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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


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

26th February 2012



Clematis fasciculiflora L657
It has been a misty week. A gentle touch of rain has hardly been noticed though the ground is wet - I have had wet knees all week. It was a mistake to sit down while planting Hellebore seedlings, and I won't be repeating it. Temperatures have stayed high and there are more garden events going on than I can attend and hope to stay sane. The plants know it is spring. Birds in the garden know it's spring. Organisations and plant sales know it's spring but there are still gardeners muttering under their breath about ice storms and the coldest March since Hanibal crossed the Alps. It could happen, but I don't think so.
This Clematis has been in a pot outside the back door for the best part of a year now. When I bought it, I knew I wanted it but I didn't know where I wanted it so it has lurked for a while. Buds have been swelling on it since November and I was sure I would have flowers for Christmas but they have dithered and dithered. It is gently reminding me to get my act together and find somewhere to plant it. As soon as the flowers open the slugs find them and trim them into interesting shapes. Freed from it's pot it will climb to the heights and not even a slug riding an elephant will be able to reach them.
This is an introduction by Roy Lancaster. He found it growing on Emei Shan in China and said "the flowers are bell shaped, dingy-green and borne in drooping axilliary clusters on the old wood." (Roy Lancaster, 'Travels in China' 1989). It's not flattering, but it's accurate.


26th February 2012

Narcissus pseudonarcissus obvallaris
I have rabbits in the garden, and since I don't seem to be able to deter them I get what comfort I can by complaining about them interminably to people who couldn't care less. They have had an impact on the meadow and I am reluctant to face it, but it may be a good thing. They are keeping the grass down much better than I could with a mower. I have had a series of whimsical romantic notions about summer meadows filled with flowers and the wheezing of corpulent bees. The reality has always been stinging nettles and bracken. The soil is too rich, too moist and too shaded for anything else to proser. Time to face facts, enjoy the daffodils in spring and then mow it to turf for the rest of the year. The rabbits are industriously keeping the grass down between the clumps of daffodils and I should take the hint.
'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' has finished for the year and I had planned to have a show of N.pseudonarcissus obvallaris to follow on. I have even considered planting some N.poeticus to extend the season into April but I think it is getting too complicated. These N.p.obvallaris flower among the dying stems of the 'Rijnvelds Early Sensation' and although I feel a bit smug and clever at the successional planting, it isn't really a thing of beauty. Perhaps I just need a lot more bulbs.


26th February 2012



Fritillaria meleagris
The Snakes-head Fritillary is another casualty of the meadow. I planted a couple of dozen bulbs up there as a trial. I was convinced that they would establish and fill the ground with wonder. For years I had one growing by the front door that I had spilled while carrying bulbs back and forth and every year it grew better. Their triumph in the meadow seemed a forgone conclusion. I hadn't allowed for the rabbits, which clearly like Fritillaries as much as I do. In the third year after planting I only had two flowering stems, and they were growing in the middle of clumps of daffodils, where the rabbits couldn't find them. I have admitted defeat. I am growing these in a tub. I think it is too tall for the rabbits to jump up into.


26th February 2012



Helleborus niger
The Christmas Rose is a strange plant. It seems to grow with enthusiasm in a pot (at least for a few years) but declines to co-operate in the garden. It is cheap enough to buy in flower, and I have spent years trying to establish it in the garden. This one has been here for two years, and I have my fingers crossed that it will finally succeed. I have a second at the other end of the garden that has formed buds at soil level, but refuses to grow any further. I think it may need a cold chill in winter to start it into growth, and this year it hasn't happened. I wonder if burying it in ice might help (I have to defrost the freezer anyway).
In a colder climate it might produce flowers for Christmas but here it has been one of the latest species into bloom. H.x hybridus has made a much greater impact, and has been doing it for weeks now. It should be a classic plant of winter, like the snowdrops, but the season has moved on. At the RHS show last week there were a couple of Geum in flower, and everybody except me seems to have Pulmonaria so the herbaceous season is on its way.

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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