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.
17th November 2019
Nerine x versicolor 'Mansellii' .
The congestion of autumn is starting to clear. The last leaves are falling and occasional bursts of sunshine reach to the ground.
They are very welcome. In the weeks to come they will be the advance warning of cold nights and radiation frosts, but for now they
lift the spirits.
I have a large Liriodendron beside one of the paths through the garden. It was planted too close to the path in the heady days
of youth when it was impossible to believe that it would ever be a tree. Thirty years later it is too big and in the wrong place.
What do you do with a Liriodendron that is in the way?
Live with it.
As the Liriodendron leaves have started to fall they have hung in dense swags from the branches, a brooding overhead presence
emphasising its bulk. This week they have slipped and fallen. I imagine they hit the ground with a thud, I wasn't there when it happened.
Suddenly the garden was lighter.
In a similar way, I have snapped the dead flower stems from the Nerine sarniensis forms. The greenhouse immediately looked fresher.
The hybrids with N.undulata are coming into flower, 'Mansellii' is probably the oldest of them. Raised in Guernsey in 1880 it still
provides a strong splash of pink into early December and seems to be free of virus, which is remarkable after such a long period in cultivation.
17th November 2019
Hedychium urophyllum .
My new Hedychium garden is situated on the north-eastern side of a tall Leylandii wind break. The winter sun doesn't penetrate.
It lies along the base of a fold in the underlying rock. Water from higher up the slope drains through the soil and so it is always moist.
I like to imagine that these are perfect conditions for the Hedychium, only time will tell if I am right. The first stage of the plan is complete.
I have carried all the plants from the greenhouse and placed them on the ground in their intended positions. It may not sound like much,
but the final pot was deposited with a mixture of relief and delight. With Autumn advancing and the threat of frost on the horizon, all I
have to do now is dig some holes and put the plants in them. I started during the week. In the thin drizzle of Tuesday night I spent the
last half hour of light putting in the first two. It's a start.
Hedychium urophyllum went in two years ago, at the start of the process, and it is now showing the benefit of being planted out.
It is stronger and more compact than it ever was in the greenhouse. Every stem produced flowers this year and it has lasted for weeks.
It also survived the beast from the east without problems. It isn't surprising, it would have been safe below ground as the temperatures
fell, but it reassuring that the effort involved in planting the garden may not have been wasted (though like all good pessimists,
my fingers remain resolutely crossed).
17th November 2019
Stenoglottis longifolia .
The same crossed fingers are the main protection for Stenoglottis longifolia. The plant comes from the Drakensburg in South Africa, a cool
, damp range of mountains that have been the source of many plants that are hardy in the UK. Whether Stenoglottis longifolia is among them
remains to be fully tested. In the winter of 1987/8 I killed it in a cold greenhouse but it was an exceptional year. I had nearly 8inches of snow
and it hung around for weeks. The Stenoglottis had been starved through the summer, dessicated through the autumn, and heavily overgrown
by the competition. In short, it had been neglected. We had a very cold winter and the Stenoglottis died. They may not be cause and effect.
In recent years my cultivation has improved, the plants are flowering well and should continue for a few more weeks. They will then die down
and hopefully any cold weather will arrive when they are dormant and better protected. With the first glimpse of spring sunshine, the new growth will arise
and the cycle will repeat.
And the fingers will remain crossed.
17th November 2019
Leucojum vernum .
Snowdrops in the garden last week marked the early promise of spring. They are looking better this week. I still don't have the first of the
early G. elwesii forms poking through the soil but I am reassured that they will appear shortly. I know that the flowers arise
almost as soon as the first glaucous noses appear. I'm not expecting flowers for a couple of weeks, there is no need to panic though
I will greet their arrival with a flood of relief. In my mind I will splash about in the puddles of happiness though in public view
I will be more restrained.
Snowdrops, however welcome, were to be expected. Leucojum vernum was not. At least it was obtained as Leucojum vernum,
it isn't exactly typical of the species. It flowered very early last year as well, and went on to produce tall, open flowers
right up until March. This autumn flower is simply bizarre, unexpected, beyond my ability to explain.
The garden clears the stage for the spring flowers and with barely a heartbeats pause, the spring flowers arrive.
Latest Update: Strumaria karooica
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.
If you want to contact me, the address is incompetentjohnMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
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.