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

7th March 2010

Ranunculus ficaria 'Salad Bowl' .
It has been a wonderful dry week, and the sun has been shining more than expected which always adds a glow to the garden. I have been busy painting windows, so I haven't seen as much of it as I would have liked, but it helps to keep the weather from penetrating too far into the house.
Sping has been spreading infectiously through the garden, getting into all the cold hard places where winter is still stored and making them soft and slightly smelly. It has been (to coin a phrase) satisfungal.
In the last couple of weeks the Lesser Celandines have been watered and fed quite heavily, and they have perked up a lot as a result. 'Salad Bowl' produces these wonderful crispy buds and is much more organised than the equally curious 'Greenpetal'. As the season progesses these perfect rosettes will, like its lettuce namesake, burst into floral frilliness, so this may well be its finest hour.

7th March 2010

Helleborus x hybridus 'Pluto' .
I have bought a couple of new Hellebore hybrids this year (despite promising myself that I wouldn't), mostly because they were better coloured than any of my own seedlings, but this is a much older plant. Raised by Eric Smith in the 1960's, and slow to divide, I was pleased when I was finally able to obtain a piece though it has taken a few years to settle down and flower. It was a seedling of H.'Colchicus Superbus' pollinated with a form of H.torquatus from Ingwersens. Eric described 'Colchicus Superbus' as 'not particularly exciting' , which was a kindness. I grew it in a previous garden, where the best you could say of it was that it was vigorous. A number of seedlings were raised from the cross. I have had 'Miranda' for years (well, decades actually) - I bought it when the Plantsmen Nurseries closed down in the mid '80's. Both cultivars are rather slow and rather dull by modern standards, but they have a historical charm.

7th March 2010

Cymbidium goeringii .
For the most part, Cymbidium are a little too tender for me, though it doesn't stop me from trying to keep a few of the species alive. C.aloifolium lives permanently in a heated growing case where it isn't entirely happy. C. goeringii is an exception, from China and Japan, where an enormous number of cultivars have been selected. I gave grown it outside here, and in Essex, and it prospers (though slowly) but I have yet to flower it outside. Like so many orchids, it needs a long hot wet summer to produce mature growths, and then it flowers from the dormant growth during winter. Long hot wet summer - I can usually manage the 'wet' part. In the greenhouse, things are a little easier to manage, and although it hasn't yet flowered reliably, I get the odd scape.
There are a couple of other species that seem to grow under the same conditions, and I have taken to lurking on the fringes of the orchid growing fraternity hoping to run into an occasional spare plant. I'm not sure what the collective noun for orchid growers is, but I suspect it might be a pod - the same as killer whales.

7th March 2010

Camellia 'Debbie' .
The season comes round every year to put in words my ire, 'Debbie' makes my stomach sick, it couldn't rise much higher. An ugly blob, a slick of pink, a wicked flush that will not sink. I hate its smug amorphous bloom, I hope its flowering end comes soon, it fills the garden with cheap pink thrills like crackling static nylon frills.
Where I find you in the garden I come out in the sun to mock you, I plant you in the south and west and hope atlantic gales will rock you. You starve the ground, you're quite despotic, you're sickly leaves mostly chlorotic. As spring arrives I fear the worst, and sure enough your buds soon burst but not in an exploding way that drains your life blood through the day, oh no, you blow with disorganised precision against the force of my derision.
I really do hate 'Debbie'. Duty done for another year!

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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