Six on Saturday: the Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly

Mostly good, thank goodness, like these lovely nerines in the Coop, clockwise from top left: the ordinary Nerine bowdenii, then N bowdenii ‘Alba’, ‘Albivetta’ and my favourite ‘Mr John’. I choose to grow them in pots under cover and although the Coop does not provide them with the baking sun that they like, I am regularly getting a smattering of flowers in the autumn.

Also in the Coop is the first hint of colour on the two indoor ‘fantasy’ chrysanthemums, ‘Salhouse Joy’ on the left, ‘Kiyomi No Meisui’ on the right, the latter (new for this year) suggesting a purple rather than the pure white bloom it is meant to be. These should both produce blooms with spidery tentacles in due course which, when you consider all the months it has taken to get to the stonking size the plants have become, should be worth waiting for. Last year, sadly, ‘Salhouse Joy’ quickly fell foul of whitefly and I was only able to enjoy a few blooms before cutting it right to the ground became the only solution. I am on standby this year to nip the problem in the bud, should it arise again!

Also on the ‘good’ spectrum is the continued change in shade of the witch hazel foliage, with any remaining green on those I showed last week brushed over with yellow, after a week of rapid change in the garden as it takes on an overwhelmingly autumnal appearance:

Thinking ahead to the joys of the snowdrop season, I am delighted to have the first signs of my collection appearing in the last couple of weeks, having added two autumn flowering varieties last year. Sadly, someone has already got to Galanthus reginae-olgae ‘Cambridge’ (right), which had been sporting two flower buds, but fortunately G elwesii ‘Barnes’ (left) remains unscathed.

Looking bad was the ‘rust’ I spotted on the trays of Bellis perennis in the greenhouse, waiting to be planted out this weekend to support pots of tulips. It is intriguingly powdery in appearance, is not something I have encountered before and requires further investigation, but in the meantime I have used the same fungal spray I would use on roses. Any further information from knowledgable people out there would be welcome.

*Jim of Garden Ruminations has helpfully identified it as daisy rust, Puccinia distincta, a species first reported in Britain at the end of the 1990s but becoming more common.

The ugly contributor to my Six on Saturday today is a shameful example of dying disgracefully, a seasonal occurrence those of us with crab apple Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ would gladly do without. Let’s hope Jon the Propagator, the host of this meme, and other SoS contributors have more pleasant photos to share!

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23 Responses to Six on Saturday: the Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly

  1. Jim Stephens says:

    I just Googled rust on Bellis and didn’t like what I found. Another new disease to contend with. See https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269915X98800542 and https://www.naturespot.org.uk/node/124508 if you haven’t already. It’s an uphill battle this gardening lark.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you so much for this Jim. I had only seen it yesterday for the first time and my my quick Google seemed to refer just to rust on shrubby things like roses. I certainly didn’t expect it to be as specific as this, and interestingly on the map in the NatureSpot article we are right on the western fringe, just across the county border. I shall remove the infected leaves and dispose of them and plant them out as planned, perhaps with my fingers crossed. If I had got them planted out a little earlier perhaps they would not have succumbed! I will add a note to the post with your identification

  2. Your eaten snowdrops look like my Muscari – the tips of all the emerging leaves nibbled off, by slugs, I presume. Aside from the leaves, I like the Malus apples!

    • Cathy says:

      That seems to happen with muscari – it certainly does here! I always think they are in too much of a hurry emerging at this time anyway!

  3. Cathy says:

    Mostly beautiful, Cathy! I feel a chrysanth urge coming on. Virtually my first job in horticulture was disbudding them for use as cut flowers in a Southwark parks dept nursery (the good old days!). It was such a peaceful job and the buds you’ve photographed are rather scrumptious! I’ve turned away from the rust pictures – and glad Jim seems to have found more info even if a little disheartening!

    • Cathy says:

      What an intriguing start to a horticultural career! I intuitively removed a crop of additional buds from around each terminal one, knowing what happened last year where the open flowers crowded each other out. I try to be open-minded about chrysanthemums but still can’t really warm to them, although I have added a few hardy varieties and thses two in the greenhouse, but I wouldn’t be unhappy if they all failed!!

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    I adore the nerines. We also grow a few in pots in the glasshouse – ‘Zeal Giant’, N. filifolia and a few others. Those two are doing especially well this year but others have been tardy to perform. Galanthus ‘Barnes’ is peeping above ground here (Waterford, south-east Ireland) while ‘Cambridge’ has become leggy and floppy in a pot in the glasshouse as I have always found them very difficult in the open garden. I have managed a few G. ‘Tilebarn Jamie’ in a trough against the wall of the house, hot and dry. The outdoor snowdrops will come along in a charge now.

