Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
16th February 2014
x Cuprocyparis leylandii Laciniata
There have been times this week when it didn't look as though the sun was ever going to shine again. A good week for staying home
and hiding from it. Five major trees came down last week and while I was getting organised to start clearing them up another
two came down. Even the temperatures have been falling, though I don't think they will be going down very far.
A free afternoon on wednesday gave me time to start sawing up the fallen corpses and I was able to make a dent in the work
in time for the next two trees to come down. Fortunately the wind direction has changed so they haven't all come down on top of eachother.
It isn't as tidy and it does more damage, but it is easier to manage.
I slept through the storms on friday night and was in no rush to get up and see what had happened but fortunately the worst of it had passed me by
and I spent the whole day on saturday giving myself a pile of firewood and a new view. I'm not sure what the next stage is. I think I probably
leave things like this until summer and hope for some dry weather to burn the trash. I'm happy that I have cleared access into the garden
and that the trees have been cut into small enough pieces to move.
16th February 2014
Hepatica transsilvanica 'Loddon Blue'
It is remarkable how little has been destroyed by falling timber. An alder came down and landed on a couple of pots, a Leyland managed to
engulf a Pieris but only snapped off a few minor twigs. Plants on the floor have been undamaged. One Leyland fell on the Hellebore bed
and I have probably trodden on a plant or two while removing branches - I certainly knocked a few flowers off - but I have been lucky
with the season. Things are up far enough to see but not so far that they have been damaged by the work that has been done.
Among the fallen leaves, this Hepatica has a first flower open.
The species comes from central and eastern europe, along the course of the Carpathian Mountains. It is typically deep blue though white
and pink forms are known. This pale blue cultivar was raised by Thomas Carlisle at Loddon Nurseries.
It is always good to see the Hepatica appear in spring. I find them more reliable in the open ground than in pots, but they
do not tolerate competition from weeds and I'm not as diligent as I should be so there is always a chance they will disappear
into dormancy and never be seen again.
16th February 2014
Ranunculus ficaria 'Magnum'
Last year was a good one for the Celandines. I planted them all out a few years ago and they all struggled for a while. It took me some time to
adapt the growing conditions to suit them but I think I have got there. Now I just have to sort them out. They are all wonderful
but I have to admit there are a great many very similar cultivars. They may have struggled for a few years, but they have still managed to produce
hundreds of seedlings with every imaginable leaf colour and pattern. I need to sort out the original cultivars while it is still possible to distinguish them.
There are a number of dark leaved cultivars with white flowers, but I am always happy to try another. When I got it I wasn't sure if this
was named after the Private Investigator or the ice cream. Perhaps neither and the name simply acknowledges the large flower. I hadn't noticed
any buds emerging on the plants yet so I was pleasantly surprised to find a flower open in the bright sunshine this morning.
16th February 2014
Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'
The snowdrops are coming to a peak. The earliest cultivars have gone over and the late ones are still in bud but the majority have reached a peak.
The sun came out this morning and a steady breeze yesterday started to dry the ground so conditions were good and the snowdrops had opened wide.
There are an increasing number of yellow snowdrops appearing on the market. They aren't usually very vigorous but they can be very distinctive
in the sunshine.
'Sandersii' was discovered at the end of the nineteenth century growing in a population of snowdrops in Northumberland. A couple of later clones
were discovered and distributed as 'Lutescens' and 'Flavescens' (the former being rather feeble by all accounts). The "Northumberland Yellows"
are all listed as 'Sandersii' now (or the Sandersii Group). When I first became interested in snowdrops they weren't available for love or
money. To be fair, I had very little of the latter and I was of an age when the former would still have been illegal so perhaps that was
a good thing.
Eventually maturity, funds and availability coincided and I obtained (for cash in case there is any question) a single bulb expecting it to
remain a single bulb for some decades. I was unduly pessimistic, it seems to be increasing. It isn't as vigorous as 'Spindlestone Surprise'
but it is the satisfaction of a long held desire.
I spent the day yesterday cutting branches so I am painfully aware of advancing age and decrepitude. I got my 'Sandersii' without
having to shag anybody and I think I regret that!
A colourful snowdrop deserves a colourful story.
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