Six on Saturday #16, November 4, 2017

Oddly, I actually have more blooming in the garden today than I did for last week’s Six on Saturday.  In fact, I had to pick and choose, and eventually decided to leave Moraea polystachya for another time.

Yesterday’s high temperature was 81 F (27 C).  We still have not had frost, although the long term forecast hints at lows in the mid 30s by the end of the week.  After that, we could easily bounce back into the 70s or low 80s–or have a hard freeze.  Autumn in North Carolina.

Anyway, on to the Six:

1. Scilla madeirensis (Giant Madeira squill)


Scilla madeirensis, as its name suggests, is native to the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.  The large, dark purple bulbs grow exposed at the surface, so it makes an interesting display even when dormant.  I grow three bulbs in a large terracotta pot.  They bake in the greenhouse over the summer and start growing as the weather cools off in October.  I keep them growing outdoors as long as possible and move them back into the greenhouse only when frost is certain.  I can’t claim to have mastered this species.  This year, only one of the bulbs flowered, and it has fewer flowers than last year.  Also, the pedicels are almost the same color as the flowers this year.  Usually, they are stark white which contrasts very nicely with the bluish purple flowers

Until a few years ago, S. madeirensis was almost impossible to obtain and very expensive when available.  Now, however, bulbs grown in vast numbers in Israel are available every autumn from mail-order bulb vendors.

2. Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’


My only camellia.  I really ought to put in some more under the trees, because camellias do so well in North Carolina.  Older gardens around here are often full of them, and with a mix of sasanqua and japonica types, one can have flowers for much of the winter.

3.  Fatsia japonica


For many years, I had Fatsia japonica mentally filed under “Evergreen Shrub, subtype: boring.”  Then, I saw one in bloom at J.C. Raulston Arboretum and was amazed by the spherical flowers that look like some sort of miniature naval mine.  So, now I have one in my garden.  The leaves are still boring, but the flowers are cool.  Wasps love them too.

4-6. autumn foliage

Last week, I photographed trees that are growing naturally on our property, so for this week, here are some of the woody shrubs and trees that I have planted.

Fothergilla ‘Mt Airy’ (witch alder)

One of my favorite shrubs for its licorice-scented spring flowers, pest-free foliage, and spectacular autumn color.  I have planted a row along the path leading to our front door and another row in front of the greenhouse.

Diospyros kaki ‘Fuyu’ (Japanese persimmon)

‘Fuyu’ only gave us two persimmons this year, but the autumn color is spectacular–almost fluorescent.

Asimina triloba (pawpaw)

A. triloba is a piedmont native, but the trees in my garden I grew from seed.  This is a ten-year-old seedling.  2017 was the first year I had two different clones blooming at the same time, but the tiny pawpaws fell off after a few weeks.  I’m hopeful that 2018 will be the year I finally get some fruit.

That’s all for this week.  As always, head on over to The Propagator to see his Six and those of other participating blogs.

17 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #16, November 4, 2017

    1. I just went outside and stuck my nose in a Fatsia flower. Didn’t smell much of anything, but it was getting dark so that may not mean anything. They definitely attract mostly wasps around here, though I suppose those might not be the natural pollinator. Perhaps other aralias are fly pollinated?

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      1. Perhaps its one of those like freesia that some can smell, some cannot. I can smell my fatsia about a yard away from it. Has a sweet aroma, like honeysuckle or vibernum. Lovely colours. Your trees are great.

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  1. All lovely, but especially the Scilla. Must be nice to pick and choose at this time of the year. Funny, you have 27 deg. C. temperatures and leaves falling from the trees at the same time. That temperature is about as high as it gets here (Vancouver Island), sometimes 30 in the hottest part of the summer.

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  2. So one person gets a Fatsia because of the flowers but the foliage is boring, another cuts the flowers off. Fatsia japonica is scorned by the cognoscenti in the UK but the pretty similar Fatsia polycarpa is the bees knees. I have Schefflera taiwaniana which scores me points in some circles but apart from being bigger, creates a similar effect to Fatsia. Wonder if I could squeeze a Fothergilla in, such a classy plant.

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  3. Great choices for the beginning of November! I love the scilla too and when I googled it I found out that the local botanical garden has recently acquired some bulbs from Kew gardens … so I can go look at them. Result.

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    1. One of the trees is a grafted specimen of ‘Mango’. The others are seed-grown. The seed came from a tree in a friend’s garden, and he said it seemed to be self-fertile, but I don’t know if the seedlings will be.

      They seem easy to grow. No diseases, and only occasional superficial damage by caterpillars. My plants are in shade and fairly dry soil. I think they’d grow faster with more water and sun.

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