Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
30th September 2012
Phygelius aequalis 'Trewidden Pink'
It has been a week of sudden contrasts in the garden. Bright sunny summery days turn to rain in a moment, and then back again. I seem to have spent most of September rushing
from one thing to another and it looks as though October will follow the same pattern. The garden is managing on a few moments snatched here and there so the major jobs are all
moving forward rather slowly. Last week one man went to mow ... so the meadow is ready for the new season. I am making time to plant a few bulbs for next spring, and I put in some Colchicum
at the same time. It was a good plan, but I have seen a number in gardens this week looking weatherbeaten and now I am not so sure.
This Phygelius is one of a number that have crept back into the garden in the last few years. I like them because they flower right up to the first frosts but still fit in
well with herbaceous plants.
Phygelius aequalis is a South African plant from moist soils and streamsides which has adapted well to cultivation in the UK. The species typically has scarlet flowers and is pollinated
by sunbirds in the wild. 'Yellow Trumpet' was the first colour variety to be found and more recently 'Trewidden Pink' has added to the range available. I have had problems with rabbits eating the stems
in the early months of the year, but as the plants grow they are left alone. This one has grown tall enough to attract the attention of the autumn winds, whick knocked it flat during the week.
I have propped it up for now, but in the winter it will be cut to the ground and left to shoot from the base next spring.
30th September 2012
Anemone x hybrida 'Konigin Charlotte'
The autumn flowering herbaceous anemones are wonderful things. Once they are established they seem to grow without trouble in almost any conditions, but they aren't always easy to establish.
Pot grown plants exhaust the compost very rapidly and become enfeebled. They take a long time to recover when planted out. I planted a number among the hellebores under the trees. The intention was to
have something that would flower in the autumn when the border was at its dullest. In the end they were rather dismal. I saw a magnificent group growing through the mortar in an old stone wall
in full sun, and realised that mine were too moist and too shaded. They also got in the way of tidying up the hellebores ready for spring, so I have moved them all to the herbaceous border.
They sulk a bit when they are moved, but I think they have their toes in now and eventually I will have clouds of pastel blossom condensing from the morning mist.
Raised by Wilhelm Pfitzer in 1898 it has had plenty of time to prove its garden-worthiness. Recently breeders have returned to these hybrid anemones to produce compact plants with richer
colours but only time will tell if they are an improvement.
E.A.Bowles wrote "It has taken posession of rather more of the garden than I desired, but it is so lovely that I cannot bring myself to root any of it out" and I agree with the sentiment entirely.
I was fortunate to spend an hour in his garden last weekend but saw no sign of the Anemone, which was rather sad.
30th September 2012
I have been growing A. 'Bressingham Spire' for a very long time. Not because I was especially fond of it, but because it continued to thrive regardless of my neglect. If I am totally honest, I was
rather frightened by its toxicity. I don't read regular reports of careless gardeners killed by their Aconites, so I am sure I was over-reacting but I find it all rather sinister. I prefer the directness of
something spiny that stabs you. Eventually the vague unease I felt was swept away by the plant's performance. As a result I have been quietly waiting for a few more to turn up.
At a plant sale in spring I found a piece of A.carmichaelii, an autumn flowering species from the Kamtschatka peninsula and China. It has grown well enough to produce a few flowers in its first year
and if it makes a decent clump, then it will be a good addition to the garden.
30th September 2012
I am always looking for good, colourful plants to add to the garden. Unfortunately I keep getting distracted by small dull greenhouse bulbs. I really love this Schizocarphus but it would be very easy to
overlook. It sits with a lot of spring flowering bulbs, and I nearly pulled the flower spike off when I was weeding the pots earlier in the month. Fortunately I was paying attention at the time (I could
easily have been thinking about my dinner or scratching myself in the greenhouse, or somewhere less appealing) so I didn't break it off.
Schizocarphus nervosus started out as a Scilla, but modern genetic analysis has suggested that the genus Scilla is a Frankenstein's monster, made up from a series of spare parts.
In recent years it has burst apart into its constituent fragments but I have a feeling that like the Terminator in Terminator II, the pieces will slowly merge together again and overthrow
the molecular biologists.
Schizocarphus nervosus is found from the eastern Cape northwards as far as tropical africa growing in a variety of habitats. Mine almost certainly originated in South Africa
and has been hardy in a cold greenhouse. There is a suggestion that the current name is an umbrella that covers more than one species so the situation could still change.
This is its moment of giddy, gaudy perfection!
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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