Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
To navigate this site use the links above or the detailed links at the bottom of this page.
... out in the garden.
17th October 2021
Eucryphia moorei .
In a turn around from last week the forecast has promised overcast weather but the sun has shone. The greenhouse has been warm and autumn has lapped at the garden in welcoming waves.
It has been a good week for Colchicum 'Waterlily'. Still weather means they have stood up on their improbably thin flower stems all week and looked magnificent
as the late afternoon sun illuminated them. They have never looked so good. In a normal year they would collapse under the weight of the double flowers and lie around on the floor
in opulent lilac rosettes. I don't mind, I like them relaxed as well. It makes me want to lie down under the trees beside them and look up at the sky.
I follow the principle that nothing exceeds like excess. The Colchicum were looking so good that I put in another 100. I have to congratulate the wholesaler, five days from ordering to planting them
is an achievement. I put them in while I could see where the gaps were that needed filling.
However, no time for Colchicum now. This is time for the annual unsatisfactory picture of Eucryphia moorei. It's too tall, I can't get close enough for a decent picture. Many years ago I
climbed up a ladder in an attempt to get a close-up, I can't see that happening again. It's a lovely tree, it fills me with joy and scatters fallen flowers across the ground like early snow.
A bad picture of a good thing.
17th October 2021
Galanthus peshmenii .
Down in the greenhouse Galanthus peshmenii came into flower at the start of the week. It grows in the Nerine house where a regime of winter watering and summer drought
seems to provide the conditions it needs. It grows so well under cover that I was tempted to try it outside. I planted a vigorous potful of seedlings in a nice dry, sunny place
and watched them for the best part of a decade as they failed to increase in size. Finally I brought them back under cover where they have gone on to flower reliably.
When the species was discovered in Turkey it was thought to be a form of G. reginae-olgae but there are significant differences. G. peshmenii has glaucous
tinted leaves but lacks the distinctive silver stripe in the middle of G. reginae-olgae. There are also differences in the flower markings but G. reginae-olgae
is quite variable, there is scope for confusion. Growing the two side-by-side the two plants are quite different in appearance. G.peshmenii produces upright scapes, the flowers
tip over from the top in a tight crook unlike the relaxed dangle of G. reginae-olgae. The flower of G. peshmenii is compact, rounded in outline and rather snub-nosed
in appearance. In detail the characters require close inspection but a quick glance at the form would distinguish the two plants across a crowded greenhouse.
17th October 2021
Ipomoea lindheimeri .
I have a diary. It reminds me where I have to be and when I have to be there. Life without it would be impossible, however there is a price to pay. In the process of organizing me, it creates the illusion of order
and I have a garden. I am aware that it is an illusion.
I grow things. It is probably true that I grow too many things but it's fun. I try to keep things organised by genus or culture. I have a lot of Roscoea in pots at the moment but they all come up together
and they are all dying back together. I turn a hose on them when they need it, it's all very simple. The same is true of the Nerine or the Hedychium, they all fit into a simple management
plan, I don't really have to think about it. I even have a small collection of cacti. They all get the same treatment, anything that doesn't like it dies. In many ways it is too successful,
I wouldn't mind if the cacti died a bit more regularly, I could use that extra space. There is nothing insane about it.
Until you come to Ipomoea lindheimeri. I know why I have it but I don't know why I have it. I will explain. I was offered a seedling, I have never grown it before, I was fascinated, I said yes.
That is how I come to have it. It doesn't really fit in with anything else I grow, I have no idea why I grow it. Several years ago I tried to select Calystegia sepium (bindweed) to see if I could find a good,
compact, floriferous one to grow in a pot. I didn't find one, I am still paying the price for trying but it did alert me to the possibility of Ipomoea. The arrival of
I. lindheimeri was just serendipity.
I wasn't sure it would be hardy, I wasn't sure it would grow in a pot and this week it has been unexpectedly magnificent.
17th October 2021
Strobilanthes penstemonoides .
Strobilanthes were the result of another accidental wander into the unknown. It all started decades ago. Imagine a teenager on a damp, grey street peering through a
bright florists shop window at the most amazing metallic mulberry-purple leaves. I had to have it, I had no idea what it was and I was amazed that it wasn't very expensive.
I grew it rather badly in my bedroom but even in shade it continued to produce sheaves of shining purple. It took a long time to identify it as Strobilanthes dyerianus.
Years later, equipped with a greenhouse and a heavy dose of purple nostalgia, I replaced it. It is almost hardy in a cold greenhouse here, I get away with it much of the time.
The discovery of some hardier species drew me into the genus, at least a little way. S. penstemonoides has been a great success in the garden forming a large dome that covers
itself in flowers through October. It doesn't have the purple foliage (I have thought about hybrids but done nothing) but it has been jaw-droppingly wonderful.
The first gales of autumn are due at any time, the Colchicum will fall over, the Strobilanthes will be stripped of flower and the bananas will be shredded.
For a day or two the garden will look devastated but then the earliest Galanthus elwesii will appear and it will all seem to make sense.
At least it will to me.
To find particular groups of plants I grow, click on the genus name in the table above. Click on the "Index" box at the top of the page for the full list.
I have a lot of good intentions when it comes to updating this site, and I try to keep a note
about what is going on, if you are interested.
If you want to contact me, the address is incompetentjohnMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
When typing the address in, please replace MONKEY with the more traditional @ symbol! I apologise for the tiresome performance involved, but I am getting too much
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