Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
29th May 2011
Centaurea montana 'Lady Flora Hastings'
Rather a disappointing week in the herbaceous border - some things are thriving and others are not, but I had hoped it would be making a decent show by now.
Plants have been slow to recover from the rabbit damage during february and march - at least now I know what not to plant again.
Over in the east of the country there are Hemerocallis in flower but it will be another week before I have anything to show. In the meantime
there is this Centaurea. The species grows in meadows and by roads in southern Europe. In the UK it is a little weedy (naturalised in places)
but worth growing for the large blue cornflowers in early summer.
'Lady Flora Hastings' has a hint of pink in her white flowers and there are many other colours now available. Farrer says that the species "has varied
into countless colours all offered in catalogues." which just about sums it up. A few feet away from it I grow the golden leaved 'Gold Bullion'
which always promised to be more striking than it actually manages. Farrer would have had a fit.
29th May 2011
Hippeastrum 'Red Peacock'
Winter has taken a great toll on the garden, though it has to be said, not entirely in terms of then plants it has killed. Three hard winters in a row
have meant that everything is being measured in terms of the damage it has taken. Even the ridiculous excess of this Hippeastrum comes second
to the fact of its survival.
The Hippeastrum spent the winter under a bench in a cold greenhouse, and although I lost a couple, the majority were fine. Those that died already
had problems. Dried bulbs are sometimes infected with a nematode that damages the roots, and bulbs are often infected with Stagonospora, a fungus that
causes a red staining of the young leaves (and is the scourge of snowdrop growers). I have been throwing out bulbs that I think have problems, and I am
not entirely unhappy that winter has killed a few. The survivors are all looking clean and vigorous.
'Red Peacock' is a Japanese hybrid that is usually sold for the Christmas market, though this is its natural flowering season.
29th May 2011
Arisaema ciliatum liubaense
The Arisaema are in the middle of their erratic season. They don't seem to be predictable from one year to the next. I think warmth and moisture
are both important in determining when they start to grow but I can't see any clear pattern. If you get it wrong then the tubers rot. A few species would do
well in the open garden and if they produced enough seed, I would happily plant them out there, but for now they will have to make do with life in pots.
This one was grown from seed from the Alpine Garden Society and has been easy and reliable in a pot. I would split them up, but last time I tried that with
a pot of seedlings, they all died.
The species comes from western China and this variety has distinctive brown and green striped spathes, though these seedlings are a little variable in that respect.
29th May 2011
The Disa seem to have come through the winter with few problems. British and European hybrids seem to have been strongest - casualties have all been among
the South African hybrids and the rarer species, usually from low altitudes. Cold weather has slowed growth in the spring so that
flowering is delayed, but otherwise the plants look fine. They all need repotting, and I don't know when that is going to happen, but hopefully in the next month or so I can get
those that haven't flowered into new pots. Not sure what to do with the flowering ones, but I assume that an obviously appropriate moment will arrive.
Unilangley and Kewensis have been the first to flower, and they are both closely related. Kewensis is the hybrid formed by crossing
D.uniflora with large bright red flowers, and D.tripetaloides with tiny white ones. The hybrid is generally small flowered and pink, though orange and yellow forms
also occur. It is good, vigorous, hardy and rather too small to be popular. Unilangley has a bit of D.racemosa added to the mix, but not enough to
make it unrecognisable, or less pink.
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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