Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
5th January 2014
Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'
A week of wind, rain and headlines. No doubt at the end of the month the weather forcasters will tell us we had the wettest thirty seven minutes on record
or some such. So far the headlines have passed me by, as has the worst of the weather. The storm fronts have rattled through overnight
leaving the garden saturated but more or less undamaged. The ground under the trees has been heavily mulched with some quite large branches
but they are all dead wood that has been waiting to fall. On balance, I would rather it was on the ground.
'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' has finally opened. It is late this year, I think because it hasn't had sufficient chill to tell it that winter is over.
The early flowers stand on short stems and have stood up to the gales. I went out looking for it on New Years day but the buds were only just bending over.
Three days later I have a handful in flower. It has been remarkably warm.
I say that with some trepidation because I have noted the sudden arrival of extreme cold weather in the northeastern USA. Those storms will spend a week or
so wandering across the Atlantic but be running out of steam by the time they get here. However they are a warning that cold Arctic air has started to flow south
and some icy northern blasts may well be on the way. If the two things meet I will be able to build a snowman and these Narcissus will be glad for the short stems.
5th January 2014
Galanthus elwesii 'November'
The snowdrops continue their steady ascent from the mud. I have been prevaricating around snowdrop events this spring. I need to get my act together and
enter them all in the diary so that I know what's what and when and where. I have been putting it off, knowing that once I start
the weekends will fill up with insanity and the illusion of a relaxing spring will evaporate.
This is a form of Galanthus elwesii selected by Bob Brown because it flowers in November. This year the warm autumn may have held it back,
or it may need a year or two to settle in (I planted it last february). I saw it blooming at Cotswold Garden Flowers
on October 18th 2008, so I know it can do it. I tell you that to celebrate the fact that my garden notes are finally digitised and indexed and I am now able to
recover such arcane information. My memory requires a little assistance these days. For example, although I planted it last february I can't remember if it was flowering
or had flowered and finished. I didn't take a picture at the time which is unlike me, and probably means the flower was over.
5th January 2014
Helleborus 'Walhero' WALBERTON'S ROSEMARY
The hellebores flower for a long period while spring shuffles about aimlessly. They will be over by the time we get any real warmth
but they characterise these early months. I have been a little worried by the hellebore border. At the end of october I ran the mower over the whole
thing to remove all the old leaves. It is the only way to tidy it up before the flowers appear but I'm always convinced it will kill them all.
This year I followed it up a couple of weeks later with a herbicide to kill the nettles that were invading, and then I went to bed to dream about
all the other things I could grow if the hellebores didn't survive it. The first flower heads are starting to elongate so perhaps it hasn't
been a catastrophe, only time will tell.
'Walhero' grows on its own closer to the house and has been safe from the mower. It is sold as WALBERTON'S ROSEMARY but I can't bring myself to call it that, it feels like shouting.
Raised by David Tristram, it is a hybrid between a red H. x hybridus and H.niger. It starts flowering early in the year
and because it is sterile it continues to produce new flowers for months. It makes a stylish start to the new year and responded to a few sunny hours
in the middle of the week by opening wide.
5th January 2014
Narcissus romieuxii 'Joy Bishop'
The end of the week has been dark and grey. I have been working in the greenhouse making room for more bulbs, and in the process I removed a bench that was in the way.
I had forgotten that the bench was covering over an old tree stump that had been impossible to move when the greenhouse was built. After fifteen years of decay
I was hoping that it might have become a little more tractable and set to work removing it. A happy half day later and it was gone. I hadn't been able to dig it out
but I managed to chop it off below ground a piece at a time. Now I remember why I left it alone all those years ago. In the triumphant ecstasy of the final blows,
I lifted my mighty axe too high and put it through the plastic roof. There hasn't been enough dry weather to go up and replace the sheet of roofing, and the lazy part of me is still considering
glueing a patch over it with silicone sealer. Stomping grumpily towards the door I noticed that Narcissus romieuxii had opened and their gossamer fragility
left me feeling like a half-witted giant wielding a big stick.
Serves me right.
'Joy Bishop' is a selection from Narcissus romieuxii JCA 805, seed collected by Jim Archibald in 1963 in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Over time it has become a very influential
seed collection. Archibald named 'Julia Jane' from the seedlings and others have named 'Treble Chance' and 'Atlas Gold' subsequently. They are the very last things to flower in autumn
or the very first breath of spring and this year looks like a particularly good one for them, which may reflect the fact that I repotted them all in the summer
and they are no longer starved and congested. They prefer to be a little on the dry side during winter so they don't really prosper outside and I must make an effort to fix the roof
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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