Surprising and Not So Surprising

I was astonished this week to find a bloom on agapanthus grown from HPS seed sown in January 2019, especially as I am still awaiting blooms on agapanthus from seed collected some years prior to this. I have no idea of the variety, nor how tall it will grow, but at the moment I am too thrilled to be at all concerned about this uncertainty.

I spotted the bloom when cutting down my sweet peas and dismantling their support, which in itself was a bit of a surprise in itself as it was not premeditated; I had cut them back about a month ago and was pleased that they had started to rebloom, but I found I was unable to keep up with picking them and increasingly they were going to seed, so almost on a whim I took them out.

Removing them opened up the beds behind and it was good to get a clear and unimpeded view of the dahlias, which have done really well – as they usually do.

One of my tasks for this week was summer pruning the wisteria, and earlier in the week I pruned the lower stems – those I could reach from the stepladder – which removed all those wispy tendrils that made passage down the back of the house awkward and got trapped whenever I closed the kitchen windows.

Fortunately I had time to finish the job today , with the Golfer footing the ladder for the highest sections. When I winter pruned last year I removed the highest horizontal stem to discourage tendrils from clambering under and over the solar panels, and this meant pruning only required one section of extendable ladder and the maximum stretch of my arms, making it an easier task than previous years.

My sixth photo for today’s Six on Saturday, the meme hosted by friendly blogger Jonathan the Propagator, could have shown an empty space outside the back door where until today  there were a number of plants waiting to be planted out – that would have been a surprise! – but I have to confess that only some have been planted, the others having been moved down to the Blue & White border to continue to await planting, hopefully sometime over this long weekend. Instead, having failed to capture a busy bee on this self-seeded sunflower, I marvelled instead at the rogue petals growing out of the central boss.

This entry was posted in cutting beds, dahlias, Gardening, Gardens, Six on Saturday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Surprising and Not So Surprising

  1. Your dahlias are impressive. Having seen some beautiful ones posted on various this week, I’ve decided to try growing some from seed. That is a very interesting sunflower and its peals are a wonderful colour as well as being roguish.

    • Cathy says:

      Growing dahlias from seed can be fun, and you can then select the ones you like best to keep – or just resow them each year. I have grown them from seed but stick with my favourites now, lifting the tubers over winter.

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh, don’t remind me of wisteria! I close some in the door every time I go in and out! It’s really too big for the trellis, with nowhere else to go.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    It seems to me that agapanthus are more punctual with their schedule within climates with more defined seasons, even if the climate is mild. In coastal climates, they can bloom early or quite late. I remember them with sporadic bloom in the Pacific Northwest. (They got my attention because they were potted for relocation to shelter through winter.)

    • Cathy says:

      Interesting observation, Tony. This one is still in a one litre pot and I am now reluctant to repot it or plant it out in case it puts it off flowering next year!!

      • tonytomeo says:

        Whether they bloom early or late, not much prevents them from blooming. They are rather intent on that once they get what they want. Repotting does not stress them at all.

        • Cathy says:

          Don’t think that’s the case in the UK, Tony, as some supposedly like to have their roots restrained and I guess your climate is more like South Africa than ours!!

          • tonytomeo says:

            Yes, our climates are similar to those of South Africa. (Actually, the climates of portions of South Africa are similar to the climates here.) I was not aware that some prefer confinement. Almost all of our are Agapanthus orientalis. A few are Agapanthus africanus. Agapanthus praecox and its hybrids are only beginning to become available here; and I have never grown any of them. I probably never will, since I am so pleased with my old Agapanthus orientalis. They look compelling though. If I could fine one with purple flowers that resembles the common blue and white Agapanthus orientalis that are already here, I would be very tempted. It would be rad if there were a red Agapanthus!

          • Cathy says:

            Haha, yes, so why stop at purple and red…?!😉

          • tonytomeo says:

            I am none too keen on purple, but others are. Blue and white are good enough for me, but because they are ‘fireworks’ flowers that happen to be in full bloom for Independence Day, red would be SO appropriate.

