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

7th June 2009

Bletilla Brigantes .
When I was a teenager I embarked on a long career of Bletillicide fuelled by egotism and cheap rhizomes. Everything I read told me that they were not hardy, and armed with that single piece of knowledge I proceeded to cosset to death a succession of low cost victims supplied by a bulb industry that was happy to pretend that Bletilla rhizomes survived drying out. An ocean of bright pink blood has been spilled to relieve me of my ignorance, so I hope you will forgive a little bit of gleeful dancing up and down every time I flower a new one!
Brigantes is the grex name for hybrids between Bletilla striata (supplier of the spilled ocean of pink blood) and Bletilla ochracea with yellow flowers (that I have killed once and failed to kill once. I can't pretend it is prospering, but it has resisted death so far). I have previously seen Brigantes with magenta flowers that looked partly digested, like one of the parts of a pig that should not really have been eaten. This pretty pale pink form was a delightful piece of luck and if I manage to fight off the urge to tuck it up somewhere warm for the winter, then it should continue to delight in future years.

7th June 2009

Dierama argyraeum .
Another unexpected escape from pinkness. I sowed the seed from the Alpine Garden Society in 2004, and the pot has stood around the place waiting for me to do something about it. Last year I put the whole lot into a bigger pot, and this has been the result. Dierama leaves are ornamentally disadvantaged, even at their best, so flowers are more or less essential. I was expecting this one to be silver-pink in line with the genus' usual habit, which is really to say pink, but without the implication of sunburn that also travels hand-in-hand with that adjective.
White flowers that manage to include grey veins and a greenish blush (can you blush green, or are we back in unsuitable pig-parts territory?) They didn't stand out from a distance, but when I brushed past and saw them I had to sit down for a moment to enjoy. This is the season of unexpected joys opening thick and fast (delayed and slender in this case) but this has been outstanding.

7th June 2009

Spathantheum orbignyanum .
From the sublime to the ridiculous. The Araceae is filled with astonishing, beautiful, elegant and charismatic plants that attract ardent, serious and well informed enthusiasts who huddle together in corners and giggle about the phallic flowers.
Spathantheum orbignyanum comes from the Bolivian Andes where it grows in dry stony soil. From the rich tone of that description you can infer that very few observations have been published. Last year it produced a single large leaf with an irregular outline that was unique without being noteworthy. When it died down for the winter, I was uncertain that I would ever see it again, but it has come through the winter unscathed, and there seem to be two shoots emerging. The flower is strange enough to prompt a giggle, but there isn't enough for a laugh. I am told that it has a tuber below ground and I see no reason to doubt its existence, but like the northern lights, it is not a thing I have seen for myself!

7th June 2009

Watsonia (knysnana x pillansii) .
I was in Shropshire over the weekend and seem to have spent most of the time driving along rain soaked motorways listening to the rubbery rhythm of the wiper blades as they struggled, like an axe-man in a Capability Brown landscape, to clear a view. When I got home, there had been hardly any rain and the Watsonia had started to flower.
This is pink unsoftened by the thought of sun lotion. It came to me as a hybrid - Watsonia are so promiscuous that I am sure it is and I'm not going to delve any further into it's parentage than the label it arrived with. The Watsonia here have sailed through the winter and flower spikes are confirmation that summer has landed in the garden.

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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