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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.

23rd January 2022

Temperatures have been dropping in the garden through the week leading to an arctic ice-blast on Thursday night. That is to say, we had our first frost of the year. Small patches of ground frost persisted through the day and a thin film of ice on the water-lily bucket lasted into the afternoon.
It wasn't a surprise, the forecast had been warning of it all week, and it doesn't seem to have done a lot of damage. In some ways it is quite reassuring to have had some cold weather now that the garden is waking for the spring. The bananas had been shredded and bruised by the wind but they were still looking perky until the frost came. Now they are black. They will look tatty for a couple of months but the new leaves unroll very rapidly once the warmth returns.
The Hedychium also took a hit. They had been looking good at the start of the week but on Friday morning the foliage had lost its gloss and the distinctive odour of frosted vegetation hung in the air over the Hedychium border. This morning I went out there and the leaves have crumpled and are going brown. No doubt the stems will collapse shortly. A quick glance at Brugmansia sanguinea was more cheering. I think it might have survived the first freeze. A couple of flower buds remain so there is still the chance of another flower.
A few unexpected woolly flowers graced the garden after the frost. They were encouraged back into the field next door and they seemed happy enough to return home. I don't think my Yucca and Agave were very palatable.


23rd January 2022

Galanthus 'Moccas' .
The snowdrops have started to make a decent show. I need to space them out a bit more now the clumps are increasing so trips around the garden are spent looking for useful little spaces to plant things. The distinctive cultivars are easy to place but a lot of snowdrops are very similar, they need to be put in places where I can label them securely. I will bury labels under the clumps as well, just to be certain, but it is a little inconvenient to have to dig them up if you forget the name (and I do).
At the top of the garden I have half a dozen cultivars planted in patches under the trees. Although there is still some space up there I am frightened to add anything new for fear of getting confused. The ones that have been in for a decade I have straight in my mind and I'm happy to leave it at that. On the other hand, if I can't easily tell them apart does it really matter if they get confused?
'Moccas' has been in the ground for a long time. The clumps are a bit weaker this year, I think the trees are becoming too dense but the plan it to thin them again this summer and perhaps that will help. Like many of the mid-winter snowdrops it has been a bit later this year than I expected. The first flowers opened this week in the sunshine. When I first planted it in the 1980's it was the earliest snowdrop I grew and it acted as a herald of spring. Its flowering is still a cherished moment.


23rd January 2022

Iris lazica 'Joy Bishop' .
For the last two months the garden has been filled with the tantalising promise of spring. Daffodils have been producing shoots, buds have been fattening on camellias and there have been a host of other signs that spring is just on the point of bursting. Just on the point but not quite there yet. This week things have been changing.
In the middle of summer I split a large clump of Iris lazica 'Joy Bishop'. It was in the way and had to be moved or I wouldn't have bothered. It gave me a lot of large divisions to plant about the garden and most of them have ended up under an old Hawthorn where there is some moisture. Almost as soon as they were replanted they produced a flush of buds that were completely eaten away by slugs. In December a new flush of buds formed and last week I put down a light scattering of slug bait to protect them. As a result the first flowers are opening and offering some bright and distinctive spring colour.



23rd January 2022

Narcissus 'Bowles Early Sulphur' .
The warning of frost encouraged me to go around on Thursday taking some extra precautions. The last few Billbergia were still standing on a bench outside the greenhouse and they were moved under cover. They would have laughed off a light frost, and survived quite a heavy freeze, but it does set them back quite badly. I grow a few outside and they persist but they struggle to look good. When one of the better ones outside was eaten by a deer a few years ago it was a relief to see the saga finally brought to an end.
I spread a fleece over the Dendrobium in the greenhouse. They are full of buds, it is looking like there is a fabulous year developing, it would have been a pity to lose it to a single cold night. No doubt there will be more to come in February, I have left the fleece where it is handy. They just need to be nursed through a couple of weeks.
Up by the house the cold snap seems to have invigorated the daffodils. I have five cultivars in flower now so the daffodil season is underway. The latest to come into flower has been 'Bowles Early Sulphur', the pale flowers look surprisingly bright among the snowdrops. It had spent several years in the shelter of a large rhododendron and hardly increased. Two years ago I moved it out into the sunshine and at last there are signs that it is growing vigorously. I would like to grow it in big clumps around the garden but I think that might be a pipe-dream.
The arrival of some very fat sheep suggested that lambs are not far off, spring is underway. Before long the relative stillness of winter will be over and the panic of a new season will have begun. These cold beginnings to the process are the very best part. There is enough going on to be interesting and enough time to enjoy it.


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Acorus Alocasia Anemone Arisaema Arum Asarum Aspidistra Begonia Camellia Cautleya Chlorophytum
Clivia Colocasia Crocosmia Dionaea Disa Drosera Epimedium Eucomis Fuchsia Galanthus Hedychium
Helleborus Hemerocallis Hepatica Hosta Impatiens Iris Liriope Nerine Ophiopogon 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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