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

1st November 2009

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Worplesdon' .
It has beena good week, temperatures have remained unexpectedly high, and I was getting on with all the odds and ends that need doing once cold weather appears in the distance. All quite mundane but it has to be done, and there is a measure of satisfaction in returning the Sansevieria to their repective windowsills. All going quite well until thursday anyway, when the weather forecasters started talking about strong winds, especially in central England, over the weekend. Change of plan at the last minute, I went to Westonbirt Arboretum on Friday to catch the autumn colour while it was still clinging tenuously to the trees.
All very lovely, all very fluorescent, though if I'm honest I thought the collection was a little short on passion, but it was busy. (Half term - it would be fair to say it was infested with people). Every potential photograph was of a tree surrounded by people in pink cagouls (why do people always choose pink? I'm sure it is good for visibility at sea, but the chances of being swept overboard in central Gloustershire are vanishingly slight.) So on I wandered, with what I hoped was a winning smile (though I own a mirror, and am aware of the reality of my expressions) and hoped that there weren't any telepaths present and that my body language was only whispering.
So it was a joy to get back and discover that my Liquidambar has started to perform! It will get better every day, as long as the winds permit. When I planted it, I surrounded it with all sorts of companions that I am slowly removing to give it space. Next year the tree to the south of it is coming out, and it will no longer live in the shade, which should help it to colour! And not a single pink nylon pustule!

1st November 2009

Hedychium 'Luna Moth' .
All of the Hedychium are lovely, and worth growing for the leaves alone (although I do understand that people don't always 'get' it). Some of them are reliable in flower, and 'Luna Moth' is a good example. Some of them are less reliable, though a surprising number of the more recalcitrant forms are producing flowering cones. If the warm weather persists then a proportion of them will flower through the middle of winter.
'Luna Moth' has always been one of the joys of November in the greenhouse here. It was a week or so early this year, and it is flowering more profusely than normal, but it always manages a worthwhile display.

1st November 2009

Nerine 'Bianca' .
There was something emotionally tiring about walking around Westonbirt looking at the colour. In the occasional bright sunlight there is a feeling that a misplaced sneeze might cause a sudden slump of foliage. All the leaves might drop out of the trees like a wet duvet falling off a washing line. I wanted to tip-toe around for fear of a tissue paper avalanche. Anyway, when it all got too much I went and saw a friends Nerine and allowed the soothing pink to calm me!
My stock of N.bowdenii 'Alba' is not pure white, it has a pale pink tinge, and there is a white one out there, and I want it! (And I obtained a promising offset on Friday). I got this one as a dry bulb a few years ago, claiming to be a N.sarniensis hybrid, but the more I look at it the more I think it is a pure (or nearly pure) N.bowdenii. It may even be a cultivar of N.bowdenii called 'Bianca Perla'. It's a wonderful thing, whatever. I want to grow a lot more Nerine so they are all being pollinated, rather at random, but if it works out well I will be a bit more systematic about it next year.

1st November 2009

Strobilanthes flexicaulis .
There is a balance to be struck in the garden that I always have trouble with. I am nothing if not unbalanced! Do I strive for a few giant theatrical effects or fill the place with little enchanting details. I'm afraid that I prefer wild excess to moderate sufficiency.
If this were a haiku, at this stage I would introduce a second idea. I have always known Strobilanthes as a genus of tropical twiggy shrubs which are memorable members of the Acanthaceae, and the few hardy members of the genus are a novelty for the garden and I am getting to know them this year.
This one has made a delightful little mound of glossy foliage and in all respects it has been perfectly satisfactory. The individual flowers are mottled and lined in shades of lilac and have been wonderful (though it has been almost impossible to capture on camera). In fact, the flowers have been quite outstanding. Both of them! I just wanted more from it. I wanted billowing masses of fluffy lilac lunacy. I wanted the dear little thing to push the boat out but instead it has chosen to drown in shiny green. I have been much more impressed by S.nutans which had far less perfect foliage, bordering on scrappy by the end of summer but dripped with tubular white flowers. I have seen it running around in the shade and looking like a thousand lunatics in white strait jackets dangling from tiny trees. My sort of plant. This one - lovely, elegant, unexpected, like a lilac cloud in the shape of the Mona Lisa, fragile and fleeting. I want it to have a bit more bludgeon about it!

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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