Saturday, 6 April 2019

Natives Return

Mr BigNose & a puffkin.

As I've been organising my new flower beds, the plants themselves have quietly got on with things.

Here's six old friends who came back while I was otherwise occupied.

1.  Chocolate vine (akebia quinata).

This vine came to live with me 2 years ago & didn't bloom its first year.  Last year seemed an interminable wait for the blooms, which were few & underwhelming.  Then this week, on my way to somewhere else in the garden, I noticed it blooming with gusto.

Small & plenty.

The blossoms still leave me unimpressed, but I love the foliage & hope it eventually takes over the world.  Or the potting shed.

2.  Louis Bonne.

Pears are one of my favourite fruits & last year, when Louis produced for the 1st time, I did nothing to contain my joy.  That lasted until my first bite - the fruits themselves were small & not that great for taste.

While this may've had to do with last year's drought, I heartlessly decided to FreeCycle Louis.  This meant wrenching him out of his planter (which I didn't want to give away), but there were other things in the garden I needed to do first.

So he bloomed behind my back.

Stay of eviction.

I've not seen another pear around, so the likelihood of fruit is slim.  However, he's a beautiful little tree, no less so than the ornamental plum & cherry I have.

I think he'll be staying.

3.  Carolina Spice.

On the other side of the garden, we have our Carolina Spice bushes, only one of which has ever bloomed.  It's covered in buds at the moment.

Leaves & bud nuggets.

I played under a Carolina spice as a girl, & to me, it was the most exotic plant I knew, with that smell of foods that were never cooked in our house & its burgundy velvet blossoms. 

It was the one & only spice bush I'd encountered until a few years ago when I saw them advertised in some catalogue or the other.  Being greedy, I got 2.

The bush of childhood was well established when my parents moved us there.  Put 50 - 60 years of horticultural development plus an ocean between that bush & my current ones, & the smells aren't even remotely the same.

The fallibility of my memory aside, I've read that today's spice bushes, at least on this continent, tend toward a sweeter scent, some even smelling like bubblegum.

Boggles the mind.

4.  Weigela sale.

I do have a soft spot for weigela.  So much so that last autumn, I bought a weigela-labelled stick during an end-of-season sale.

Fast forward to planting the shade garden this spring, I move a pot of forget-me-nots out of the way, wondering why in God's name I'd have a pot of forget-me-nots.  May as well have a pot of dandelions.

And then I saw them, weigela leaves doing their wake-up stretch through the forget-me-nots.


Better believe this sassy lady's gonna soon be outa that pot & pushing her roots into the soil.

5.  Nigella.

I've actually had my eye on this bud for a while, wondering if it would hang around for weeks, bit of a tease.

Here she comes!

As you can see, this bud is more than promises, promises.

6.  Brunnera macrophylla

The brunnera, patientlly waiting its turn to be planted in the shade garden, has gone hog wild with blossoms.

The tiny leaves of brunnera macrophylla.

Last year was the first year we had it in the garden, so hopefully I'll be forgiven for not remembering if its leaves were this small when it bloomed, or if it's because poor brunnera was still in a pot.

She's been released into the shade bed since that photo was taken, so we'll see what happens next.

I once knew the name of this, but no more.

Now that you've read my Six on Saturday, go over to Our Guiding Light, the man who cracks the SoS whip.  He'll have his own Six to amaze you, plus links in his comment section to SoS blogs from around the world.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This Brunnera is beautiful, both leaves and flowers ... Lovely ! You have a lot of pear flowers! If you want to get fruits, you will have to cut back some of them otherwise they will be small or will fall. Keep 1 or 2 per bunch, water and add manure or fertilizer if you have

    1. Last year, the brunnera leaves were massive, so hopefully they're only getting started. As to pear, it came to me cordoned, I think is the term. Do I still reduce the flower numbers? Last year, it produced 13 pears!

    2. Mine are not cordoned ( I use your term because I see what it means in French...) and I reduce the tiny fruits not the flowers. It all depends on how many flower bunches you have. Keep 2-3 fruits per bunch, spaced as much as possible. 13 fruits is maybe poor for you but the tree isn't a big one.Another solution is to leave the Nature do and the young immature fruits will fall.

    3. The tree looks so beautiful w/its blooms, I think I'll use your method &, if I get fruit, will reduce them instead. I was tickled w/13 pears, especially as you say, the tree is small & it was only its first year bearing fruit. I've not seen any pear trees around here to be my tree's buddy, so I may have to content myself w/blooms.

  2. My Brunnera had larger leaves last year, maybe they get larger as they get older! The mystery plant by the way looks like a Saxifrage. Such pretty flowers.

    1. I saw another saxifrage in someone's SoS post this week & remembered the name. Yes, I'm hoping the leaves get bigger as the summer goes on, as they really are quite striking. If the slugs would stay away!

  3. I think that last mystery plant is a saxifrage of some sort. Ours starts off red and then the flowers fade in the sun.

    1. Definitely saxifrage, Graeme. Mine fades as well, & I love it in all its variations.

  4. Nice to see so many survivors in pots just getting on with it. Those plants wanna grow. Hey, Lora, do you want to read Plot 29 by Allan Jenkins? It was passed on to me from the N20 Gardener and I have read and enjoyed it. If so, let me know your new address and I will send it to you.

    1. I suspect my garden does quite well w/o me! I'd love to read Plot 29. Thanks for thinking of me! I'll drop you an email at your gmail address. Hope to see a SoS from you in the near future, but glad you're still checking us out.

  5. Loved the story of about your childhood carolina spice tree and can't wait to see those buds open on yours. Coincidentally I just bought one. It came mail-order and one of the branches was broken so I've taken some cuttings in the hope they may root. You never know!

    1. Good luck w/the cuttings. I'm so bad at that, I can barely get forsythia to grow from cuttings. Let me know how yours smells. I wish I could get one that was spicy rather than sweet.

  6. Hi Lora, to paraphrase Taylor Swift, growers gonna grow grow grow. I've never see brunnera flower before. Who knew? See you soon.

    1. My first & only brunnera which has always bloomed, so . . . who knew they don't usually bloom?