Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
21st August 2016
I have spent the week peering in a worried way at the Hedychium. They were looking very dry. Many of them are still in large pots and they go
under the greenhouse bench for a couple of months in winter. Unobserved, they dry out. It is a great relief to stand them out again in the spring
and let the rain get to them. The pots stand in deep saucers that fill with water and keep them on the wet the side of saturated. This spring it took
a good few weeks to moisten them properly and now they are completely dry again. I could take a hose up to them of course but who has time for
mollycoddling like that?
Suddenly the promised rain appeared on Friday, waking me as it rattled down. I turned over and went back to sleep with a smile, safe in the knowledge
that another set of problems had solved themselves while I slept.
Many of the evergreen Hedychium stay in the greenhouse, but 'Raffillii' is outside and performing very well. It is the first of them to flower
and at about 60cm tall it is a lot more managable than the plant under cover, which is about 1.5m tall already and no sign of flower yet.
They must all go out. They really really really must. I have a plan, but it is starting to look like a tortoise.
21st August 2016
Linnaea borealis ssp. americana
The Twin Flower has been a bit of a worry. I bought it two years ago, split it into two and tried it in a couple of different places. Neither plant
really prospered. It would be wryly poetic to say that I was beside myself, but it wouldn't be true. I was more 'Hmmm'.
I don't want to lose it so I decided to leave well alone. Miraculously, both plants have recovered and started to spread. The species is circumboreal
(wanders approximately around the arctic circle like a living necklace - not the one plant you understand - many of them). You will not be surprised
to hear that L.b. ssp. americana is the North American population. I am still looking for a European example, though they are
effectively indistinguishable unless you know where they came from. Still, I would like one. First described from Lapland by Linnaeus
and the genus that bears his name. He is quite humble about his lowly namesake but I can never decide if he is actually humble. Perhaps he has
his tongue pushed so far into his cheek that he looks like a lopsided walrus?
Paintings of him at the time do not suggest an answer.
21st August 2016
Nerine are not quite a novelty. N. angustifolia flowered a few weeks ago, has set seed and I have already sown it. However, this is the
first of the big showy N. sarniensis hybrids and it is far in advance of the others. Only 'Ophelia' is showing spikes, the rest are still
pretending to be dormant. I say pretending, I gave them a thorough watering last week so they are moving, just not admitting to it yet.
It did exactly the same thing last year as well and it is quite remarkable. Curiously I have a second plant from a second source that is a month later.
I can't believe they are the same thing, though the flowers seem identical.
The last flowers on N. undulata 'Winter Sun' faded at the end of March so I have had eight months of Nerine. In March that was like eating
too much chocolate cake (which I last did this morning, because I never learn) but now it's August I am ready to go again.
I don't know who Catherine was, but hopefully she was remarkable, precocious and (if only in the case of the plant) recklessly fertile!
21st August 2016
Brassica oleracea var. ramosa 'Daubenton's Panache'
My father had a calm face that suggested authority and instilled confidence. It adopted an overlay of curious consideration when he was confronted
with green vegetables that might, on a less confident and authoritative man, have looked like a scowl.
I endeavour to treat the more virid vegetables with greater affection, but I draw the line at Kale.
There are a couple of variegated forms of the perennial Kale, and I think this is 'Daubenton's Panache'. The blue-grey leaves are prettily margined in cream.
By the end of the season they are prettily nibbled by a hungry creature.
There are only two classes of animal that see kale as a suitable foodstuff; cattle and butterflies. Whichever it was, it flew in from the surrounding countryside,
so I'm hoping it was the butterflies.
We don't have enough of them, I can sacrifice a bit of kale.
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