That's 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.
26th November 2023
The garden is dithering. I have done it myself, standing in front of a supermarket shelf looking for an answer. Is it this or is it that? Do I need either of them?
What am I actually doing anyway? The garden has talked itself into the same uncertain trance, it isn't asleep and it isn't awake. Looking at the calendar
I would assume that it was about to fall asleep, that seasonal horticultural tiredness was about to descend towards solsticial somnolence. However the fresh green
growth of spring seems closer. The seasons are dithering.
Bananas have their own clarity. Musa 'Tibet' has been looking good for months. It was slow to start in the spring but once it got going the heat and rain of summer
gave it a great boost. We have had a few storms to shred the leaves elegantly but they haven't done any structural damage to the plants. The frost could come at any moment
and blacken the foliage so I have taken the time to sit on the seat and enjoy the bananas at their best. A cold wind ruffles the leaves in the leaden sunshine
of the autumnal tropics.
26th November 2023
It is a cold wind, but it is blowing from the south. It is spreading a seditious spring through the autumn garden. The south terrace beside the house has filled with
dew-jewelled cobwebs and the crumbling wonder of summer. Agave mitis flowered there this year, there are swollen seed pots forming on the stem.
I would love to grow a second generation of plants from it but I am worried that the pods are empty. They look as though they are hanging from the flower spike
out of duty rather than fecundity. I could break one open and check but then I would know. I am saving the disappointment for the days between the solstice and Christmas
when the garden becomes still and the unfulfilled hopes of the old year are entirely replaced by unlikely hopes for the next.
The gloom on the south terrace is magnified by the contrast with the summer sunshine. Autumn winds have tumbled the plastic chairs and as I picked them up I saw the
first Lesser Celandine of the season. It is a tiny triumph, a speck of sunshine breaking through from next year. The hopes for the new season may be unlikely
but they have started well. There may even be some Agave seed after all.
26th November 2023
Iris lazica 'Turkish Blue'
It has frequently been said that if you want to keep something in the garden you should give it away. It sounds like generosity but it is no such thing,
it is self interest. I grow a number of forms of Iris lazica because I value the winter flowers even though they are mostly theoretical. It does not
flower through the winter as reliably as Iris unguicularis, preferring to delay the display into March. Iris unguicularis grows at the foot of the house wall
and produces sporadic winter flowers to feed the slugs through the difficult cold weeks. I see the buds and I see the tattered remains but I very rarely them blooming.
Iris lazica is more tolerant of the damp shade of this garden but equally loved by slugs. I grow a few plants in pots where they limp along
feebly and flower deliciously. They aren't very vigorous but they persist. I gave one to a friend who planted it in a north border, with visions of a winter cushion
of purple fragrance. I didn't like to pour cold water on the unlikely scheme and I'm glad I didn't. It was amazing.
My pots were immediately planted on the north side of an old hawthorn. They have loved it, filling the ground with dense sheaves of foliage
and overwhelming the local slugs ability to eat the flowers. I would have limped along for years, secure in my preconceptions. As it is, I occasionally have
half a flower to celebrate the good times to come.
26th November 2023
Whatever I call it in an abstract sense, it is very obviously camellia season. Perhaps this is a good year or perhaps it is just chance
and young plants are reaching maturity but the garden is full of flowers. It shouldn't come as a surprise to me, I have been planting
autumn camellias whenever I get the opportunity, but this year is has started to show.
Camellia sasanqua is a wonderful thing. It isn't the same as the spring flowering C. japonica forms, it is a wild, loose, scented and sometimes
smelly thing. It is the difference between garden compost and potting compost. Camellia sasanqua and Camellia japonica, the same word used for different things.
Only a moron would confuse them.
However some spring camellias do their best to tempt the moron into confusion. C. 'November Pink' has been in flower for a couple of weeks and
C. 'Takanini' has just joined it. They are both spring flowering camellias that confuse the world by starting spring early. They are very welcome.
The garden is cold and it will get colder, it may even become wintery. The spring camellias have had a first laugh and as the sunshine returns they will get the last.
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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