Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
11th May 2014
A good week in the garden. The woodland flowers of spring are fading and the first of the azaleas have started. I look at the herbaceous border,
which still needs a lot of work, and sigh wistfully. Another month or two of spring and I might have got it finished. It would be nice to think
that there was time in December, but there really isn't. By the time the weather improves enough to get out there, things are already underway.
At the start of the year I was overtaken by a great plan to slowly replace the older trees in the garden with Magnolia campbellii.
It wouldn't matter for twenty years, and then suddenly the place would erupt with large pink flowers. I thought that it might be fun and the seed
is currently in the fridge stratifying. By the time plants are large enough to put out I will have changed my mind, but I am enjoying the idea.
While I am waiting I enjoy the hybrids I have already planted. Most of them will make small trees rather than the forest giants I now envision
but they also flower at a younger age. They make good, practical common sense. Just the sort of thing I am likely to ignore.
I planted 'Galaxy' because it had a good reputation and it certainly flowered early. As a young plant I was underwhelmed. It has a grubby pink flower
and when I was able to look down on it, I looked down on it. A couple of years growth has improved the situation, the flowers are held over my head
and they glow in the sunshine. The further it grows away from me, the more I like it.
11th May 2014
Luzuriaga radicans RH 0602
The pure white flower of Luzuriaga radicans was a surprise find in the greenhouse. I hadn't noticed the flower buds forming.
It is a wiry creeping shrub that makes dense mats of growth over the ground, rooting as it goes. In its native Chile it is said to climb tree trunks
though it has never shown the slightest inclination to ascend here, it would much rather dangle along the ground. I have grown it for decades
because it is a relative of Lapageria and Philesia without seeing a single flower. A couple of years ago I bought a new clone
from Crug Farm Plants which flowered last year and has repeated the event this. One of those plants that is indistinguishable from the standard clone
and yet better.
This one was collected in Chile by Dick Hayward and Martin Rickard. Given some moisture and the shade of the Hedychium house it has grown vigorously.
It has produced many rooted divisions and one of them will be planted in moist soil at the foot of a tree to see what happens.
11th May 2014
The sun is shining on a beautiful afternoon, I have a cup of coffee, a custard tart and this is the golden age of gardening. There are days when it doesn't
seem that way, but then there are Tulbaghia. Onions that you can't eat with flowers that you can't pick. It is quite beyond my ability to understand
their fascination. I fell under their influence years ago and they have opened a bottomless pit of charm. I keep falling.
Who knows if this is Tulbaghia acutiloba? I was offered seed under that name several years ago and that was all I needed. The offer and the name.
I am perfectly happy to let time reveal what it is I am growing, at least when it comes to Tulbaghia (although if you carry a burden of wisdom in
these matters please share it). I have seen other plants carrying the same name. I say seen, I mean seen and then bought. They are not the same thing.
My plant is tall with distinctive fat flowers and hasn't been as hardy as I would have liked. I selected half a dozen slight variations from the seed batch
but this is the only one that has survived. The green and white flowers with their rich brown coronas are as inconspicuous as they sound.
It is difficult to imagine a more obscure genus, yet I am not alone. All around the country there are corners of greenhouses packed with
cherished Tulbaghia, doting owners and the whiff of onions. A golden age of gardening.
11th May 2014
Iris 'June Rose'
Bearded Iris love the summer sun, baking in the heavy soils of East Anglia where I grew up. I have grown a few in Cornwall but they have never been good.
Recently I have given them another go, planting in containers and raised beds, and they seem to be succeeding. I am tempted to make a small garden especially for them,
an impossible little patch where I can sit in summer and thumb my nose in the dank weather at the invading moss and lichen.
'June Rose' was part of a trial to see if it would work. It wasn't selected, it was just available at the right time. 'June Rose' seemed like a good name for a
bearded Iris, though in the event this isn't June, and that isn't rose. Minor details. Hybridists breathe the oxygen of serious utility. The blood of beauty runs
through their veins. They eat the food of rigour and from time to time they excrete the nonsense of naming. For the most part it is forgiveable.
The week ends with summer beckoning.
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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about what is going on, if you are interested.
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