Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
21st August 2011
Phygelius x rectus 'Devils Tears'
Nothing happens as quickly as I want in August, except for the days, which seem to flash by. The jobs that fill those days seem to struggle forward slowly through
a dense cloud of sweat and body odour. Fortunately it has been cool enough to carry on planting things out. There have been a couple of short showers, so everything
that wilted has bounced back again. I mowed the Narcissus meadow last week, a bit later than I intended but that's the way it goes. There are a couple of old Bird Cherry trees
that always cause problems for the mower, and this week I finally got fed up with them and took them out. (I know, I make it sound so casual, it was no such thing).
I would put another sack of Narcissus in, but I think the space is going to be occupied by cut branches for a few weeks yet.
Phygelius is an engaging genus though there are only two species. Early growers had the choice P.capensis with orange flowers, or P.aequalis ...
with orange flowers. The introduction of the yellow form of P.aequalis led to a burst of hybridisation in the 1970's and P.x rectus was born. This is my
favourite of these early hybrids. At the time I thought it was interesting, vigorous but not very distinctive. It has shown that it is a survivor.
There is a new wave of hybridisation going on with the introduction of pink flowers, white flowers and golden leaves all adding to the variety available.
Some of them may well be as good as this, but last winter killed many of them here and they will have to prove their worth.
21st August 2011
Do you remember the days when Dianthus were fashionable? My garden is far too wet for them unless they are grown under cover (I moved here with a large collection
and promptly killed them all), but they seem to have fallen from grace along with corsets and creosote. They mostly prefer dry sunny situations but range from annuals and
tiny alpines to Carnations. Horticulturalists are endlessly categorising them but their rather adventurous reproductive behaviour means that the categories have to
be flexible (the Dianthus that is, not the horticulturalists, whose reproductive behaviour is beyond my remit).
This little tuft of cheer started life as a flowering pot plant. I bought it with my weekly shopping because I liked the cheery orange flowers. I assumed from the colour that
it was a carnation that had been dwarfed to make a flowering pot (there are yellow and orange Carnations, but I wasn't aware of a Garden Pink). I also assumed that it would
drop dead in the wet of winter and I am proved wrong on all counts.
It has survived and remained small and orange. I yearn for a little greenhouse to grow Dianthus in, but I don't think it is going to happen - the list of important
jobs is long enough to push the whimsical ideas off the end.
21st August 2011
This was one of the more delightful things to find in flower this morning. It has been a difficult year for the Crocosmia. The large flowered hybrids have been more
or less wiped out and along with them I seem to have lost most of the yellows and anything with bronze leaves. Certainly the majority of those flowering in the border
are orange cultivars, mostly on the weedy side of vigorous.
This is the only yellow flower I have seen this year in the collection, and so it is especially welcome. This may not be the original cultivar
named 'Citronella' - there has been a lot of confusion of clones over the years, but I have had this one for a very long time so I'm not inclined to start changing the name.
I have tried it in a number of places around the garden, and it never seems to fail. I built a conservatory on the first clump and stripped a foot of topsoil
from the second clump to make a level terrace, so I can understand why they are no longer with me. This third clump is prospering just as cheerfully and hopefully
it is in a secure home. A much better plant than 'Solfatare', which I have also planted repeatedly around the place and have yet to produce a decent clump.
21st August 2011
The Hedychium have made it through the third terrible winter in a row, but this time there has been some serious damage. The deciduous ones disappeared below ground,
and have bounced back again without problems, but the evergreens have been defoliated once too often, and are growing back very slowly. Some of the
more fragile cultivars are going to need help to get through the next winter - the variegated ones are really struggling to make new growths
and an early frost this year would probably finish them off.
It's rather a gloomy preamble, the point being that I am not expecting much in the way of flower this year. There are a couple of flower heads forming, but they
are going to be small and short.
'Tara' is an exception. When it was introduced it was known as the hardiest of the evergreen cultivars. 'Raffilli' is indistinguishable, to my eye. It is equally hardy
and flowers at exactly the same time. These are all now treated as hybrids between H.coccineum and H.gardnerianum, but rather like the supposed hybrids between
H.gardnerianum and H.coronarium, I will need to look more closely at the evidence before I am convinced.
'Raffilli' is recorded as a deliberate hybrid between the two species made by C.P.Raffill at Kew, but Hedychium are such awkward flowers to pollinate
that the parentage may be open to question. The truth will eventually emerge, like a wet dog from the pond of ignorance and shake itself dry. Stand well back.
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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