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.
19th September 2021
Primula allionii 'James' .
As the sun lowers in the sky the garden has been illuminated in strange ways. Sudden shafts of light appear in unaccustomed placed. In a few weeks the leaves will start to fall
and as the days become darker, somehow the garden seems lighter. With a shrug of their shoulders the trees will shed the heavy cares of summer and, if I'm lucky, the
garden will fill with the playful crunch of fallen leaves.
I haven't got much time for the idea of winter in Cornwall. The autumn will be long and the spring will arrive early. It seems perverse to fret over the heartbeats pause between them.
Some of the Primula take the same view, producing an early flower at this time of the year in support of my opinion.
I have a small collection of alpine primulas, they grow in limestone chippings in the hope that it will keep vine weevil under control. I was disappointed to see
a plant with drying, brown edged leaves last week, typical of in infestation of the dreaded weevil. I tipped it out of the pot to deal with the problem and was delighted
to find that it was weevil free. I have root mealybug instead, a brand new pest in the collection.
The poor plant was treated and re-potted, I will keep a close eye on developments.
19th September 2021
Dendrobium tetragonum giganteum .
The dendrobiums of Australia have occupied my attention for a few years now. I like to think that I grow as many as I need but somehow I seem to find space
for new ones from time to time. Dendrobium linguiforme grew well for a couple of years and then died last winter. I'm still not sure why, however when in doubt, have another go.
I replaced it in spring in the spirit of adventure.
D. tetragonum has concerned me more. It grows on the eastern coast of Australia and the range stretches well into Queensland,
suggesting that it may not be all that tolerant of cold weather. I had three plants, one dropped dead almost immediately, the other two seem to have adapted to conditions here.
I will be happier when I have abundant new growth in the spring but autumn flowers suggest that it has established.
This arrived under the name D. tetragonum ssp. giganteum but the pale flower supports the idea that it is actually the more northern (warmer growing)
D. tetragonum cacatua. I have been feeding it well through the summer and hoping for an exuberant flush of growth in the spring.
19th September 2021
Nerine bowdenii .
Some things start with a great fanfare, others seem to slip gently into the limelight. I have been watching the Liquidambar in the garden for the first signs of autumn colour.
Driving around the county, the first leaves on roadside shrubs have browned and the scarlet haws on the hawthorn are shining. The Liquidambar
remains green but slowly the top leaves will start to colour in the next week or two. Nerine bowdenii follows a similar slow path. There are flower spikes in various stages
of emergence in the garden but no flowers yet. I am always interested in plants that extend the flowering season so I was very pleased to get a bulb of N. b. 'Praecox'
from the Nerine and Amaryllid Society's bulb exchange. The first flower opened during the week in the greenhouse but ten days later than one of my own seedlings from 'Nikita'.
After several years trying to obtain 'Praecox' there is a curious mixture of elation and frustration associated with raising a seedling that steals its thunder.
It may not flower as early next year. I'm not sure whether I will be happy about that or not.
Other than the early flower this seedling has little to commend it. I have used the pollen in the hope of making some early flowering hybrids and have crossed it with my earliest flowering
N. sarniensis just because I could. In a few years time I will find out if anything useful has been achieved.
19th September 2021
Canarina canariensis .
The last time I grew Canarina canariensis it caused me problems. It comes from the mountains of the Canary Isles
and although the tuber will tolerate low temperatures, the soft stems are produced in winter and do not resist frost. For several years I lost the top growth in January
when frost penetrated the greenhouse. Eventually the tuber weakened and the plant expired without ever flowering.
During the summer I was given another plant, it resumed growth almost immediately and has flowered long before there is a chance of frost. I don't think I have done
anything different this time. It was so unexpected that I would have overlooked the bud if I hadn't been tying the vining stem onto a cane. The flowers are usually
orange with darker veins, this one seems to be very red. It is possible that this is a better strain or a cultivated selection. Whatever the reason, the ability to produce
flowers makes it a distinct improvement on the previous plant.
It is far too early to describe this as a success but the plant is growing in the Nerine house, it should fit in well with the watering regime. I was tempted to plant it in the soil
and allow it to scramble about among the pots but for the moment I am being cautious and keeping it in a pot.
If the flower results in seed then perhaps I can be a bit more adventurous next year.
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.
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