Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
25th September 2016
Nerine bowdenii pale pink
You can have any colour you like as long as it's HTML. Perhaps I can be forgiven for misquoting something Henry Ford didn't say (but perhaps not). However, things were once black and white
but now they are multico
loured. Well, you get the idea. Printing has changed.
The weather, by way of contrast, is more of a pointillist painting. Discrete spots of black and white creating the illusion of grey. So yesterday was winter. Discrete spots turning into
torrential downpour, and today it is summer. Place them side by side and it appears to be autumn.
In the garden it is simpler. The first Nerine bowdenii has opened, a pale pink form that almost certainly derived from Dutch breeding work, and thence from N. bowdenii 'Pallida'.
(Introduced by Veitch as N. veitchii but renamed N. bowdenii 'Pallida' when it received an AM in 1911).
Nerine are to autumn as turkeys are to Christmas. Somehow they are the emblem of the season. Any colour you like as long as it's pink. (Bugger, done it again!)
25th September 2016
Roscoea purpurea 'Red Gurkha'
Have you ever tried to stand on your head on top of a tottering tower of chairs? No? Nor have I!
It's a good thing we all have imaginations then. Everything seems to be running along the track of expectation and then suddenly the perspective changes. A catastrophic tumble to a more stable
situation and a moment for reflection.
'Red Gurkha' has taken such a tumble. I was happy to have it, wrapped in some slight mist of confusion, as a distinct red flowered form. Then along came the variation in height and pseudostem colour.
Several clones were originally introduced, but all was fine. They don't seem to set seed by themselves. All the red ones were described as R. p. f. rubra which solved the taxonomic issue
and the collection BBMS 43 was confirmed as 'Red Gurkha'. Fabulous plant, much lusted after, much propagated by division and widely available. It was becoming, dare I say, commonplace.
I wandered through the Roscoea in flower and wondered if plants like R. p. 'Dalai Lama' were going to be lost in the scarlet tide. 'Red Gurkha' has proved to be very fertile when crossed
with other colour forms, and the babies follow in its blood-line. Red, red everywhere, and not a dismal one among them. Suddenly it struck me that 'Red Gurkha' itself and the other introduced clones were all at risk.
The children will displace the parents. I must take more care of the original.
25th September 2016
Hedychium gardnerianum 'Kenneggy'
Among the gingers, strange innovations are afoot. Blood red Roscoea are just the shocking start. Hedychium can be highly inconvenient. Six to eight feet highly on occasion. They
are all wonderful but they do have their problems. They are too big and they don't bloom freely enough for gardeners raised on a diet of rich soils and fat flowers. Out of the blue
this tiny form of H. gardnerianum was raised by Stephen Mules at Lower Kenneggy Nursery from a batch of seed (he forgets the origin). Tiny wee little thing by Hedychium standards.
Flowering at about 18 inches (45cm) tall and producing a bloom on every stem, it is as close to a perfect innovation as one could hope to meet. The right thing at the right time.
For Stephen it sets seed, but then he is in the pseudo-tropics, some 10 miles to the south of me. I have moved it into the prop house in the hope that more warmth will help.
It is fabulous, and I should be satisfied that the best species has produced a better form, but wouldn't a range of hybrids be wonderful.
Gilding the ginger-lily.
25th September 2016
There is no pleasure quite like raising some seedlings to see what comes up. Things never go quite as expected. I have some pots of double primroses in need of pricking out as I write.
I know what I expect, but I know better than to expect it.
Nerine seedlings will come up to flower in four of five years if they are treated kindly. Unfortunately there never seems to be enough time for that. They get put to one side and left to get on with it.
There are always more to sow, they will flower eventually. As a result I have the label in this pot of seedlings which records my actions. It is open pollinated seed collected from N. bowdenii 'Mollie Cowie',
but I don't remember doing it. I was probably just sowing seed of everything I had. I do that sort of thing. Perhaps I was trying to see if the variegation would be inherited by the offspring. I might have written myself
a note explaining it, but it hasn't made it as far as my records.
Whatever I was up to, I have watched the pot casually for many years with little expectation. The first flowers stopped me in my tracks. That isn't N. bowdenii, it is a hybrid. The N. bowdenii
grow in a block surrounded by N. sarniensis and N. undulata. Perhaps a friendly bee has been at work, perhaps it was me and I have forgotten what I did.
Whatever the history, the outcome is fabulous and, inevitably, unexpected.
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.
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