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

27th December 2009

Berberis darwinii .
A cold and bright week in the garden. There was always the slight possibility that it would congeal into a white Christmas, but we were spared. Following the solstice last week it is worth noting that the garden has failed to burst into spring exuberance with the enthusiasm of a small child unwrapping presents, but I have been working in the greenhouse until 4.30 most afternoons and I can still see what I am doing so there is more light about.
This Berberis is an old friend. I think I have planted it everywhere I have lived. It has excellent deep green evergreen foliage and the bright orange flowers make a spectacular display in spring. The few clusters of flowers that have opened now are just a warm-up for the main event. Unfortunately it also becomes very large, it sprawls with the elegance of a fat ballerina and it suckers with a prickly determination that makes Margaret Thatcher look soft and fluffy. So, to sum up, good points and bad!
This particular one is rapidly wearing out its welcome. I have too many large shrubs competing for the same small space so something has to go.

27th December 2009

Passiflora 'Star of Kingston' .
The Passion flowers are evidence of my occasional recklessness. I was fascinated by the intricacy of the flowers, and there are a lot more cultivars available now than there was when I last grew them. I was especially interested in the purple and red forms. Many years ago I grew a plant that came to me as 'Rubra' which was rather pathetic, the colour a volcanic mud pool and despite all assurances to the contrary, it was destroyed by the slightest frost! I was quietly marvelling at the colours now available when I ran across rotten old 'Rubra' at a nursery and had to stifle a derisive snort to protect the nurserymans feelings.
'Star of Kingston' has been the most floriferous of the new cultivars I have tried. It has flowered non-stop since mid summer, and is still producing buds. More importantly, it has survived a frost in the greenhouse without damage so far. A few of the most tender varieties have come into the conservatory, but I am hoping that most of them will survive in the greenhouse and grow strongly enough in the spring to be worth the space they occupy.

27th December 2009

Ranunculus ficaria .
The Lesser Celandines have been producing leaves for weeks now, and I was hoping for some early flowers, but I think they are a bit too dry (I meant to water them today but somehow it did't happen). Among the seedlings a few buds have appeared and this is the best of them. It was raised from a cross between 'Pulla Cross Primrose' and 'Double Mud'. True to form, the first generation seedlings are dull and yellow.
Before long there will be buds on many of the selected cultivars and the spring sun will be warming the greenhouse they are in, which will be very welcome.

27th December 2009

Schlumbergera x buckleyi .
One or two very early flowers from this Schumbergera, which will wait a couple more months before producing the full display. It survived last winter in the greenhouse so I am trying a few more of the epiphytic cacti out there. I would really like to be able to leave the Epiphyllum out there and I meant to test one last winter, but lost my nerve in December. This year I have taken some cuttings, and then left one of the large plants under the bench to take its chances.
This plant is a hybrid between S.russelliana and S.truncata. I am sure there must be a number of differnt clones in cultivation but this is the only one I know. It has rounded lobes on the stem sections, unlike the long points found on S.truncata. It makes a large rounded mound of succulent stems and one reason it stays in the greenhouse over winter is that it is getting too heavy to carry about the place!

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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