Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
23rd September 2012
Eucryphia x nymansensis
A few weeks ago the local news managed to squeeze a few minutes coverage out of local farmers complaining that the autumn was too wet for the harvest. I had a wry smile.
Agriculture locally specialises in fattening cattle and holidaymakers. You can't gather either with a combine harvester (legally). No sooner was it reported than the sun came out.
We have had nearly a month of moderately sunny weather and some of the water tanks were running low. The rain has returned, and it is welcome. It could have been delivered a little more gently
but this is no time to quibble over the details.
Temperatures have dropped overnight and we are unlikely to get enough sun to push them back up again. I have closed the house windows and lit the fire.
I have seen two sorts of Eucryphia in gardens recently, those that were happily magnificent and those that weren't. The plan for this one is that it will fall into the former category.
I planted it at the top of the garden, sheltered (ha ha) by some ash trees and hopefully in years to come the falling petals will shower me with beauty as it towers over me. I planted it in the spring
and roles are currently reversed (though I don't shower it with beautiful petals).
A fertile hybrid between E.cordifolia and E.glutinosa that was first raised at Nymans from wild collected seed. Two clones were originally selected as Nymans A and Nymans B. The better of them was
named and distributed as 'Nymansay'. I only mention it because I had always wondered where the extra syllable came from on the cultivar from Nymans and I have just found out!
23rd September 2012
A splendid hybrid between G.lambertii and G.procurrens. I have never managed to grow the former species for long, it seems to fade away after a year or two. I need to do more research.
The latter species is a monster I have been battling with for a couple of decades. At one point it had engulfed the entire front garden. You can have too much of a good thing (and it isn't that good).
I hoped that the hybrid would sprawl about the herbaceous border gently filling spaces. It doesn't root as it spreads so it retreats to its original position in the winter. It was very slow to get started.
It was grazed to a stump by rabbits which didn't help but I built an ugly wire cage around it and it has slowly regrown. This year it has started to show some vigour and it has been producing flowers since May.
I am confident that I will eventually be grateful for the shimmering mound of blossom that it will produce. At present it looks like a large flowered form of the troublesome G.procurrens and I am still
a little wary.
23rd September 2012
A spectacular species that has appeared in gardens in the last couple of years. It is probable that plants all originate with a collection by Crug Farm Plants and Dan Hinkley on Fan Xi Pan
in north Vietnam in 1999 (HWJ 604) however by the time it got to me, it had lost its collection data.
It has been reliable in a cold greenhouse and plenty of people have reported it growing well outside so it would seem to be a good new hardy introduction. It hasn't yet set seed
or I would have tried hybridising it with H.wardii. The red bracts are an interesting feature, and the plant has matching red stems wich make it stand out as a foliage plant. The flower heads produce new flowers
every few days and it remains in bloom for a couple of weeks.
23rd September 2012
There are a few plants in the garden and greenhouse that get overlooked because they flower for such a long season. Geranium 'Salome' is one such. I photograph it almost every week and then
don't bother to show it because it isn't new. Caloscordum neriniflorum is another. It started to flower in the spring and it has continued throughout the summer. It has passed its peak, but still manages
a few new flowers from the centre of the umbel.
I bought it from Aberconwy Nursery because the epithet neriniflorum fascinated me. It doesn't have flowers that are distinctively like a Nerine. I will go further, it is difficult to see any
significant similarity between the two. They are both pink and monocotyledons but it doesn't seem a lot to go on. There may be a small distinctive feature I have missed, or there
may be a wild band of errant botanists tramping the Pamirs and northern China who amuse themselves with incomprehensible comparisons. An onion with the flowers of a Nerine. A plant with roots of the same diameter
as fibre-optic cable. A tree with leaves that sway in the breeze like the flag of Uzbekistan (...uzbekistanivexillifolium).
Traditionally botanists are divided into two camps, the splitters and the lumpers but I have a better classification. Those that spend too long on their own, and those that spend too long in the pub.
Better in the sense that it amuses me more, not better in the sense that it casts any useful light on 'neriniflorum' which remains incomprehensible to me. I am sure that there is a good reason, and that
William Herbert (1778 - 1847) really knew his onions!
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