Six on Saturday – 09 March 2019

Hello everyone, welcome to my Six on Saturday. I’m not going to mention weather this week, save to say it’s been cold and very windy. Swiftly moving on, first we have:-

1. Seedlings

Last week I showed the tiny pepper seedlings. They are now growing well and in another few days will be ready to be potted up. It’s at this stage waves of guilt hit me. Do I pot up all the seedlings? Do I really need 24 pepper plants? Of course I can give away what I don’t want but everyone I know is growing peppers! I hate pulling out and discarding the weaker seedlings, it’s as though I am culling them because they are not as strong as the others.

Living in a flat, I don’t have a greenhouse but large white plastic boxes make for excellent substitutes on my patio. This deep one is especially good, because the sweet peas are romping along and getting tall, despite being pinched out. I also have some tomato plants, they are tiny but look healthy enough and should be quite hardy because they are not being cosseted on a warm windowsill.

2. Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’

I’m not sure why, but I usually grow white or pink hyacinths, always promising myself the fabulous purple of ‘Woodstock’. This year I actually did buy the bulbs and the flower and colour is everything it promises to be.

3. Dahlias

It may still be a little early but I couldn’t hold back any more and I’ve started off my dahlias. They are under cover on the allotment and I will check them regularly. The raised bed cloche consists of a mesh cover and topped with a pvc cover to protect and keep warm. As I mentioned earlier I don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse on the allotment, however this set up should be fine.

4. Rhubarb

I have not grown rhubarb before; this plant is inherited. It looks pretty healthy but I’ve noticed this week something is eating the leaves. Googling health of plants can be almost as dangerous as googling your own health. I’ve read the plant could have a disease called curculio and to remove damaged leaves but I’ve also read that it’s just slugs and as we don’t eat the leaves it’s ok. HELP!!

5. Emsworth Floral Boats

Emsworth has a large sailing fraternity and boasts two sailing clubs. It is no surprise therefore that throughout the village there are rowing boats planted up with seasonal plants. This one on the Mill Pond is looking very pretty, packed with wallflowers, pansies, bulbs and heuchera.

6. Finally – Crocuses

I showed this container in last week’s Six on Saturday. The crocuses had just come out and because I had forgotten I’d planted them, I also mistakenly called them Snow Bunting. Now they are fully open they are Joan of Arc. I think they are also called Jeanne d’Arc, there can’t be two identical crocuses with such similar names but I’m sure someone will put me right. These are planted with deep red wine coloured cyclamens and a skimmia, I love the contrast of colours.

Thank you The Propagator Blog for hosting this great weekly meme. Please peep over the fence and take a look at his Six on Saturday and the very many contributors to Six on Saturday. If you haven’t taken part, give it a go, here is the Participant’s Guide.

Plant Identifier App, Dahlias and West Dean Gardens.

Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those glorious early autumn days, warm in the sun and chilly in the shade. I met up with an old friend who I haven’t seen for several months and we had a wonderful walk and talk afternoon at West Dean Gardens near Chichester.

My friend, a professional gardener, and old time cynic, scoffed at my PlantSnap app and was determined to test it and prove it was rubbish! I was determined to prove it worked, at least the 92% of the time which it claims to be right.

We headed towards the glasshouses (as we always do first) and entered the walled garden. I loved purple and yellow colour schemes and these borders didn’t fail to impress. Here we put the app through its paces.

Gardener friend (GF) identified these as Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’, Saying with glee, “This will test its metal!”. Whilst the app didn’t name it as ‘Little Carlow’ it correctly recognised it as Symphyotrichum, naming it as a Rice Button Aster. A lot of the accuracy is down to taking a clear photo, also there are so many similar asters it would be a big ask to expect it to name it correctly.

The above was recognised as Helianthus Verticillatus common name Whorled Sunflower. At the time of writing I can’t remember what GF called it but he was slowly beginning to be a bit of a convert, begrudgingly admitting it was quite good but not excellent – he is a purist!

It did, however, correctly name the Salvia ‘Amistad’. GF finally got tired of the Gardener’s Knowledge v PlantSnap app game.

We moved on to the cutting garden, where a kaleidoscope of colour met us. The dahlias were magnificent.

There were so many beautiful blooms and West Dean can always be relied on for their labelling. There is nothing so infuriating to see a plant you like and not know what it is – call in PlantSnap!

Apps and labels don’t always help. When I got home I Googled ‘Merrow Clement Andres’ dahlia and nothing came up, so I’m puzzled at this dahlia’s name. Anyone recognise it?The app just identified it as a Dahlia. There were so many I wants to make a note of for next year but the two I particularly liked were easier to find out more info on.

With frost lingering, sadly one morning in the not to distant future the dahlias will be finished. We were lucky to catch them in their last throws of blooming.

Just to clarify, I have not been paid or approached to review PlantSnap, it is just a personal view of the app I downloaded recently and thought it fun to share with you in case you, like me, often wander around a garden looking for a non existent label on an admired plant.