          • tonytomeo says:

            Anyway, except for red, I crave no other color in agapanthus. There are other flowers for other colors. Yellow or orange agapanthus would be . . . weird.

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    There has been a regular discouragement against any high ladder work on my part and we recently removed ivy from the gable end of the house. It seems to me that you were quite high up with your wisteria. As delightful as these climbers are to us, there is the danger that the day comes when they are too high and it is such a pity to lose them – though Mary has commented again and again at how happy she is to see the back of the ivy!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, you are right to be increasingly cautious, Paddy, but well done on clearing that ivy while you still can – and getting Brownie poits for it!! I wouldn’t let the Golfer loose on pruning the wisteria – nor painting the exterior of the house, actually – and despite valiantly cutting down the oak tree last year he finds he is now reluctant in the face of another tree that could probably do with being removed. I am a few years behind him age-wise, though, and hopefully there is plenty of life in us both yet…!

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We keep going as long as we can and when we have to hand over to others it comes with a cost: A representative from a Tree Service company called today to give a quotation on some work we need done – the removal of five medium sized trees, the removal of low branches of four mature trees and the raising of the crowns of two silver birches – a total of €2,500 + V.A.T. and €500 to remove all material. Expensive, but the work is well beyond me with some of the large branches 20 – 40 feet above ground.

        • Cathy says:

          Too true, but ouch! Even if you look at the average per tree that’s hugely pricey 🙄 Is there much competition in your area? I know tree surgeons in our area are really busy (or were when we were looking for stump removal) but we found a rough and ready but qualified young man who worked mostly on his own and his prices were tolerable. We will need to come to a decision soon on the 3 silver birch we are considering removing – they are not quite as solid as the oak tree was!

  5. Sleastie says:

    Jealous of your dahlias! How lovely they are. I remember how they smell and the fleshy feel of them too. So nice!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I agree they are very distinctive in the nature of their growth – and their height in just the season still astonishes me!

  6. Heyjude says:

    I’m not so keen on high ladder work either. I’m going to have to get someone in to trim back the climbing hydrangea and Virginia creeper that is now making its way through the gutter and onto the roof. It’s not even that high, but the ground beneath is not even.

    • Cathy says:

      We have some aluminium scaffolding which is more stable and can make working easier, but for roughly snipping the stems the ladder was much quicker, even though I was surrounded in foliage when accessing the upper ones! If you are not comfortable on a ladder, whatever the height, it is better not to do it.

  7. Cathy says:

    The Wisteria is certainly high maintenance, so I do hope the pigeons leave it alone in the spring. I have also noted some weird sunflowers with bits growing out the centre and find them quite intriguing!

    • Cathy says:

      The pruning is only twice a year, Cathy, and is one of my seasonal ‘rites of passage’, so in many ways I look forward to it – probably takes little over a couple of hours in total during the year. It would make sense to do the covering in fleece alongside the winter prune, as I am certainly not going to give the pigeons even half a chance next year!!

  8. Noelle M says:

    I wish I had discovered long handled snappers for the wisteria in my previous garden. I talked about my new tool a few weeks ago, it really is good to reach up high. I reckon if you had the 1.5m long one you would hardly have to get out the ladder.

    • Cathy says:

      Do you know, it had not even occurred to me to use ours (and we have extendable ones, so longer than 1.5m!!) – definitely somethng to consider for the next pruning, although winter pruning is more surprise and I might be able to judge the buds accurately from ground level, but for summer pruning they would be a boon, I think…just need to remeber 12 months down the line…!

  9. You’ve been busy. How wonderful about the Agapanthus! I’ve tried to get Wisteria really going here for years. The vines are lovely over my trellis, but they’ve never bloomed…not enough sun, I’m sure. If I ever move to a sunnier garden, I’ll take a potted cutting with me.

    • Cathy says:

      The agapanthus is still only in a one litre pot, Beth, so just a small plant. My wisteria took 6 years before it bloomed, which is not unusual – how long you have had yours? I cried when I saw the first buds…!

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