Six on Saturday: Many a Slip

There are lots of cowslips in the garden, mostly in the streamside grass, that popped up out of nowhere a number of years ago. This week another newcomer has arrived in the same part of the garden, shown above. At first I thought it must be an oxlip, assuming an oxlip is a cross between a cowslip and a primrose – the stems hold themselves like a cowslip, but the blooms are bigger and paler and certainly more primrose-like. Google tells me, however, that oxlip is actually a plant in its own right, and not a cross – but could they still cross-pollinate and produce something different, like a ‘primslip’ or ‘cowrose’?  Or has a cowslip cross-pollinated a nearby Primula denticulata perhaps? It’s all very curious and I am open to any other suggestions…

I would also welcome thoughts about these camassias:

Last year a clump of foliage appeared in the blue & white border and eventually produced white camassia blooms. Now, I have bought camassia bulbs before (and possibly more than once) but they had never shown themselves in any form, so their emergence was a real surprise – especially as they were not included in my Peter Nyssen bulbs invoices back as far as 2017 (not sure if I have any earlier ones). This year at least one blue camassia has emerged too – so what have they been doing all these years? What has changed to encourage them to suddenly appear? I have no idea – have you?

Despite last year’s hot summer, most of my rhododendrons don’t seem to have been adversely affected and look set to flower as usual. ‘Percy Wiseman’ is the latest to open:

I had hoped to write a post during the week, focussing on preparations for our garden openings which are now less than 6 weeks away – once into May, the timescale suddenly seemed to shrink! It seems only a few weeks ago that although I felt generally on top of tasks, many of the plants seemed to be behind – and then there was an issue with the compost and many seeds had to be resown and seedlings repotted. My detailed records show, however, that this is not the case and that I was planting out at more or less the same time as in the previous two and most likely those before that – and probably over 90% of the cutting beds have now been planted up:

I gauged the timing on a combination of the size of the seedlings and the local weather forecast and seem to have judged it satisfactorily, with the bulk of the planting out achieved just before the recent damp weather which was accompanied by milder nights. The weather conditions have really given the plants a boost, with all making noticeable progress in a short time. An end to colder nights has meant seedlings still in the working greenhouse have made good progress too and generally made up for any delays caused by the compost debacle. Antirrhinum and zinnias are not quite ready to go out, but most remaining seedlings are either perennials or afterthought annuals that were only s0wn a month ago. Most of the dahlias are outside now as well, either planted out or in pots for potential sale, with bedding plants going out too when pots become available.

This weekend has been showery, as promised, but between showers I have managed to rebuild the brick plinth for the displaced sink I showed last week, a task requiring considerable stretching of my little legs to get over the sink as I to and froed with bricks and mortar. You don’t want to see that though, especially as it is covered up to protect it from the rain, so have a look at some of the nearby and still pristine miniature hostas instead:

That’s my Six on Saturday, but do visit our host Jon the Propagator’s blog for more.

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30 Responses to Six on Saturday: Many a Slip

  1. cavershamjj says:

    Sounds like a busy time! I’m impressed with your cuttings bed plants, mine are nowhere near ready to go out.

    • Cathy says:

      For the avoidance of doubt, they are beds for cutting of bloom and not beds for planting out cuttings – just in case you thought otherwise!

  2. bcparkison says:

    garden surprises are always welcome…unless it is another weed.

  3. smallsunnygarden says:

    Whatever your ‘slips’ are, the flowers and habit are both quite pretty. I wonder whether your Camassias might be responding favorably to last summer’s heat, being from North America… I really wouldn’t know, just a wild guess!

    • Cathy says:

      Possibly, but they like moisture too – perhaps a combination of conditions perhaps? Even so, for not even foliage to have appeared for several years is really odd…

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Percy Wiseman was the trendy rhododendron around 1995 or a bit later. We could not grow it fast enough. Unfortunately, it is not a good cultivar for the climates near here.

    • Cathy says:

      It is certainly common in the UK, Tony

      • tonytomeo says:

        ‘Common’ or ‘popular’?

        • Cathy says:

          More like readily available, so bought by a lot of people who want a rhododendron but not a specific variety

          • tonytomeo says:

            Oh, like our Anah Kruschke. It was our most ‘common’ cultivar, and is fortunately one of the more appropriate cultivars for most of the climates here. I know that ‘common’ is not necessarily good, but there are a few cultivars that should be common, and a few of the rare sorts that should not be bothered with. For example, Christmas Cheer, which is popular in the Pacific Northwest does not bloom well here at all, but was more popular than it should have been.

          • Cathy says:

            Probably true of many types of plant, Tony – Salvia ‘Amistad’ for example, which is very popular here but I don’t think it is reliably hardy and it flowers later than you would expect it to

  5. My camassias are quite finicky. I get loads of foliage every year but often very few flowers. Internet says they like it “sunny and moist, or drier with a little shade”…It looks like it may be a good year, I’m seeing quite a few flower stalks starting… Love the cowslip shape and colour!!!

  6. Pauline says:

    According to my book on Primulas written by the owners of Barnhaven Primulas, oxlips are Primula elatior. The cross between Primula vulgaris and Primula veris makes a false oxlip which has been used to make the polyanthus which we see everywhere today, sold as bedding plants. I have quite a few in my garden, some have come up orange coloured and one even came up coloured red, but that one didn’t last very long. My orange one must be well over 10 years old by now. I usually dig mine up when they appear and plant them all together as I don’t want them messing with the gene pool in the rest of the garden!

  7. Noelle M says:

    Are the miniature Hostas for miniature slugs and snails only? The slate sets them off very nicely.

  8. Paddy Tobin says:

    As Pauline says above, this is a False Oxlip, the cross between the primrose and the cowslip. It has happened in the garden here, some with pleasant colours, and I found some in the wild on Friday morning – well, not very wild, a graveyard!

    • Cathy says:

      Thnaks for confirming this Paddy – the info she gave was really interesting

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        The term ‘False Oxlip’ is, as far as I know, only applied to the cross between the two species – Primula vulgaris and P. veris, primrose X cowslip, and not similar crosses between garden cultivars.

        • Cathy says:

          It’s not a term I have heard before, Paddy, and it is always good to learn somethig new

          • Paddy Tobin says:

            I first came across it in my interest in wildflowers.

          • Cathy says:

            Yes, sweat them in butter until browned. The recipe says 3 onions and 100g mushrooms for a 500g flour focaccia, but I never weigh the mushroms and probably only use 2 onions. Add chopped basil to the dough if you have it

  9. Cathy says:

    I am sure Primulas do cross-pollinate as I had a pink cowslip one year. As I see in the above comment it must have been a false oxslip. And I have had similar experience with Camassias disappearing for several years and then popping up again… good to hear you have seen the same and I am not imagining it! No idea why, I’m afraid. One of life’s mysteries! 😉

    • Cathy says:

      I think I will just have to be grateful they have appeared at all, even if they took several years to do it!

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