Six on Saturday – July 14

Late to the party, as usual. So many time zones between the Propagator and me. It’s sunny and warm here – a high of 25 deg. C. is forecast. Not the kind of heatwave Europe and much of North America is experiencing, but gardening has to be confined to early hours or late, and watering must be done on a daily basis. Here are my Six for today.

1. Melianthus Propagation Mystery

My last report on my bumbling attempts to propagate Melianthus major from cuttings appeared on April 7th. After a number of unsuccessful shopping expeditions to various nurseries and garden centres, I was unable to find a plant for sale. After losing a couple of cuttings (I won’t say where I got them), there seemed to be a breakthrough, when I posted the photo shown below. It is the cutting as of April 7th, 2018. Immediately to the right, you will see a photo of the cutting as it looks today. What’s going on here? There’s been no growth at all over the course of 3 months, and yet it has not withered completely. Am I dealing with an example of the grotesque undead? Suspended animation? Petrification? I’m tempted to tip it out of its pot to see what the roots look like (if, indeed, there are roots). Gardeners, propagators, librarians: have you ever seen anything like this?

[Click on either photo to enlarge.]

2. Melianthus Good News

To ameliorate the Melianthus mishaps, I made a wonderful discovery at the local grocery store this week: a beautiful, frond-filled, green and clearly alive Melianthus major plant for sale at only $16.95 Canadian (9.74 GBP, 12.88 USD). Given the history, how could I possibly refuse? Now, I just have to figure out how to keep it alive. Melianthus major originated in South Africa. My biggest and best gardening book tells me that it can be grown outside in Zone 7b. The hardiness zone for Victoria, BC is somewhere between 7a and 8b. Our municipality of Saanich plants Melianthus major outside; however, the gardeners dig them up in late fall and cart them off to their spacious greenhouses. I think I will put it in a nice pot and bring it in if the temperature threatens to fall below zero.

Melianthus Plant

3. Angel’s Fishing Rod

I purchased this Dierama pulcherrimum, commonly known as Angel’s Fishing Rod, at a sale put on by the Friends of Government House Gardens Society. It’s getting bigger and better every year and although the flowers don’t last long, they are definitely worth the wait.

4. Daylilies

Not a rare plant, but still a cheerful sight at this time of year. Hemerocallis, or daylily is undemanding and hardy. The photos show daylilies ‘Bright Sunset’ and ‘Hush Little Baby’.

5. Allium sphaerocephalon

I planted these Drumstick allium for the first time last fall and got a very pleasant surprise when the egg-shaped flowers started off green, then turned to pink and then red-purple as they matured. Beautiful colours, especially late in the day.


6. Bottlebrush

Like medieval battlements, an impressive hedge of Callistemon separates our driveway from a perennial bed next to the house. It was here when we moved in and I had no idea what the plant might be until it “bloomed”. Mostly found in Australia, there are about 50 species of Callistemon. I have no idea which one this is.