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

29th November 2009

Chirita sclerophylla .
It has been one of those weeks when the weather has been the major influence on the garden. It has been ghastly, or magical depending on your viewpoint. We have had wind and rain all week, and the garden looks as though it has been combed by tiny pixies - the grass, the shrubs and the fallen leaves are all pointing away from the prevailing wind.On the plus side, most of the really bad weather has arrived through the nights and although I have been soaked a couple of times (building a fruit cage - don't ask!) I seem to have got a lot done.
All sorts of things happening in the greenhouse protected from the weather. Not protected from the slugs unfortunately, so you won't be seeing the ragged shreds of Cymbidium kanran, which was perfect for an afternoon, but gone by the time I got the camera.
Chirita sclerophylla has survived so far. The buds swell up like balloons and then finally burst. I expect an audible 'pop' as they open, but I've never heard it yet. My plant has distinctive hard leaves, which fit the name well, but I know that growers in the USA have a very different plant under the name, like a big soft floppy lettuce.

29th November 2009

Hedychium 'Palani' .
The Hedychium season has more or less passed, but there is still the promise of a few things to come. During the week, the stems of the deciduous forms finally collapsed into untidy piles, and will have to be cleared away when time permits, but the evergreen forms are still looking good, if a little droopy. 'Palani' is flowering here for the first time this year. It seems to have originated in Hawaii but my plant came from a nursery in California. The deep orange flowers are only partly opened, which may just be a consequence of the cold weather. The bracts show a lot of red colour, which is uncommon in the genus and makes the flower head seem very bright.
The flower is also said to be very strongly scented, but I think that will require more warmth than we are likely to get.

29th November 2009

Massonia pustulata .
I have always known Massonia from specimens in botanic gardens, where they are grown very dry and the large paired leaves develop purple colours and lie flat on the ground. My own plants have to put up with a bit more water - I try to keep them dry in the summer but I don't always succeed. Surprisingly they have proven to be quite tolerant of my occasional slip with the hose when watering.
I wasn't expecting flowers this year. When the paired leaves emerged in October there didn't seem to be a bud between them, but it has swollen very suddenly and the flowers have opened in the last few days. I was expecting the large white flowers to be scented (it is in the Hyacinthaceae, so it is effectively a stunted Bluebell) but it transpires that in the wild (South Africa) it isn't pollinated by moths but by gerbils!

29th November 2009

Narcissus bulbocodium 'Citrinus' .
The daffodils are all growing, and the flowering season has started for the very earliest of them. Narcissus romieuxii can be relied on to produce a few blooms in November and should carry on producing them until spring starts charming its cousins from their muddy beds, but this is a very early showing for N. bulbocodium.
This form is much paler than the typical plant, and it has a curious elongated trumpet that makes me suspect some hybrid influence, but whatever it's origin, it is a splendid thing. Over the last couple of years the large flowers have always been slightly distorted, like a beautiful person with an unfortunate nose, but tiny daffodils can be excused almost anything. By the time spring has become socially acceptable and the 'flat shoes and cardigans' brigade have migrated away from their firesides to torture their lawns, the daffodils will have become tall, fat and pungent. This is a brief moment of fragile delicacy (with an unfortunate nose).

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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