    • Cathy says:

      Interesting to hear about your nerines – it amazes me seeing them growing in gardens where my Mum lives, one of the Inner Hebridean islands, in wet and exposed conditions. I will watch out for legginess in Cambridge – you must be quite wet in SE Ireland, surely… does that affect your outdoor snowdrops and their desire to lie dormant over summer? I resisted early varieties till now, as I felt they needed somewhere where they would not be hidden, but I have resolved that. My main specials have a bed of their own. Yes, keeping half an eye out is now in order…!

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        G. reginae olgae has always been a challenge in the open garden for me because, I believe, our damp summer conditions didn’t give them the summer baking they need. I started growing them in pots in the glasshouse about ten years ago, stopping watering when the foliage had died down and standing them in the sunniest, hottest spot in the glasshouse where they baked for the entire summer. I then water them at the end of August and they flower about four weeks later. I grow G. peshmenii and G. fosteri in the same manner. All other snowdrops do perfectly fine outdoors; they do very well actually and increase well in numbers. G. ‘Barnes’ is up as is G. ‘Hogget’s Narrow’ – a new one for me. Re nerines: We have a big number of N. bowdenii in the garden and they do very well there for us.

        • Cathy says:

          Thanks for such a detailed reply, Paddy. It is always interesting to hear about other people’s snowdrops and amazing to hear how quickly your potted ones flower once you strat watering them! Do you have many ‘no shows’ amongst the ones in your garden? SadIy I always have a few that don’t reappear

          • Paddy Tobin says:

            I have had a few finicky ones and have lost a few but, sure, it’s not the end of the world. A single bulb of a new acquisition is always more at risk than a well established clump and their losses are more noticeable while there might actually be quite a large loss within a big clump but it can go unnoticed. I’m not inclined to buy a lot, very few to be honest, as they are frightfully expensive and very few of the new cultivars attract me. There is money to be made in introducing a new name and the snowdrops doesn’t have to be any improvement on what those already available. I swap/exchange with friends and am very happy with those that come to me in that way.

          • Cathy says:

            I too am trying to be more selective now, but I have lost a few favourites along the way which I try and replace when I can. Exchanging goes on at this end too!

  5. Anna says:

    The nerines must be especially welcome at this juncture of the year Cathy. I like them all although my eyes were drawn to the white. Oh how irritating that ‘Cambridge’ has been munched before it could flower. The cheek! I have a few snouts showing in my potted collection and one variety not far off from flowering. Exciting times ahead for both of us 😄

    • Cathy says:

      Always a relief when a new variety appears the following year! I think I updated my map and list towards the end of their season, but I will check, to be in readiness for the next one. Exciting times, as you say, and no doubt you will share your first show with us 😊

  6. Heyjude says:

    Shame about the rust. My fuchsias were badly affected last year. It really does affect the flowers. Never heard of a specific daisy rust though. That’s worrying. I have a lot of daisy flowers.

  7. croftgarden says:

    Oh such a sad tale of woe, but the nerines pretty. For some reason Nerines seem to like Scottish conditions, provided you can give them a dry spot in the summer. I failed miserably with them, they seemed to be very susceptibe to viruses.
    Great photograph of the Puccinia – if your Bellis fail, I’ll send you a bag of the hardy Hebridean variety!

    • Cathy says:

      Don’t know you saw one of my reples to another comment, in whch I said nerines seem to do well on Luing, where they certainly won’t stand much chance of a dry spot in summer – but I suppose the shallow slatey soil might help them to bake when it is sunny! Despite the potential delights of your hardy Hebridean daisies I am hoping that mine will get over their virus, but what is the botanist’s prognosis?

  8. Chloris says:

    Great to see your nerines Cathy. The Chrysanthemum ‘Salhouse Joy’ you gave me is full of buds. I am excited to see the flowers.

    • Cathy says:

      The nerines are at least a partial success, which I am thrilled about. Good to know that your cutting has thrived – it amazes me how much growth they can make in one season!

  9. Prue Batten says:

    Nerines are so lovely, aren’t they? I have a ‘thing’ for white ones. And on the bright side of ‘grazed’ snowdrops, it doesn’t take long for our gardens to remind us that the next season is faithfully rolling round, no matter what. Do you use any sort of proprietary snail or slug killer? I have to say that much as I don’t want to, when I plant new seedlings or bulbs begin to show, I do use a snail killer. Yikes – don’t judge me…

    • Cathy says:

      There is something special about pure white blooms, I think. Re molluscs, I used nematodes for the first time this year on my hostas and that seemed to help, although I should have followed it up with a second dose later, but they only work with slugs and not snails. There have definitely been less slugs around generally here although we do have active hedgehogs which I hope are earning their keep! I will certainly not judge you for using pellets, Prue, as I also use the ‘natural’ slug pellets when I plant out dahlias and sunflowers – and if I find random damage in the greenhouse as teeny slugs or snails tend to hide under the cell trays and come out at night and nibble their favourite seedlings!

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