Jack's Autumn Diary


Mark
Home gardener & plant fetishist
User avatar
Berkeley, California, USA

Glad to hear you made out okay, Jack.

26 May '07 9:43 pm
I hope you don't lose too many plants that are important to you. There is a good chance your lemon will be back. I've had a Meyer's killed to the ground by the cold come back two years later. I think we have similar climatic expectations with the difference that cold air doesn't drain down anywhere because we're pretty much at the bottom. The areas that are up in the hills around here have a "banana-belt" reputation on that account. Not that I can complain. When I think of all that Gordonn manages with his three seasons I realize just how much easier I (and you I think) have it with only two, wet and dry, in a mediterranean climate. Then there is Chris in Saskatchewan with an indisputably full set of four seasons.
Mark in California

Q: "Do you ever sit down?"
A: "All the time until the urge to 'play' some more becomes too strong."

gordonf
Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

English!!

27 May '07 4:05 pm
Hi, Jack;

Isn't English great, what with all the different terms for the same thing used in different parts of the world! I think you've got it right about the term, "dam". Some people call it a "barrage", but in any case, it IS the wall that holds back the water.

And if you ever do get the chance to visit this area, PLEASE stop and see me and my little garden!

Now, on to today's gardening. I transplanted 3 dozen Primula florindae seedlings (they grow to 2 feet high!) and I probably have 2 dozen more to do from the same 4" pot of seedlings! I still have a couple more pots of Primula seedlings to do, but not as many germinated in them (thank goodness! :lol: ). I noticed that the Phygelius that I thought I had killed by overly-enthusiastic pruning is alive and growing like a weed! What a nice surprise! Tomorrow I have to work, but afterward, I really must transplant the tiny Phygelius "Moonraker" that I grew from a cutting. It's being really cramped in its tiny 4" pot.

I really liked the 2 pictures that you posted today. Swamp Cypresses sound so romantic and spooky at the same time. For me, they conjure up images of southern swamps with alligators and snakes as well as Southern mansions! They certainly are majestic trees, aren't they, and what an autumn display they make!

And that blue flower which I've never heard of, is very pretty, too. Is it a very common wildflower there?

Well, thanks for the information about the weather, as I was somewhat concerned. I had no idea that it ever got that cold in S.A. (except for high on the mountain peaks)! Shows how much I know! :roll: Have a good week, and take care of yourself!

Cheers!

gordonf

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
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SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Phygelius

27 May '07 4:48 pm
I must tell you a lovely story about tese plants, Gordon.

I was at Sissinghurst (by the way, check out the garden on this link for a feast of gardening pictures http://www.invectis.co.uk/sissing/index.htm )when I commented on a flower. One woman said: "That is Phygelius. Don't you know it? You're both from South Africa!" Must admit I'd never heard of it, and have never seen it for sale except as species in specialised indigenous nurseries - not then, not since.

But on my first visit back to the farm I noticed a new flower growing in masses below the dam wall (that word again -I know the use of barrage)and went to investigate. It was Phygelius aequalis! Ironically, although I've often threatened to, in 12 years I've never introduced it into the garden. Possibly comment on how far superior the hybrids are to the species.

Actually it might have more to do with the lack of orange in my garden... but Mark has inspired me to do an orange and wine-red something this coming summer. There: as the day dawns white with frost and the sun touches the treetops across the valley, I start planning my next season!

gordonf
Happy Collector
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Lillooet, BC, Canada

Phygelius

27 May '07 5:58 pm
Hi again, jack;

The hybrid phygelius(es) that I have are extremely long-flowering, with very long (up to 3 feet long) branches covered with blooms from late June to sometime in November here. They become shrubby with time, which is why I thought I might have killed my reddish-orange one. As you're probably aware, the individual flowers are one colour on the outside and a different one on the inside and take the form of about two-inch long tubes, which my hummingbirds love. I wonder what sort of bird in S.A. would pollinate them? Anyway, I don't know the name of the orangy one, but the one called "Moonraker" is a lovely, soft, medium yellow, and I think that inside and outside are the same. In habit, the ones I've seen in nurseries -and they're VERY popular here just now- seem much like my orange one, but maybe they're not quite as hardy.

