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

17th May 2009

Dracunculus canariense .
Seems to have been a week of long awaited things, not the least of which was a drop of rain that was welcome. It had been promised all last week without actually arriving. The greenhouse has been getting hotter and hotter and a drop of rain stops things getting out of hand.
I bought this Dracunculus last autumn as it started to grow, but I have wanted to grow it for decades without managing to obtain one. I am amazed that it has flowered, it seemed so small as it came up, but it has continued to grow and finally produced this white flower.
Originating in the Canary Isles, there were suggestions that it wasn't hardy, but it has come through this winter in a cold greenhouse, so it certainly isn't tender. I want more of them, so I think I am going to have to do something mildly obscene with the spadix. I can't detect any scent from it, so I don't think I can rely on the local flies to do the job for me. I remember a short piece of film about the pollination of Amorphophallus titanum where the gardener put on surgical gloves before doing the deed which was a little too medical for my taste. I seem to have drifted off subject towards infertility clinics, so off to California.....

17th May 2009

Delphinium luteum .
.....which is the home of Delphinium luteum. I got it from Robin White who grew it from seed. Good thing too, because I get problems with Delphinium seed - mostly they get eaten by slugs - and then I keep the pots for years hoping something will come up later!
From "seasonally wet cliffs in NW California" I am keeping it in a pot for now. The advice was to keep it moist in late winter and spring, and then allow it to dry out through the summer. I have managed to keep it growing and to come up into flower, but I admit the clump of foliage is getting larger and laxer than the tight compact clump I bought originally, so I think it needs more light and probably less water. If I get enough fresh seed it is possible that I will feed the slugs to full capacity, and still have a few seedlings left for myself!

17th May 2009

Bletilla striata 'Soryu' .
This Bletilla was another very welcome surprise. I bought the rhizome in spring from Westonbirt Plants, who had imported them from Japan, so it was well travelled by the time it got here and I wasn't expecting it to do much this year. In some ways, I would rather it put it's energy into establishing in the pot, but I am also pleased to see the (no, I wasn't expecting it to actually be 'blue') flower.
This flower has emerged from a rather congested stem , which is probably a consequence of the travel, disturbance, drying out etc.associated with the sale process. The cultivar is propagated from seed, and then the seedlings are selected to be true to colour.
With luck it will be a good new addition to the range of colours in Bletilla, but it will be a long time before I am ready to try it outside!

17th May 2009

Sarracenia x areolata .
I don't usually include pictures of the Sarracenia on this page. It was a conscious decision to leave them out, because they attract the freakish element of society, but they are such sensationally good plants for horticulture that I may have to reconsider. (Nothing freakish about me, no way, no how!)
This is a hybrid between S.alata and S.leucophylla and I don't know where this plant originated, but it is very like the clone 'Uncle Jim's Road A' which was collected from the wild in Mississippi. It has very large rather fat flowers in a curious shade of peach/pink. As I recall, the pitchers are unremarkable.
Most of my spare time this week has been spent squinting into the flowers of Sarracenia while pollinating them. I have picked an equally flamboyant flower as a mate for this one. Raising pitcher plants for their flowers is a bit odd, but some of them are so good that I think it is worth a few speculative crosses. They have reached a peak of flowering in the gap between the Hellebores finishing and the Roscoea starting, so for this year at least, the timing has been perfect. After a week of pollination, I finally got fed up with it this afternoon, and anything that hasn't been done yet isn't going to be done. I already have more than enough potential seed to sow next year. Tomorrow is scheduled for a floral massacre - all the unused flowers will be removed and for a moment the greenhouse will look a bit bare. It doesn't last long, the new seasons pitchers are already opening!

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.
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