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

24th May 2009

Clematis montana 'Marjorie' .
I usually steer clear of unruly climbers. It speaks for itself, they are unruly and they climb. I would spend all of my life tidying and untangling. Fortunately, Clematis montana offers a bounty of flowers that pays for the trouble it causes many times over. This is my favourite form. The double flowers start the season a beautiful warm creamy green, and as the flowers expand through a couple of weeks they become pink and then darken until the petals fall off tidily before the display becomes disreputable. In its season it is a wonderful thing.
It is true that it produces yards and yards of tangled stems every season, and the only realistic control is to cut it right back after flowering and hope that the new stems mature enough to flower again the following year. This one was planted on a trellis, but wandered into a Pittosporum tree which it consumed, destabilised and finally crashed to the ground with when the whole lot blew down in the autumn. Looks like the trellis is going to follow it shortly. Eventually I will clear the pile of wreckage away, but for now the heap of broken branches is decorated with the blooms of its destroyer, and it is quite a victory celebration!

24th May 2009

Cyprepedium reginae .
A rather dull picture that is evidence of the triumph of hope over experience. I have killed more Cypripedium than I care to remember, and fortunately senility has made forgetfulness a simple matter. I have never managed to get conditions quite right - decades ago I saw great clumps of them in Saville Gardens in flower, so I assumed that they could be grown in a reasonable garden soil, but I was back visiting a little while ago and not a sausage remains, so I may not be the only one to oversee a massacre.
Recently I have been shown how to grow them in completely inorganic "composts" - in this case it is mostly expanded clay aggregate - and so I have been tempted to have another go. I also have a plant of C.formosanum growing in a conventional compost. I bought it in flower and I am too scared to change the compost. (I get that sometimes, especially with orchids - I dithered for years before I repotted my Serapias and it almost died of stagnation before I plucked up the courage to pot it on, and it is now a magnificent wonder!) In the case of this Cypripedium , oblivion is still a very real possibility.

24th May 2009

Hippeastrum 'Exposure' .
From the distant promise of subtle flowers to a bright pink slap in the face. Deep in the manky depths of winter I am easily tempted by the promise of bright flowers and easy culture. I am a sucker for Hippeastrum. In January these were all reduced at my local garden centre so I came away clutching armloads of them and grinning wider than the crack in an elephants bottom!
This is the proper time of year for Hippeastrum to flower after a winter cooling, though these were planted late and haven't made much stem, so the flowers are perched on top of the pots. As a slap in the face goes, this one wasn't even delivered with poise, just a clumsy clout from a pink faced friend.

24th May 2009

Ixia viridiflora .
The green flowered Ixia is an astonishing beauty from South Africa, where it is becoming quite rare in the wild. Fortunately it is very easy from seed. There seem to be a couple of strains in cultivation - I have seen it much deeper in colour than mine, and I would dearly love to get hold of a turquoise stock, but this paler one is still breathtakingly unexpected. I nearly said beautiful, but I'm not sure if I can call it beautiful when it pushes me so close to laughter?
It is admirable, delightful, unexpected, shocking even, but it does also provoke a certain mirth (or is that just me?)

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.
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