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

24th July 2011

Hydrangea 'Blue Wave' (syn 'Ha Ha Ha')
It seems to have been cold this week. It might just be because I have had the upstairs windows out for repairs. I'm not really complaining - I wilt in hot weather. I was standing around in the baking sun in a friends garden yesterday, being bitten by Horseflies and I could live without that.
I think we can safely assume that this isn't going to be the record breaking summer that pumps heat and life into the tropicals and exotics. After three difficult winters they are feeling the lack of a summer, but gardens adapt and eventually gardeners do as well. Hmmm....adaptable gardener. Lets not chase that mirage any further.
Last summer I had just thinnned a long hedge of dull scrubby trees and I decided to underplant with a row of blue Hydrangea. I have a couple in deep shade in other parts of the garden and in late summer the colour flickers in and out of the shade and is quite entrancing. Why stop at one or two when you can have a hundred feet of it? Like all grand plans, I knew it required boldness of execution, so I started buying up blue Hydrangea. I should probably have restricted myself to a dozen plants of a couple of varieties. I have many self-delusions, but even I don't imagine I will be that disciplined. The rationalisation was that some of them will be good blues, and some of them will be less good, and you only discover the difference by trying them. Which brings us to 'Blue Wave'. When I bought it, I knew full well that it wasn't true to name. 'Blue Wave' should be a lacepap (and should be called 'Mariesii Perfecta' but lets not go overboard with precision). The plant was outstandingly blue however, and that's what I was trying to achieve.
Hasn't stayed blue though, has it! (I am so glad I didn't plant a whole row of this). I might move this to act as a backdrop to the Crocosmia. That would be rich entertainement for the height of summer.

24th July 2011

Bomarea edulis
I grow a couple of Bomarea, and the genus is starting to attract my attention when I see them out and about. Last winter hit them really hard, but they have just about survived, so this year I am trying a couple more. This arrived as B.hirtella, now treated as a synonym of B.edulis, and has produced a small head of (3) flowers. I have stayed away from them in the past because they can be a bit fickle, rather like their close relatives Alstroemeria. It is the sort of assumption that needs to be tested from time to time. In pots at the moment, I should try them outside. I have a space under a low Rhododendron where the rabbits ate my climbing Aconitum.
This is known as the "pink" Bomarea. Mine is a warm and rather thin apricot, but I have seen rich pink flowers so there are probably different strains available, or alternatively the two species may have to be split again.

24th July 2011

Marsdenia oreophila
Surprisingly vigorous vine with scented flowers. I went into the greenhouse this morning , and was almost knocked over by the scent. My first thought was the Marsdenia and I was nose deep in it before I remembered the lilies in the same greenhouse. I'm sure it is scented, but I couldn't find it over the top of the lilies.
I bought it as a young plant last year, because I had seen it earlier at another nursery and walked away without it. (Note to self. Never walk away. Plants are dirt cheap compared with the trouble of having to go back again later to get them). Last year it sat around quietly fighting with mealybug (which dearly love it). This spring it has sprouted great twining stems and flowers. The mealybug are routed (though not yet conquered) but it still has rather yellowed leaves. Red Spider mite dearly love it.
If I get enough mature growth to root a cutting, it will go outside which should solve both problems. It won't survive a really cold winter, but we aren't due another one of those for a decade or more....

24th July 2011

Nopalxochia phyllanthoides
Last winter was not the coldest we have had recently, by several degrees, but it was the most damaging. Perhaps things had been weakened by previous years, or perhaps the cold came while things were still trying to grow. Whatever the reason, things were damaged or killed last winter that should have sailed through without problems. Ilex perado ssp platyphylla , for example, lost a great chunk from the top but has never been damaged here before. The Epiphyllum were other great losers. Previously they have been safe under the bench in the greenhouse through the winter, kept bone dry. This year when I fished them out, more than half were dead.
This is one of the tougher ones. I have a rather old plant that took a bit more damage, but this young cutting came through safely. I would renew them all from cuttings more regularly, but they don't usually flower for a couple of years and they are far too ungainly to grow just for the stems (with one or two exceptions).
I bought this from Groves Nursery, and called it "Groves Pink" for a long time before I finally sorted out that it wasn't even an Epiphyllum any more (the genus has disintegrated recently under the strain of unexpected hybrids). I am still struggling to get to grips with Nopalxochia phyllanthoides but it is one of those names. Once it sticks, I will have it for good.
In case you are peering into the screen howling abuse at me, I should also point out that it has long been distributed as Epiphyllum 'Deutsche Kaiserin'.
Long and wrongly distributed as Epiphyllum 'Deutsche Kaiserin'.
Nopalxochia phyllanthoides. Ha ha ha.

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.
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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