Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
5th February 2012
Helleborus x hybridus Double White
We were so close. Just a couple more weeks and we could have slipped through winter without troubling the moths in the thermal underwear drawer.
Fortunately we were warned. Weather forecasters were a bit coy about where the bad weather was going to hit but they were quite emphatic that it was coming.
The garden has frozen on four nights this week, the first frost of the year, and it has cleared the remains of summer. Last week I had half-a-dozen
Fuchsia still in flower, this week I don't even have leaves. A single browned flower still dangling from the stems of 'Diana Wright' as though the
life might somehow drain back into it. Often the end of the old Fuchsia season overlaps the new as Fuchsia excorticata opens its winter flowers
but the swelling buds have been blasted beyond recovery.
The Hellebores stems all collapsed in the freeze, but most of them have stood up again with the thaw. A couple of the taller plants have lost the full
grown stems, but there are more to come. This double white has been in flower for six weeks and is making a good show. It is very compact and has shrugged off
the cold weather. It froze where it stood and then thawed again without batting an eyelid (I had 4cm of ice on open water).
5th February 2012
Galanthus 'Lady Elphinstone'
The snowdrops also collapsed to the ground in the cold but they have stood up again. Fortunately we didn't get the snow that the rest of the country seems
be dealing with. I woke up yesterday and it was raining gently outside, temperatures had risen and so had the snowdrops.
A have a few clumps of 'Lady Elphinstone' growing in the meadow and I have been meaning to split them for some time now but by the time the leaves
die down the meadow is so tall that the clumps are lost. Last summer I dug out a couple of cherry trees and the bulbs disturbed in the process have been
spread more widely through the space (you can see them in the background). It will take a few more years before they make large clumps again but they are flowering so the move didn't upset them.
The remaining clumps will be split in a couple of months time. It is a pity to disturb them just as they reach their best but it leads to a better display in the long term.
No double yellow flowers showing at the moment but in previous years they have come later in the season, as the first wave of flowers finishes.
5th February 2012
The Camellia were well into their flowering season when the cold weather hit, and as expected all the open flowers have been browned.
'Nobilissima' was having its best season for years, the double white flowers untouched by cold. They are all brown now and even if they are picked off
the bush never looks pristine again.
In the greenhouse I had two nights where the temperature dropped to minus 5degC. I had spent time last week covering things over to try and preserve them.
There is so much fleece strung around the place that I keep expecting to run into a giant spider somewhere. I have never got this carried away before,
usually I just complain about the cold and throw the dead things away in the spring.
This Camellia has managed to open its first flowers underneath a fleece tent. I was warned when I got it that it was not hardy enough to grow outdoors,
but it has been undamaged here in a cold greenhouse and I think it would be equally untroubled outside. The flowers are small and grow in clusters from the leaf axils.
I have seen pictures of larger flowered forms and a form with double flowers and they are both things that I would buy if I saw them, but not search out.
5th February 2012
This is just bravado in the face of cold weather. The temperatures have gone up for now but there is no telling when they will plunge again.
There is still a big pool of very cold air circling over Siberia and it doesn't take much for it to flow eastwards. The tropical house looks like
a silkworms cocoon I have wrapped so much fleece round it, but it has helped to preserve the plants. The danger of fleece is that
plants dry out under it, and when you finally lift it in spring things have been killed by dessication rather than cold. I don't
have a thermometer in it, but it is next to the Hedychium house, which fell to minus 5degC on two nights. I assume that this experienced the same sort of
temperatures, but under the fleece these two flowers of Bomarea edulis are undamaged. A little bit of protection makes a big difference.
Under the same tent, I still have the last flowers on Solanum laxum 'Album' and the Clematis cuttings are starting to produce new growths.
The Cymbidium spend the winter under the bench and don't seem to have been damged (it's a bit difficult to tell until the new shoots appear)
but those that were producing flower spikes now have strings of black pulp dangling from the pots, but there's always next year.
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