I've never seen a picture of a species phygelius, but here's a picture of my orange one last July.

Cheers!

gordonf
Cape Fuschia2-July.jpg
Phygelius (Cape Fuschia) taken in July

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

My phygelius

27 May '07 6:43 pm
You're quite right about two-tone, Gordon - and I don't know where I get the orange from #-o

Mine are softest salmon on the outside, and red and yellow( :?: =orange :?: ) on the inside. However they grow in a rather swampy spot and getting to them to see the insides is a mission... coming to think of it - I really MUST do something about putting some in the garden next summer!!!

PS: Yours are really gorgeous - I must enquire from a friend in the wholesale industry why we don't see them!
phygelius.JPG

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Winter sunrise

27 May '07 8:09 pm
I really shouldn't do this. Like most men I'm not much good at multi-tasking. But whilst I mark papers I shall post a few of this morning's pics...

The first four were taken before the sun reached us. The contrast in how one perceives the cold is quite remarkable - when it is sunny it just LOOKS less cold!
Towards the Long Border from the cottage.JPG
frosty shapes.JPG
winter winning.JPG
The light creeps down the hill.JPG
The cheering effect of the sun.JPG
Reflection.JPG
Photogenic grasses.JPG
Meadow.JPG
Meadow detail.JPG

gordonf
Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

Sunshine & Frost

28 May '07 4:57 pm
Hi, Jack, again!

You're sure correct with your comment about how the sunshine makes it seem warmer! I used to live in an industrial city up north where there was a lot of smog in the winter time. So much so as it became colder, that by the time it reached -40 degrees C., the ice-fog hovered all day just below the street lights. No sunshine for days on end in town, but if one travelled just a few miles out of town and drove up the hills (the city was built down in a "bowl" where 2 major rivers joined), there would be glorious sunshine every day! I used to become very tired and depressed in winter there, but all I had to do to cheer up was to drive up to the sunshine, where it was still -40, but it FELT warmer!

Your Phygelius is VERY pretty! I haven't seen one that colour here. Maybe the reason why they aren't more common at nurseries in S.A. is just because the are native wildflowers. You know how we tend to ignore native plants in preference for hybrids or species that come from 'way around the world and that have to be pampered and cosseted to make them survive! I know that native plants like my favourite, Tellima, is almost never seen in gardens here, but it's much valued in the U.K., according to the magazines that I read! By the way, my Phygelius is not in an especially damp area; it just gets watered when everything else does.

Now, to your latest batch of pictures: they are all wonderful, from my point of view! I'm wondering what the plant with the spherical seed heads in the last picture (Meadow Detail, I think) is. It sure looks interesting!

I was down at the island at the mouth of the river this evening with Joey and I saw a rabbit and a couple of families of Canada Geese there, so I tested out the new telephoto lens and here are the results:

Cheers!

gordonf
Rabbit.jpg
A rabbit keeping an eye out for the dogs
Canada Goose Family.jpg
Canada goose family watching the dogs

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Bits, bobs and loose ends

29 May '07 7:13 am
Hi again Gordon

What lovely zoom pics! I bet you are thrilled with your new camera!

So right what you say about indigenous plants not being appreciated... Knophofia is another of ours that one hardly sees, and then only the basic K. uvulis - but when I went to the Beth Chatto Gardens in England there were ten or more varieties of different colours and sizes attracting a huge amount of attention in her nursery. However I contacted my friend, a fellow Rotarian, who is one of the country's big importers and growers of new plant material. I sent him your picture and mine and asked why Phygelius wasn't being marketed. His answer? They are growing on 5 varieties for introduction, no release date finalised yet!

The species Phygelius aequalis is unfortunately rather lanky, flopping across other growth, and although the flower stems are graceful, they are droopy and make up only perhaps 15% of the plant as opposed to your 70%+; I've thought the way to grow them is in tall pots on tripods, well tied in, so that one actually looks up into the flower... coming to think of it, they will look good in terracotta pots. Perhaps one near the front door next to the dark terracotta colour of the zinc wall is the way to go next summer. With terracotta Petunia 'Million Bells' at its feet. And a Black-Eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) in the pot with it. I have the yellow, the standard orange is lovely, but a friend has a terracotta one that will be just the thing. I do like getting excited about next summer's plans! DONE!

