Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
15th September 2013
Anemone x hybrida 'September Charm'
When I first started to notice plants my attention was split between the garden and the delights of Andy Pandy on the television. I'm not sure what the attraction of Andy Pandy was. It never
seemed to deliver anything very significant but I was encouraged to sit and enjoy it. With the simple logic of childhood I therefore assumed that it was enjoyable. I was of an age where I could
see plants, but not yet gardens. That is to say, I could see the specific but not yet grasp the abstract. The television switched on with a determined click that was much more satisfying than
my modern version, which has a tiny touch sensitive button that may or may not have switched on. The common link is the moments of inactivity that follow before it resolves into pictures.
As a child, the best part was the few moments of anticipation before anything happened. The promise of programmes was presaged by a luminous grey glow.
I missed the determined click, but autumn has arrived in a luminous grey glow filled with promise.
Fortunately the sun came out for a while yesterday and I was able to take some pictures. I have planted a few Japanese Anemones in the herbaceous border because I have tried everywhere else in the garden
and I am determined to have some. In the village they have been flowering since July, growing through the rubble of an old garden wall. 'September Charm' has had the decency to wait for September before
proclaiming the autumn has arrived. I have tried it under trees, but it was a bit feeble and looked as though I was still viewing it in black and white.
15th September 2013
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Orangefield'
I have been enjoying 'Atrosanguineum' in the garden for many years. Decades ago I planted a row of stock plants that were never interesting enough to do anything with, so they stayed
where they were and burgeoned. I enjoyed them in the way I enjoy the blackberries in the garden. A morcel of delight as I pass by and then forgotten.
When I was building the herbaceous border I had a use for them at last. I would love to say that they were meant as a compliment to the other plants, but the truth is they went in to fill space.
I had a lot of border to fill at the time. Curious the way the rabbits wait until you decide you want a plant before grazing it to the ground. It was a setback, they are recovering,
but the idea had formed and I planted some of the newer cultivars with enthusiasm and rabbit netting.
Initially 'Blackfield' was the most striking but it was clear after the first season that 'Orangefield' was more vigorous. It also starts flowering earlier in the season. It has taken me a couple of years to
see it as in improvement on 'Atrosanguineum', but this year it is compact, floriferous and bright in flower. With the sun behind it I can almost see some orange in the colour. During the winter
I am planning to divide it so that I can grow a bit more.
15th September 2013
Aconitum carmichaelii 'Kelmscott'
The autumn Aconites are also making a mark this week. If I had a few large clumps of them they would be a significant splash of late colour. I can't really grow any of the autumn daisies
in the border, it is too moist and cool for them to thrive. I have killed dozens of plants from many genera to demonstrate that simple truth to my own satisfaction. The Aconites my be
a colourful alternative.
I am only slowly getting to grips with the genus. I have stayed away from them for years because of their toxicity. I am a gardener of the 'wade in and sort it out' persuasion so
poisonous vegetation is a risk. I haven't heard any gardening horror stories related to Aconites but I wouldn't want to be the first.
The flowers of 'Kelmscott' form in more distinctive spikes than some forms and have a more intense blue colour. At one time it would have been included in the Wilsonii Group
for those reasons, but hybridists have blurred the boundaries of the group and it may no longer be useful. It approaches the colour of Delphinium but is substantially less troublesome.
This has divided without getting mildew, grown without slug damage and flowered without staking. I will get over my misgivings.
15th September 2013
Rhodophiala 'Harry Hay'
I have been driven into the greenhouse a couple of times this week and it has been a good thing. The Nerine are going to start flowering soon and I still haven't finished repotting them.
Fortunately the weather means that I have at least started (I have completed the Agapanthus and Eucomis so I am making progress). During the summer the pots of bulbs disappear under
the familiar annual weeds that are such a nuisance to bulb growers. I envy those who have managed to escape the assorted yellow Oxalis that seem impossible to eradicate. I also have a
charming selection of weedy Cardamine that I could eliminate if I weeded every week. These two groups I have had for decades but I am also cursed with Euphorbia peplus which appeared
here about ten years ago and has run riot. Most frustrating because I know where I got the pot of bulbs that it was introduced in but no point crying over spilt milky sap.
Rhodophiala is a genus of South American bulbs quite closely related to Hippeastrum but growing further south and tolerating lower temperatures. They are often listed
as 'Hardy Hippeastrum' but I have had problems with them in the bulb house. If I overlook the weeds and an irregular watering regime, I think the problem has been low summer temperatures.
I keep the doors at each end of the house open to keep it cool, but this year I closed one end and temperatures have gone up. Many of the South American bulbs and tubers
seem to have done better. It isn't a summer bake, which is a harsh thing to do to any bulb, but it increases the length of the growing season. This is the first time
I have flowered the Rhodophiala and I am hoping that the warmth will coax some enthusiasm from the lethargic Lycoris.
'Harry Hay' originated with that great plantsman and seems to be one of the better ones in cultivation though the species has yet to be resolved.
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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