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Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.

20th November 2011

It has been another astonishingly mild week and the garden is enjoying it. There have been a few small branches brought down by the wind, including one that has arrived in the middle of an open space, and I can't work out where it has come from, but there is a long tradition of gremlins moving things around the garden so I'm not going to worry.
The ground is soft and moist and on tuesday I woke up to discover that this had happened. At first I assumed the neighbours horse had jumped the hedge again and kicked the place about a bit but he leaves distinctive hoof marks, and he's getting a bit old for jumping hedges. When I stopped and looked at it, this is badger damage. I assume they have turned up ther turf looking for food and that the mild weather has meant there are plenty of worms in the surface layers. I know the badgers visit the garden, and I have a couple of places where they make distinctive runs through the vegetation, but I don't ever see them. Years ago a friend was chased down the slope in his nightclothes by one. Good thing I wasn't there at the time, I would have laughed.
It feels like months since I had time to do anything in the greenhouse, so I have had a good time this week altering the height of the benches and in the process discovered that I have also been attacked by mice. The Gladiolus have been the main victim, the fibrous coats of a dozen or so corms had been stacked into a tidy pile behind one of the pots. Much like the badgers, I don't think there's anything I can do about it.

20th November 2011

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'
Last week I was being very quiet about the Narcissus buds showing, but they can't be ignored this week. I have about a dozen flowers in the meadow and there are dozens more still to come. I don't usually expect to see flowers until the middle of December, and in the recent run of bad winters they haven't appeared until after Christmas. This is about the earliest I have had them, and it means I am going to be short of exciting new things to show in the darkest days of winter. We will cross that bridge when we get to it (but prepare yourself for seeing these same daffoldils again and again through December and January).
In 2007 they were in flower on 18th November, and we didn't get a frost that year until the end of January - is that tempting fate?
It was raised by F.Herbert Chapman in Rye, Sussex. He died in 1945 and the variety was passed to F.Rijnveld and Sons in Holland, who registered it in 1956. The parentage is not recorded which is unfortunate because the early flowering habit is almost unique. In recent years is has been used by breeders to create early flowering cultivars for the cut flowers, that will produce blooms before the main crop is ready.

20th November 2011

Fuchsia regia ssp reitzii
A series of cold winters have had a big impact on the Fuchsia species growing in the garden. Most of those that spend the winter in pots under the bench in the greenhouse are dead, so I am pleased to see this one come outside from below ground. It has smaller leaves than Fuchsia regia ssp regia and is less impressive as a result, but on the plus side, it has survived. It makes a dense twiggy shrub in time (weather permitting) and is very like F.magellanica but the flowers are paler and narrower.
The subspecies is found in southern Brazil at altitudes of 900 - 2400m, so it is not surprising that it survives the cold. If there is time next year I need to take cuttings of all of the other survivors - if they are spread a bit more widely round the garden there is a better chance that they will persist. The Fuchsia have been rather neglected in recent years and it is time to liven them up again.

20th November 2011

Camellia 'Show Girl'
I was taking pictures of the Narcissus and musing about the early season when I turned round and saw this pink splash on a Camellia. I shouldn't be surprised because I saw the buds were swelling last week, but I don't expect to see flowers until Christmas. It is part of my Christmas routine. Eat too much and stagger up the garden to see if the Camellia is flowering. It is going to be a difficult year if I don't even get that much excercise!
I always think of this as the first of the spring flowering cultivars. Camellia sasangua and its cultivars are in flower at the moment (everywhere except my garden, where they are currently drowning under brambles, but that's a rescue job for a crisp bright day in January) and will be finished before the spring. This is the product of a cross between C.sasangua 'Narumi Gata' and C.reticulata 'Cornelian' and although it produces a couple of stray blooms at the end of the year, the main flush will undoubtedly come in January and February. I'm not always polite when it comes to describing Camellia flowers, but this is one I really like. It isn't pink enough to be offensive and as doubles go, it isn't obsessive enough to need a therapist.

Acorus Alocasia Anemone Arisaema Arum Asarum Aspidistra Begonia Bromeliads Camellia
Carnivorous Cautleya Chirita Chlorophytum Clivia Colocasia Crocosmia Dionaea Drosera Epimedium
Eucomis Fuchsia Galanthus Hedychium Helleborus Hemerocallis Hepatica Hosta Impatiens Iris
Liriope Ophiopogon Pinguicula Polygonatum Ranunculus ficaria Rhodohypoxis Rohdea Roscoea Sansevieria Sarracenia
Scilla Sempervivum Tricyrtis Tulbaghia Utricularia Viola odorata Watsonia

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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