You ask about the spherical seedheads in the meadow detail pic. Lovely with the frost on them, aren't they - that is why I chose that shot out of ten or more examples. It is leonotus, and I discuss it in summer here: http://forums.mooseyscountrygarden.com/ ... 74-20.html

A week on one can now see the damage done by last week's cold spell: unheard of damage, such as gumtree leaves scorched 15-20m up the trees behind my parents' house and lemon trees that have completely lost their leaves (good reason for a substantial and much needed cut-back!)The staff tell me that some garden taps had no water due to icing until 11.30 - obviously I'm tougher than I thought, because I never realised just how cold it was. But only time will tell what losses there have been among the more tender perennials...

Here is a link ( with a rather flattering picture of the flower!) of our indigenous clematis, which I see is ALSO known as Old Man's Beard: http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/clembrach.htm

And lastly - here is a not too good close-up of the flower of the Phygelius supported by a stalk of our local Gunnera which looks more like a pumpkin!
Phygelius   close-up.JPG

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

I am so happy I'm back!!

29 May '07 8:48 am
Wow! It is great I'm writing again in our Forum!! Starting to reply in Jack's Diary first! But I also enjoyed a little bit of Gordon's Diary here!

Well, the severe cold passed so quickly from there, you have not real victims in your place, Jack!I am really happy for you!!I hope your Barbara mama-dog and puppies are safe and warm, too! Your.... Aristea bloom is adorably blue! In Greece many ..women are called Aristea , you know! I always had students called Aristea -- meaning "the Best" = "'Aristos" in Ancient Greek. Aristea is the female adjective.

Gordon, I experienced this "smog " thing in San Francisco, some 3 summers ago... It was the first time my husband and myself learning this English word --we only knew "fog"...This thing was covering the whole city , like a thick veil, hiding the bright sun!! And the light was so peculiar afterwards... No sunny , no cloudy, something absurd in the middle...Your Canadian ducks and their babies are little darlings!! So magestically coloured! And...without your ...super capture, how could I know this?? Voila!! Mmmmmm , some great camera is the sectret!!

Jack, your latest photos are...still magical...and spooky, using the word Gordon uses, meaning that the frost adds lots of ...mystery! But ....Brrrr, it must be cold out there! But, still, the smell of the wet land in the countryside in Winter,is something exceptional to experience...And the climate you describe for Winter is exactly that of Central /Southern Greece' Winter -- not the Northern, though, where it is VERY cold at places...

Well, I'm leaving you now, I just need to visit all our Forum! See you later!
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

gordonf
Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

Leonotis

29 May '07 12:43 pm
Hi, jack;

Thanks for the identification of the Leonotis. I THOUGHT is resembled a Phlomis! I haven't seen Leonotis plants for sale here, although their seeds can be bought from a Canadian mail-order seed house called, "Richter's Seeds", who source their seeds all over the world and also ship everywhere. They sometimes even get seeds that have been smuggled from very reclusive countries (e.g., former communist ones, etc.). They specialize in herbs, and, if I recall correctly, they said that this plant is sometimes known in Africa as "False Dagga", as it has some of the same effects as marijuana. Have you heard this?

Your "Old Man's Beard" looks remarkably like ours, but its Latin name is different. Perhaps you should give it a try!

Sorry to hear about your lemon trees and all the other frost damage. It's sad when Nature takes vengeance in that way, isn't it? Like the awful wind storms we had last winter that blew down so very many trees - they'll take generations to regrow to the same size!

I was out with the camera at one of the lakes today, but I'll post them in my thread later.

I think summer has arrived at last! I finally cleaned up my deck and put out the big umbrella, etc. for the season. Sometime within the next few years I'll have to replace that deck, as it is beginning to rot. Until then, I hate to show any pictures of it! :oops:

The first of my kniphofias are coming into bloom. I don't expect many flowers from them this year as they were moved only a month or so ago, but next year they should be wonderful!

All the best!

gordonf

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