Six on Saturday (13 July 2019): Tree worries

I was doing a bit of pottering in the garden on Tuesday evening when I overheard a conversation taking place in the driveway of the house behind us that immediately set alarm bells ringing. “What’s wrong with your fence?” asked one voice. “Oh, we think it’s their tree” came the reply. Stealthily tiptoeing back to the house (which is vaguely pointless on a gravel path) I began pondering just what was amiss with the fence. It seemed fine from our side.

The next day, after a troubled night’s sleep, I made my way to the back of the blue shed, knocking a stack of pots over in the process. Peering over the fence I saw for myself what was wrong. The base of the fence near the tree was bulging out about half a foot onto their driveway. Our plot is about 2 foot higher than the bottom half of the neighbour’s driveway that slopes down towards their house. At this spot the back of the garden has a small retaining wall built with breeze-block holding everything back. Had the roots of the allegedly 2m-by-2m-in-20-years-but-more-like-3m-by-3m-in-8-years Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ broken through and caused the problen? Armed with trowel, and feeling rather apprehensive, I started to dig away in the strange 15cm wide channel/gap that runs between the back of our garden and the actual fence. The channel was full of soil, gravel, rubble, a broken Guinness glass, screws and a newt, but no tree roots. It soon became clear that it was the compacted detritus (good word ‘detritus’) that had caused the lower part of the fence to bow and not the tree… or the newt. We’ve chatted to the new neighbour, explained the problem and at some point the fence will be fixed.

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However, during my excavations I realised that the tree is rather close to the retaining wall and I wonder whether it might be sensible to chop the tree down, dig it up and start again, planting something smaller and more manageable. I can’t say I relish the job or the sudden lack of structure and privacy the tree’s removal will create (and the birds aren’t going to be too impressed ), but perhaps it would be for the best. The Prunus ‘Kojo-no-mai’ that was planted in the perfect spot last Autumn may find itself on the other side of the garden come October. Anyway, enough of such woes. Time for my first SoS…

1. The pink dandelions (Crepis rubra) have been flowering away for over a week now and they’re lovely. I wish I’d sown a few more. I gave a batch to my mum and hers have lush green dandelionesque foliage but for some reason mine have very little. I wonder if they’ve struggled a bit with the dry weather (we’ve not had any proper rain for several weeks now). I’ve dead-headed some of them in the hope that they’ll go on flowering.

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2. Continuing with pink, this is a scented climbing rose, originally given to us as an anonymous patio rose almost 10 years ago. I planted it in the ground in August 2012 when we moved here and it soon became apparent that this wasn’t a patio rose at all. Last year an SoSer suggested it could be New Dawn.

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3. Yellow now. This Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’ was grown from seed a few years ago and is still going strong. It’s proved easy to take a cutting from too (we’re talking plonk-a-bit-in-a-pot-and-away-it-grows easy… unless I got lucky).

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4. More yellow: a perennial Evening Primrose acquired from the old ancestral home in Wales. This is it’s second year and it has been flowering away for a month or so. In the evening, when the buds burst open, the fragrant flowers almost glow in the fading light. But their beauty is fleeting. Come early morning they still look good but as the day wears on they begin to fade. The plant is looking a little tired and scruffy now but I’m rather reluctant to cut it back when it’s still flowering.

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5. I grew a dwarf pale yellow Cosmos a few years ago but this is the first time I’ve grown Cosmos of non-short stature. This is a white one grown from a packet of free seed that came with a garden magazine. I pinched them all out as seedlings and it seems to have taken ages for them to flower. This is the only one to bloom so far. I’m also waiting for Cosmos ‘Fizzy’ to get its act together.

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6. And finally… The dwarf shrubby honeysuckle was a show last year. This year it looks a little odd. It’s having delusions of grandeur, sending out several large stems as though it were a climbing honeysuckle. Still, if these flower it’ll be much easier to appreciate their delicious scent.

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And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.

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27 thoughts on “Six on Saturday (13 July 2019): Tree worries

  1. Lovely six; I love that honeysuckle. I just can’t grow honeysuckle. It always gets covered in aphids even though I have lots ladybird larvae in the garden. Oh well. I shall leave it with Dahlias and hostas which also get eaten to death in my garden. Have a great gardening weekend. I may have to start a rain dance soon as my garden is getting desperate!.

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    1. A rain dance sounds like a good idea! Luckily the aphids don’t trouble the honeysuckle – they go for the lupins and Philadelphus instead!

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  2. These pink dandelions are truly amazing! Always on the side about the pink flowers, the picture of the honeysuckle is very successful.
    I also grow evening primrose and what a scent ! Have you noticed? I cut the stems after some blooms and they divide so I have a tuft in 2 years.

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    1. Yes, the evening primrose does have a lovely scent. I’ll have to try your tip cutting back the stems. The dandelions are a very subtle pink – much lighter than some of the photos of them I’ve seen online.

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  3. Sorry to hear about your tree/not tree problems, but you have made up for it in flowers here. I am definitely going to have to try crepis next year, they are wonderful. The diddy honeysuckle is lovely too. And cosmos are a great favourite, I think they do take time to flower but once they get going there is no stopping them. πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s good to know about the cosmos. Next year I might try some more vibrant coloured varieties. Still pondering the tree and possible (smaller) replacements if it goes.

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    1. We have a few honeysuckles. I spotted a seedling in the spring though I can’t remember where now. I must look for it, dig it up and plant it next to one of the other fences.

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  4. That pink dandelion is definitely not how I imagined it to be, but on the plus side, it’s much better. I’m even more tempted by them than I was before you showed us the open flowers. Evening primrose never tempted me before – purely yellow flowers aren’t my favs – but your description of its scent in the evening sounds enchanting. May have to consider it. And your honeysuckle is wonderful.

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    1. Highly recommend the pink dandelion, although if it spreads like the common yellow variety I will refute that I ever made such a recommendation! (although such refutage might be pointless now I’ve written it down here).

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  5. You explained your deep feelings regarding the fence, and I feel for you.

    I bought and grew the Incana and can vouch for its charm. https://noellemace.blogspot.com/2018/07/july-garden-update.html. For some reason, after flowering its little heart out, it died. I had scattered the seeds but they failed to come up, so I just had to buy another plant from my favourite plant man earlier this year, and it has started to flower. I think I shall make sure it only flowers a little, to help build up the root for next year. I read that it is difficult to get the seeds to germinate. Obviously you had great success…would you mind going through what you did: when you sowed, how long they took to germinate etc.

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    1. The Crepis rubra seeds germinated really quickly (outside in pots) with an almost 100% success rate. I think they were sown in mid to late April (I’d have to check back through my blogs). One isn’t looking too great at the moment (very little foliage at all) but the others seem okay. It was interesting reading your blog that they don’t like disturbance. I’ll have to remember that!

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  6. Are those pink dandelions as liable to spread about as their common cousin? Pretty either way. Re your tree, I’d leave it. If it causes a problem you may have to remove it but it might be fine.

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    1. I’m not sure. The Garden News magazine that featured them didn’t mention any world domination tendancies. I’ll let a few go to seed and see what happens. My wife is with you on the tree. I’m still undecided!

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  7. detritus is such a good word I had to look it up! I suppose better to cut the tree down now before it becomes too unmanageable,

    As for your honeysuckle sure you don’t believe what it says on the label LoL but it has beautiful flowers.

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