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

'Don't know where the week has gone',. 'Young people today...', 'take your feet off the table' and other favourite sayings of old people (and I have felt it this week). Builders are repairing the barn and all the change and disaruption has sent me into a tizzy. Next week will be worse. Everything is happening faster than I can keep up, which is (I guess) the point at which I finally become 'past it' (what was that? eh! speak up laddy)!
And in my innocence I thought that nothing much had happened in the garden (except for a willow tree blowing down - I knew about that - I cleared it up this morning before breakfast). I was wrong, naturtally. Plenty has been happening , even though the last two or three days have been cold as well as wet - I am already closing the greenhouse door to keep the temperature up.
On the Hedychium house front, little obvious progress - I got the foundations cleared and flattened, it became obvious that they still aren't exactly flat, the builders had a sly chuckle. What goes around comes around - they bought in a big truck of scaffolding and it sunk in the mud! Timber and plastic sheeting arrive next week, and I'm hoping that if I stand around looking hopeless and pathetic, the builders might move it all down to the site for me out of sympathy. I don't think I will be able to persuade the delivery driver to take it down there when there are very obvious signs of a sunken scaffolding truck en route!
Bought a new camera because my darling Canon Eos 300D has started to become erratic - it is a stop gap measure while I get an estimate for repair (which I think will be rather frightening). At first sight the new camera is adequate, but images aren't as sharp and sparkling as I am used to (that's cheap cameras for you). Early days yet to see if we get on.

19th August 2007

Caulokaempferia sikkimensis .
Well, it might be! A couple of years ago I bought a little piece of dry rhizome of Caulokaempferia sikkimensis on e-bay, just because it looked like it might be fun. It produced a great leafy shoot last year, I moved it into the conservatory for winter, it died back and I thought that there was a fair chance that I would never see it again. Gingers can be a bit like that! However it went out into the greenhouse in March, I closed all the doors to push the temperature up, and up it popped, with something that looked suspiciously like enthusiasm! You will have to guess how excited I was when it produced a bud, and finally a flower. I had to go and find someone (who wasn't remotely interested) to show it off!
And I had to find out something about it. (T. M. E. Branney, 'Hardy Gingers', Timber Press. Lovely book, no help.) A search with Google showed me a picture in habitat of a plant that certainly isn't this, and for the first time ever (at least for me) Google referred me to my own website! It's a bit like fame, without any actual fame being involved. Back to old peoples stuff I'm afraid. I recognise the flower, but I can't remember where I have seen it. In about a month it will come back to me.
So, to recap, a ginger, it might be a Caulokaempferia, it's a jolly good thing. (What was that thing they say about an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters? eh! speak up laddy!)
20th August - latest update - I think this is actually Boesenbergia longiflora. Thanks to Dave Skinner at GingersRUs for his helpful photo's (go find his site, buy great stuff, make whoopee)!

19th August 2007

Roscoea purpurea 'Red Gurkha' .
It would be impossible to have this fantastic flower in the garden and not show it here. The most astonishing colour. It is worth mentioning Jill Cowley's new monograph on Roscoea, published by Kew. Next time I update the Roscoea pages, you will see some slight modifications to the names (nothing too revolutionary, just some tidying up of loose ends). I had heard that this form didn't come true to colour when grown from seed, but since I can't get it to set seed it's (pardon the pun) academic!

19th August 2007

Gladiolus papilio 'Yellow Form' .
This is a very shy and subtle, even for a species Gladiolus. I enjoy it no end, even though I have some reservations about its identity. It flowers at a different time to G.papilio, has different colour and shape flowers, and doesn't spread and divide in the same way (wish it did). Another one of those things where I will stumble across a picture one day, and finally know what it is I am growing.

19th August 2007

Hymenocallis festalis .
I have been a little taken with Hymenocallis lately - it helps that a few new ones have been available from bulb merchants in the last couple of years, and I inherited a tropical one after a friends house move. I even went as far as buying H.liriosme and H.pygmaea from the USA. Along with the bulbs came advice to keep them wet while growing. They are called Swamp Lilies for good reason. It seems to have paid off. I have grown H.festalis on and off for many years but it has never prospered as well as it does now standing in water. Crinum have been benefiting from the same advice.

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.
If you want to contact me, the address is infoMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
When typing the address in, please replace MONKEY with the more traditional @ symbol! I apologise for the tiresome performance involved, but I am getting too much spam from automated systems as a result of having an address on the front page.