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

20th December 2009

Hacquetia epipactis .
Hidden among the fluff of Christmas and the looming New Year there is a small garden festival that will be celebrated here. As the sun went down this evening we entered the darkest day in the garden (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Tomorrow is the winter solstice! It is a small thing, but I am always amazed by the change it makes in the garden. Within a few days new shoots will start to appear (they were probably there before, but in a few days they will seem to be significant).
This Hacquetia is a fun little plant - I grew it years ago before there was enough woodland here to shelter it, but it never really prospered. It dislikes root distrbance and had to be split regularly to keep it in a pot, so there was always a fine balance between sulking and starving. Last spring I bought another, and planted it out among the Hellebores where I hoped it would be happy. Somewhere along the way in autumn it sprung up. I can't pretend that I noticed the springing process but suddenly there were frilly green ruffs around the tiny yellow flowers. I have the variegated form, 'Thor' as well, but no sign of that yet - I am peering at the ground with anxious anticipation hoping to catch the springing in action. Perhaps it is waiting for the new season, and as far as I am concerned, that starts on Tuesday!

20th December 2009

Nerine bowdenii 'Albivetta' .
The last of the autumn is still to be seen around the place. The transfer from autumn to spring is a curious and confused event, but the solstice acts as a useful dividing line. This Nerine is probably going to be the last to flower , though N.bowdenii 'Mark Fenwick' will be a close second. There seem to be a number of very similar pale flowered forms of N.bowdenii about, and I am uncertain that they are distinct, but they all seem to be good plants. I have just sowed a batch of seed to see if the seedlings from them show any variability.
The N.sarniensis hybrids are now in full leaf, which means they are a bit susceptible to frost, so I am hoping for a moderate month. This week has seen the first significant frosts here. Some of the Agapanthus and most of the Begonia have been turned to mush in the greenhouse, but hopefully they both have protected rhizomes that will allow them to recover when the weather warms up.

20th December 2009

Parochaetus communis .
Another plant that is hanging on from last season. Quite literally in this case. For a second year I have underestimated its ability to produce new growth and this flower is hanging from the end of a long trailing curtain of growth dangling from the bench. I really need to cut some of it back so that I have a more compact plant through the winter. It is a little frost tender, and I intended to get it planted out during the summer, but I didn't so I have an unfortunate straggle to try and protect. It doesn't produce a lot of these pale blue pea flowers, but they are quite wonderful. I should probably try a bit in the Hedychium house, but the frost crept in there during the week and has burnt the tops off of the plants. I have a couple of frozen flowers in there that look like crystalised cake decorations, and every time I walk past the door I am bathed in the delightful smell of boiled spinach from the frosted growth!

20th December 2009

Polygonatum punctatum .
And a touch of evergreen foliage to celebrate the season! I would quite like to grow mistletoe in the garden, but I haven't yet managed to get it established yet. I have no desire to grow christmas trees, but I have plenty of holly, and the ivy is spectacular, and its weight will shortly cause the collapse of one end on my workshop (a fate that I have now come to terms with).
This Polygonatum has been perplexing me all summer because the leaves seemed to be too strong and leathery. I was flirting with the idea that it might be a Disporopsis but reference to the Flora of China suggests that it is true to name. The large red berries make a cheery note at the end of the year. Inside there will be some equally cheery fat seeds, and I have demonstrated over many years that I am hopeless at germinating them, though I am going to have another go next year and see if I have learnt any new tricks.

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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