Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
17th April 2011
Camellia 'Spring Festival' .
I'm not for one moment going to complain about the perfect spring weather we have had all week, but perfect spring weather and a little more rain would have been
And then there is the small matter of the Camellia. I have a few dotted around the garden, and I feel quite warmly towards them when they are being
evergreen and stopping wind and all the other useful things they do. I have been quite excited by the first flower on 'Simon Bolitho', planted as a rooted cutting
in 2002. It's ugly, but not pruning saw ugly, and it is always nice to see something flower for the first time. I would also generally have had a rant about 'Debbie'
by this time of the year, but the one by the front door that really offended me has been cut down (and burnt). The one at the top of the garden is less
unpleasant, and they have both been eclipsed by 'Scented Sun', which is sewage on a stick.
So I am left admitting that a few of the cultivars I have seen in the last few weeks are rather charming. This is one of them. I wouldn't normally
go for a pink double but this is tiny - the flowers are about 3cm in diameter - and it makes a pleasant upright bush. Another one that went in in 2002
and has taken a while to get going. I had no idea what to expect when I bought it so this has been a pure delight.
17th April 2011
Tulipa sylvestris .
I have had a few attempts to introduce Tulipa sylvestris to the garden. To be more precise, the introductions have gone well, but it has always gone downhill
rapidly thereafter. In theory it is the species that is most likely to tolerate my rich moist loamy soil. I tried it in the meadow, and the bulbs
were never seen again. This time I am growing it in a container of sand and perhaps it will be back again next year - still far too early
to raise my hopes, but they have been good in flower.
It is going over a bit now, but still good enough to catch the late afternoon light in the herbaceous border. During the winter I have built
a new path on the other side of the border which creates a better view, and is generally 'a good thing'. As a consequence I currently have
a great swathe of weed inhibiting plastic in the background but it is better than the alternative which would swallow up a tiny tulip like
an alligator in a goldfish pond.
17th April 2011
Sometimes new plants arrive in the garden in a rather deliberate way - I bought a pair of Magnolia grandiflora last autumn, knowing exactly
where I wanted them. Things that start out so organised never seem to work out very well for me. I stood the magnolia in place and they were so obviously wrong that
even I could see it.
Other things arrive on a whim, and without any great burden of expectation, they are often much more delightful. I got the seed of this Freesia
from the Alpine Garden Society's seed distribution just because I didn't recognise the name. Unknown Freesia species have a tendancy to make great promises
and then turn out to be F.alba (I have travelled that path many times before) so I haven't paid much attention to the seedlings
and these sweet little pink flowers stopped me in my tracks this morning.
I haven't been able to find out much about it yet. From forest margins on the Cape, I'm not certain how much further it spreads through South Africa.
Pictures online show a white plant that I wouldn't have been so enchanted by.
17th April 2011
Tulbaghia montana .
Tulbaghia is a genus full of interesting little bulbs. Some of them are a bit smelly and some of them are a bit tender, but for the most part they are
jolly little things for a pot under cover. This one was distributed for a long time as a small bulb for the alpine garden - I have never tried it outside.
It is hardy, but it is also small and small things tend to vanish. I'm not sure if it is oniony enough to deter rabbits, but the rabbits here would eat a tiny
morcel like this before they realised it was distasteful.
It is a high altitude species from the Drakensberg and it has never been damaged here by cold. It flowers in a great rush of new growth in the spring
and makes a fine show at its peak. It needs to be split every few years or it becomes so potbound that it starts to decline, unlike many
of the species which seem to get stronger and stronger the more densely they are packed into the pots.
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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