Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
30th October 2011
It has been a damp week in the garden and I have been rained on a couple of times. I decided many years ago that since I was primarily made from water, standing around in the rain
was almost suicidal and now as soon as it starts I run screaming and squealing indoors. It isn't dignified. When they are being kind, people describe me as eccentric.
I bought this Siphocranion from Julian Sutton at Desirable Plants because I had no idea what it was. I find that the only real way to challenge my igorance about a plant is to grow it.
In this case it probably is the only way, there is almost nothing about it online. Quite by chance I planted it in moist ground under the shade of a Magnolia and that seens to have suited it.
It spent the summer producing vigorous trailing shoots with no sign of flowers and I thought it would be one of those interesting leaves in the garden that perplex people
but never really grab the attention. I was wrong. The shady parts of the garden have more or less reduced themselves to compost and this has produced a shower of purple-blue flowers.
The colour is darker than the picture shows and is surprisingly striking, even from a distance.
A Chinese species, it started life as a Plectranthus and I have yet to meet a hardy one of those, so its winter survival is an open question. The Flora of China describes its
habitat as subtropical forests up to 3,200 m so it has a chance.
30th October 2011
Hedychium densiflorum 'Kalimpong Gold'
I thought that the Hedychium season had finished when I looked round the door of the greenhouse, but there are a couple of flowers remaining. Perhaps we will be lucky and have a mild autumn,
in which case I would usually hope for flowers into the new year but there have been very few flowering size canes this year and they are all spent.
This is the last of the H.densiflorum forms to flower. There is a suggestion of some darker colour on the edges of the petals but it is basically a yellow flower. My large clump was reduced
to a couple of flowering canes by last winter and it could do with a mild year to recover (if I say it often enough, perhaps it will happen).
The sister cultivar, 'Kalimpong Yellow' was hit even harder. It's single flower head came and went over the course of two days about a fortnight ago. I have a brand new border
earmarked for the Hedychium but that isn't the same thing as having it dug and planted already. When it is done, many of these 'hardy' species should be more reliable out there
than they are in pots. Having said that, H.spicatum hasn't flowered at all this year outside so a few more months dithering may be no bad thing.
30th October 2011
In recent years a number of previously uncommon gesneriads have been introduced from China and Petrocosmea seems to be the big success. A number of species are now being cultivated
and new cultivar names are starting to appear as growers become more familiar with them. In the USA people are starting to raise hybrids between the species
and we may well have a hardy equivalent to the African Violet (I'm not sure what purpose that will serve but it will be interesting to see how things develop. Saintpaulia
are astonishingly expensive to produce as houseplants because of the time and heat they require, so a hardy equivalent might make sense, if the colour range could be
I have been growing this since 2006, and my one plant has become three, which is a rather feeble rate of increase, but it can be propagated from leaves, and I could have had a lot more if
I had put some effort into it. I got this plant as P.duclouxii but I am sure it is actually P.minor though I haven't corrected the other pages on this site yet.
30th October 2011
Prunus sibhirtella 'Autumnalis'
Autumn has started to make a mark on the garden. As I walked round this morning it was clear that the weedy growth of summer was dying back. I moved some Trachycarpus
palms late last spring, and they are now emerging again from the stinging nettles that had engulfed them. I kept meaning to control them, but didn't get there.
I had a very pleasant trip to Westonbirt Arboretum in the week to see the colour on Acer palmatum (no colour on any of mine - no leaves either). All rather bright.
It was a damp day, so people had come prepared. Why is it that when visiting the scarlet and orange shades of autumn, people wear pink or cerise rain coats? I have seen it once before, in the Punch Bowl
in Windsor Great Park where hordes of cerise visitors thronged around the brightest orange and red Azaleas. Are people really so insecure about their intelligence that they need
to show they are brighter than a shrub?
Other considerations aside, even without Acers, autumn has clearly arrived. Last week I looked for buds on this Autumn Cherry and there was nothing, this week I have a scattering of flowers.
It is a wonderful tree, it will continue to offer a few flowers right through until March and then spend the six months of summer looking smug and tired. Some things go on for month after month
and you just wish they would stop but this is a tiny delight and always cheers me.
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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