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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


That's enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.

25th February 2024

Primula allionii 'Cissie'
The rain has continued to fall and temperatures have remained high. Spring is surging onwards, unhindered by a few degrees fall which has returned us to normal temperature for the time of year. Things aren't yet moving at the frantic pace they will achieve next month, but the steady pace has quickened. The garden is still wearing its bright, winter complexion but things are changing. In a photograph of the garden I noticed something I hadn't seen while walking around. The trees are changing, buds are swelling. The stark grey twigginess of winter has been softened, as though light smoke was blowing through the branches. I haven't lit the bonfire, I haven't lit the stove. Spring is settling on the trees.
Down in the greenhouse the new light of spring is unquestionably pink. Primula allionii has been sputtering with bloom for a few weeks but the consistent warmth has brought it all together. I will never get the solid pink cushions of northern growers. That depends on the co-ordination of cold, keeping buds dormant until they are all released together. I get a longer, more diffuse season. Still, 'Cissie' is trying her best and making a pretty good show for a bright mountain plant in a dark, dank garden.



25th February 2024

Freesia viridis
The Nerine house has passed through its months of brash glory and moved into a quieter phase. The leaves are fully developed and have fallen flat across the pots. They have subtly different colours and textures. Green and grey, shadows and light, ripple over the floor like a restful sea. The Nerine house is still a nice place to sit, the brightness is over but it is good to rest and ponder the rippling leaves stretching to the blue-grey horizon. In the case of the Nerine house, it is the blue tinted plastic walls that make up the horizon but it doesn't do to get too trapped in practical pedantry.
Hidden in the magnificence of the ocean view is an occasional detail swimming like a silvery fish. Last week it was the cerise flowers of Cyclamen coum tumbling from one of the Haemanthus pots. I don't know how it got in there but it is cherished. Freesia viridis is equally precious. It arrives in a tiny triumphal pot, the coup de grace of winter. I look for it all through January among the various Freesia species that splash through the waters of Nerine. Suddenly it is there, small and green and encapsulating the spirit of spring.



25th February 2024

Pieris 'Forest Flame'
Pieris treat the transition from winter to spring very differently. The buds form in strings on their long flower stalks in autumn and they sit there through the winter. Is it spring yet? No, it isn't. The reddish buds smother the leaves with a warm froth of promise. It is astonishing that they aren't damaged by cold and frost, but they aren't. Are you sure it isn't spring yet. Yes, we're sure.
'Forest Flame' is the first to relent in the garden. Is it spring yet? Yes, it is. Almost nothing changes, but overnight the flowers inflate from the gritty buds and smother the bushes with white.
I call it 'Forest Flame', I may have it wrong. It is moderately compact, early flowering and bursts into scarlet fire as the new growth emerges. It doesn't have the yellow tone of 'Firecrest' or the size of the true P. formosa forms. I certainly planted 'Forest Flame' and I am happy that this could be it. Although there was once a label, its knowledge has long passed from sight.



25th February 2024

Cymbidium goeringii 'Red Bean'
Last year the winter produced some shocks among the orchids. A couple of harsh radiation frosts at the start of December did a lot more damage than lower absolute temperatures later in the year. This year I took some extra precautions and covered plants with fleece at the first signs of cold nights. I am sure that the plants would have liked some extra light but I wasn't prepared to risk more significant frost damage. I lost a few Dendrobium that had been hardy with me for several years. It was a valuable learning experience (I muttered through clenched teeth).
I wasn't as worried about the few Chinese Cymbidium that I grow. They are fussy things, and they like conditions to be just right, but they aren't worried by a bit of frost. Despite my confidence, when I was spreading the fleece around they got covered. I took the fleece off last week rather nervously. Was I uncovering them too soon, would they have suffered in the dark?
Finding Cymbidium goeringii 'Red Bean' in flower was a very pleasant surprise. It is a very subtle orchid. It suits the season.



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Acorus Alocasia Anemone Arisaema Arum Asarum Aspidistra Begonia Bletilla Camellia Cautleya Chlorophytum
Clivia Colocasia Crocosmia Cymbidium Dionaea Disa Drosera Epimedium Eucomis Fuchsia Galanthus Hedychium
Helleborus Hemerocallis Hepatica Hosta Impatiens Iris Liriope Nerine Ophiopogon Orchids Pleione
Polygonatum Polypodium Ranunculus ficaria Rhodohypoxis Rohdea Roscoea Sansevieria Sarracenia Scilla Tricyrtis Tulbaghia Watsonia

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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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 spam from automated systems as a result of having an address on the front page.
Perhaps my MONKEY will fool them.

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