Six on Saturday: the tale of the Hibiscus (24 August 2019)

Before setting off to work these past few mornings I’ve had to wipe condensation off the car windscreen (or windshield for any Americans who may be reading) and brush cobwebs (that suddenly seem to be everywhere, including just outside the front door) off my head. There’s no escaping it, Autumn isn’t far off. Still, a lovely warm and sunny Bank Holiday has been forecast so I’m going to pretend summer is here for a while yet. Anyhow…

1. Remember the sad, sorry tale of the Hibiscus? No? Well, once upon a time (February to be precise) a standard Hibiscus ‘Marina Blue’ was delivered in a box to an excited gardener in Somerset. The Hibiscus was carefully unboxed and planted and oh how the gardener did look forward to the day its leaves would unfurl and its flowers bloom. Yet alas, as winter became spring and spring became summer, the Hibiscus did not stir from its slumber.

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After the dismayed gardener sent word of his woes to the online Hibiscus supplier, a replacement plant was delivered post-haste. And though t’was a sorry specimen of a shrub, having arrived in a decidedly battered box and with many branches torn asunder, the long suffering gardener was past caring for it had leaves and flower buds. The old one was dug up, the new one planted, and the patient gardener could do nothing but wait.

Each day the optimistic gardener would look out upon his garden hoping that the new Hibiscus had flowered. The weeks passed by and then, one bright morning in late July, he spied a beautiful exotic be-petelled thing of purple hue. The Hibiscus had bloomed.

It’s been flowering off and on for several weeks now and while the plant still doesn’t look all that special form-wise the flowers do look good up close, especially when bejewelled with rain drops (this photo was taken last weekend). I’m hoping it will improve with age, if it survives the winter that is.

2. I had a Zinnia disaster last week. On Wednesday I found the lovely yellow and red one that I’d featured in last week’s SoS snapped at the base. I suspect the feathered Chinook helicopters (the wood pigeons) were to blame as it was growing in a pot near the bird table. Ah well, this lovely red ‘Sprite Mixed’ Zinnia is some compensation. What was that? It looks more orange that red? I know, for some reason neither my phone or camera will capture its true redyness.

3. Another Pompom Wilko Dahlia; a pale pink one this time. They’re really getting into their flowery stride now and half the fun is watching how they develop as they open.

Now that I’ve finally come round to Dahlias am I going to dig them up come the first of the frosts and nurture them through the winter? Well, I’m still not sure I can be bothered. We shall see.

4. Next up is another anonymous Crocosmia. A yellow one.

5. Now I can’t remember whether I’ve featured the Bishop of Llandaff before. He was purchased as a plant a few months ago along with another Dahlia, the Bishop of Auckland. While Llandaff has done well, the Bishop of Auckland barely flowered and doesn’t look very well at all. I’m not sure what’s gone wrong but I’ve tried moving Auckland to another location in the hope that it perks up, though I’m not very hopeful.

6. And finally… I didn’t think any of the gladioli, planted as bulbs earlier in the year, were going to flower. Well I was wrong. This one took me by surprise but I’ve since spotted buds on a few of the others. I didn’t notice it when I took the photo, but if you zoom in on the top flower in the picture below you can just about see a white crab spider lurking.

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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25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: the tale of the Hibiscus (24 August 2019)

  1. I’m so glad the hibiscus story had a happy ending, I was getting quite stressed until the actual flower appeared! Meanwhile, my gladioli are doing much better, as I think I may have said before, but I forgot to include the latest one which is a different shade from the others.

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    1. Oh dear – it wasn’t meant to be a tale of suspense! An update on the poorly Ilex – it has new growth coming at the base! I might include it in a future SoS.

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  2. I’m happy for your hibiscus … We talked about it and unfortunately the first one didn’t work … At least you know it’s alive and the flower is very pretty. You’ll get more next year
    As for the red zinnias : it’s perhaps not the same red as the one that your eyes see but it’s gorgeous.

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    1. I’ve still got the first hibiscus in a pot just in case it’s still alive – highly doubtful but we’ll see come April/May next year!

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  3. I planted Zinnias year before last, and I enjoyed them so much. But they took over my plot, and nothing else could grow in it that year… Last year the culprit was snapdragons I grew for my Husband- and it was an absolute nightmare to keep everything from going to seed so I wouldn’t have a mess to deal with this year. Apparently both are very happy little campers in Oklahoma.
    The Dahlias, though. They were beautiful- if much taller than I’d’ve liked for where I planted them. I was just a tad disappointed in the colors, though; I picked one purple and white, and an orange and pink variety- both whose names escape me now… They looked so pretty in the pictures but didn’t wind up nearly as gorgeous in reality. I’m curious what this pink variety in your photos is, though. It looks beautiful!

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    1. The packet of dahlias was just described as Pompom ‘mixed’ – not very helpful really! My snapdragons haven’t as well as usual for some reason.

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      1. I hope your snap dragons come back next year, at least! And oh well… Some information’s better than nothing at least, right? 😀

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  4. I’m unsure which part of Somerset you are in, but here in Wells the blue hibiscus does really well in gardens…I love looking for plants that do well on my walks…and Dahlias seem to thrive even when left in the garden…just an observation. Wilko has done you proud regarding that Dahlia!

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    1. Taunton. Spotted some annoyingly robust, tall and bushy standard hibiscus plants of varying colours in the outdoor plant section of Morrisons this morning at a cheaper price than I paid my sorry specimens! Drat.

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  5. The gladioli are quite nice for coming up late and giving colour as other plants are fading. Mine are horrible blousy ones I bought cheap a few years ago. I removed lots last year but still got some coming through. I want to get them out this year and replace with more definite colours as I’ve mainly got white with pink edges that I’m not keen on.

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    1. This is a pastelly coloured lot that appear to lean at a jaunty angle as more of the flowers open. I fear they’re going to need supports.

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  6. Love your Hibiscus story and so happy to see a flower! Is it a tropical species or what we call a Rose of Sharon, H. Syriacus? And your pink pom pom…I’d say it’s worth a shot trying to over winter the tuber! Gorgeous!

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    1. Rose of Sharon H Syriacus. I’ll see how attached I become to the Dahlia and read up on overwintering them. I’m not promising I’ll do it though! 😊

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    1. I discovered today that Morrisons sell much more impressive looking specimens and at a bargain price (though not the same colour). Typical! I got mine from YouGarden.

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  7. I’m a bit worried now! I ordered a hibiscus online a few weeks ago. I haven’t seen it yet but I’m guessing it will be dispatched in autumn. Hopefully it survives. Beautiful zinnia. I have found it tricky to capture the true flower colours on photos. Love the dahlias and gladioli plus visitor. Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks, you too. Morrisons are selling 6 ft tall stardard Hibiscus for £15 here. I was most annoyed! I’m sure yours will be fine.

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    1. Oh dear! I’m going to give it a few more years to get its act together (if it survives the winter).

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