Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Couple of Quince questions:

How many years from planting to fruit, and do they need a pollinator tree?

i) 3 or 4 years for my whip. May be quicker if you can get a pot-grown bigger specimen, but bare-rrots need to devote energy into proper in-situ rooting.

ii) self-fertile so no.

Many thanks - 3 to 4 years sounds good. Seeing as I’m 61 I appreciate a tree that gets it’s act together sooner rather than later!

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Actually on GQT t’other day I was quite surprised when they gave the opinion that a smaller bare root tree would establish more quickly than a larger pot grown tree. Over about a three year time frame the smaller bare root tree would overtake the larger tree. They were comparing a bare root tree of about 18" to 2’ and a pot grown tree of about 4’. I can’t remember the variety they were talking about but the discussion of bare root versus pot was made in very general terms.

Few years ago taught myself to graft … you can buy rootstocks and then cut wood when pruning or trade wood with others … I made over 30 cider apple trees … planted a small orchard and gave some away …. It’s the cheapest way to grow trees …. There’s some great Welsh named varieties …. Rogers sells a huge number of apples
£3.60 for a rootstock or £38 for a two yr old

Our Daphne Bholua is out to play - a sign of winter nearer the end than the beginning.

Love all the various Daphnes, I do & grow a lot of them, I do - amazing plants for their flowers and their gorgeous perfume. There’s hardly a part of the year where we haven’t got at least one kind of Daphne doing its thing for us :~}

Various bulbs peeping through now too; whisper it, but Spring is coming!


Wonderful plants, @crocos . Also their hybrids “Spring promise” and “Spring beauty”.

You see D. bholua about a bit more these days - finding any given form used to be a real red-letter day about ten years ago. I understand there has been some dedicated micropropagation done to get it back in circulation, especially the form called “Jacqueline Postill”. Fantastic scent.

Do you have any experience with the yellow-flowered Chinese species?


Interesting question @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis - we’ve actually got two different yellow Chinese ones, and while they’re lovely plants with good flowers etc, they just don’t seem to have anything of that gorgeous pungent smell about them. The bees enjoy them so that’s enough for me, but when I do get more, it’s the pink / white ones I go for.

For all the different varieties about the place these days, I still think it’s hard to beat the classic transatlantica ones; depth of smell and longevity of flowering being the thing for me personally.

Have you got any of the yellow Chinese ones yourself?


like @crocos I have a number of daphnes which do well, bholua, tangutica, alpina etc, plus several of the new variegated cultivars and some dwarf alpine ones. The bholua self-seeds happily ! I kept a yellow-flowered one going through last winter but it succumbed to the drought last summer despite its situation in a shady well mulched bed. All the others were fine. And no it didn’t have any perfume so I shan’t bother trying again.


I have one - it’s a hybrid between D. amoena and something else - possibly D. calcicola. It does have a scent though not particularly strong. I ask particularly as the first people to try these things reportedly found them very hard to keep going. I grow mine outside and it’s no trouble at all. So I was wondering if it was just a feature of this one, or possibly that the earlier ones hated being coddled in alpine houses (a real risk).

I agree - Eternal Fragrance is probably the best though I do like Pink Fragrance - both Robin White hybrids I seem to recall.

Today planted some seeds… which I have been meaning to get around to, but you know how it is. With a north facing garden in Yorkshire I need every bit of help to grow veg to fruition.

Seed potatoes now chitting in egg boxes: Charlotte (of course, everyone grows them) and Anya as suggested by @MikeFranklin, similar to pink fir apple but hopefully with a better yield.

Tomatoes in my new windowsill propagator: Bloody Butcher (odd shaped fruit but an amazing fruiting season, plus they eat well) and Honeycomb (new to me, orange cherry type, again a community suggestion). Will go into the unheated greenhouse in April.

Broad Beans in deep root trainers: Karmazyn (pink seeds, another @MikeFranklin idea).

In the garden, I dug up the golden beetroot - mostly marble sized and a bit of a failure - planted too late in the season? and my celeriac have also totally failed to bulk up. Maybe I can make soup with the green tops?

Purple sprouting is looking good, might get a first picking in a week or so?

All very optimistic.


Agreed! I can almost feel a Monty Python sketch coming on…

My experience has been that golden beet don’t usually make the size of their purple cousins. Celeriac are a challenge. Only one guy at our allotments got them to a decent size, think he used mushroom compost and watered them religiously.

You have reminded me that I need to stick my seed potatoes in egg boxes…

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I’ve found you need to get celeriac started very early doors in the greenhouse and plant out by April to have any chance of getting to a usable size.

This season’e seeds have arrived. All raised beds turned and replenished with some decent muck. 75m leaves scooped up and deposited in either compost or recycling and lawn cut for first time. Garden is looking decent for February. Potatoes sets have also arrived for chitting!
A great week before the frosty weather has returned.


Similarly jumped into action this weekend. I’ve pruned back the ivy (that’s technically next doors, but try telling it that) pretty hard, the soft fruit canes and grape vines.

This has all been slightly slower than usual as I am a massive soppy sop who doesn’t want to disrupt the pair of foxes who’ve taken to sleeping slap bang in the middle of my garden all day.

(and I’ve still not gotten rid of the awful astroturf or swept all the autumn leaves off of it).


You need to press-gang those foxes into action - get them to work for their beds


The first thing I planted after arriving in Yorkshire. Katherine Hodgkin Iris from Agnes Burton nursery. About a year ago.


Seriously - I have never seen an Iris which flowers this early! you must live in the Tropics of Yorkshire !

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Well, I consider it sub-tropical! They’re on the south side of my house which gets a lot of sun and is fairly well sheltered from the wind.

Daffodils started to come out a couple of weeks ago.

Yup… that’s not REAL Yorkshire. The snowdrops have barely started here. I suspect you might live in (gasp) Sheffield.

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