ll report back… 🙂

Just outside our back gate, prone to the crapping of dogs, the trampling of  workmen who might want to inspect the telephone junction box or the water meter is a Michelia figo, sometimes called Port Wine Magnolia. I probably should not have planted it there, given the traffic, but I thought the scent, wafting up to the living room, would be more pleasant than that of “turdus caninus.” It was looking a bit scruffy the other day so I thought a Spring haircut was in order. Horrors! Look what I found:

Michaelia figo

These revolting little beasties were hell-bent on demolishing my little tree. Husbanded by ants they’d probably have succeeded. But I whipped out my trusty blades, removed the worst-affected stems, hosed off the rest with a jet and am checking it daily.  So far, so good. (If it was cooler I’d probably spray it with white oil, but the temperature’s ‘way too high.)

I also trimmed and took some cuttings from

Dichorysandra

Dichorisandra thyrsifolia… and learned something. Its sap brings the soft skin of my inner wrists up in a blistering rash. Never noticed it before and I’ve been growing  it for over 20 years. Three hours on it still itches, despite having washed and smeared some ointment on the rash.

And now the sun has gone and the moon’s behind a cloud which means I’ll need a flashlight when I go out for some basil. Can’t eat pasta without a generous addition of basil, can I?

* Some years ago, a gardener friend was asked to design a garden for the children’s play area at a McDonalds eatery. They were set on having Duranta, even when my friend pointed out its drawbacks.

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Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

10 thoughts on “IN WHICH I LEAD YOU DOWN THE GARDEN PATH

  1. Just like having Titchmarsh in your living room.

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  2. Ah, yes, I’m not surprised you think this. He was a fine left-hander with the bat, but bowled (pace, I believe?) with the right.

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  3. DEATH TO SCALE INSECTS!!! They’re thinking of having a go at my gardenia tree – every time I think I’ve vanquished them with the white oil I find marauders trying to edge their way back in. Glad to see you took severe measures against them!

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  4. can old Alan play cricket then? Never knew that. Nice flowers Di, bl**dy show off!

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  5. sara…yes, I’m generally a live-and-let-live person, but when they get this bad it’s war!

    ziggi…I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. I’m sure Vicus meant the garden bloke, but in the 19th century there was a cricketing Titchmarsh.Maybe they’re related?

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  6. Plants are sooo dumb.

    When the Alien Insect Overlords finally arrive and subdue us…I’m certain that this little “incident” will show up on somebody’s screen.

    Nice knowin’ ya.

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  7. donn…I’ll be a part of the soiu by then 😉

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  8. it’s all go in your garden, isn’t it!

    will be interesting to see what comes up from that root stock. . . I once saw a white flowering cherry branch grafted onto a pink flowering cherry – not quite the same thing, but thanks for the reminder

    (-:

    (hope the rash has sorted itself out)(and that the pasta was tasty, whatever you put on it!)

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  9. Ooh, thank you for the measuring! But maybe it can go into the garden in Efrica! For some reason I thought the bulbs would be whoppers.

    Going to bed now. Taking the caught pawpaws with me. Just in case 🙂

    Estorbo likes pawpaw. Hadn’t thought of that.

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  10. iltv…still too early to tell. And now you make me want sakura! Alas! Too hot.

    marie…a definite candidate for the Cape area.In a pot to begin, in case it needs to be moved.

    My chief pawpaw boy is no longer here, but he was a demon. Worthy of a post…

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