Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
3rd November 2013
Fascicularia bicolor ssp. canaliculata
So far this autumn has been more of a publicity stunt than a season. The shops have been full of beautiful pumpkins. It is almost the only
crop I can think of grown solely for cutting into pieces. Hazel coppice is the closest comparison I can find and it is also inedible. The firework season
seems to have blended with Halloween, people in the village have been letting them off every evening this week and I'm sure there are more to come. The weather
has been playing a part. Wind and rain have been forecast all week so activities have been crammed into every dry moment.
Fortunately there hasn't been as much rain as promised. Last weekend's storm passed over without damage and hasn't even removed the autumn leaves (such as there are).
The best seasonal colour comes from Fascicularia as usual. The rosettes flower irregularly through the late summer and autumn and there is usually something showing.
The main attraction are the scarlet central leaves but for a few days the blue flowers make a good display (though slugs like to chew them). I have a couple of different clones
and I am sure that the depth of colour in the flowers varies but I have never had them all open at the same time to make a proper comparison
(digital photographs are not always reliable).
3rd November 2013
I was expecting Sinningia conspicua to flower much earlier this year. I brought the pot indoors over winter to protect the tuber, and it started into growth as soon
as there was some spring sunshine. A warm summer should have seen it race forward and I have been watching for buds since July without a sign. I think it
was probably underpotted and a little too dry through the summer but it has got there in the end. Low night temperatures mean that the flowers could rot off at any moment
and it is ready to come indoors again if the weather turns towards frost. I have previously kept it in a cold greenhouse through the winter but it wasn't happy about it. It dries off
completely and spends the winter as a hard brown tuber so the main risk if I bring it indoors is that I will mistake it for kindling when I light the fire.
The species comes from Brazil and for a short while it looked as though it might be hardy enough to use as a general herbaceous plant but it isn't and its popularity
declined quite rapidly when that became apparent. In the last few years it has been used to produce hybrids in the USA and it may next come to our attention
as the parent of a range of flowering pot plants for the summer (or possibly it will be the next great bedding sensation).
3rd November 2013
Hedychium gracile var. glaucum
The Hedychium have had a good year. A combination of repotting in the winter and a hot summer has suited them well. It has made it very clear that the remainder of the collection
will have to be repotted this year, and that will mean finding more space for them. At present I think I can push them all under the benches in the greenhouse but in the longer term I will have to build a shed
where the pots can be stacked through the winter. I was planning to plant them all out this year. A few of them went out, but the rabbits have chewed them to the ground and I need to
rethink that plan.
Fortunately they are easy to house through the summer. They have done really well standing outside in full sun. All I have to do is make sure they stay wet while they are growing and in this
climate that doesn't involve a lot of work. I watered them once in April when they went outside and since then the rain has done the job for me.
I have a few different clones of H.gracile but the differences seem to be slight. This one is supposedly H.g. var. glaucum but if the labels were mixed I would never tell them apart.
Possibly this one comes to a peak of bloom a fortnight later but it might just be random variation. Two years ago I bought a plant that I thought had distinctly primrose flowers
but this year they are all looking a bit yellowish and I am not sure that the difference is real.
3rd November 2013
Down in the greenhouse the process of repotting bulbs continues. The rain promised for the week has left some spare time for underover jobs like repotting. It is getting a bit late now, and the
Nerine sarniensis forms all have well developed leaves but I think it is better to continue than to leave the last few for another year. Many of them are so pot-bound they can only go downhill
The collection was looking very orange when they flowered last year, and I made an effort to add more with purple flowers. 'Dingaan' was my favourite and well worth the purchase price
(I wasn't entirely convinced at the time, but I am happy now). A nice cluster of bulbs in the pot established well and have flowered again this year. This was raised at Exbury and
is one of the darkest purples that have been named. It should produce some good seedlings.
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.
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