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

28th March 2010

Romulea bulbocodium var bulbocodium .
It has been a busy week filled with the joys of spring which has involved spring showers and bursting leaves. I have a vague memory that when I was a teenager it involved something more, but I can't for the life of me remember what.
I am lucky that the garden is home to a large poulation of birds that chatter and whistle their way through the winter, but this week there have been some more exotic voices as the summer migrants start to arrive. I spent a happy half hour on wednesday trying to identify one particular whistling wanderer, but it eluded me. I also have Ravens and Buzzards that circle the skies above me, though this week they seem to have been joined by a distinctive fat shape. Low cloud has kept me from a positive identification, but it looks like ...yes...yes, I think this is the week of the flying pig!
The first little piggy-pilot came in the form of a Romulea. This seems to be a deep coloured form of the Spanish Romulea bulbocodium var bulbocodium and it was a welcome arrival. It was grown from a rather expensive corm labelled R. macowanii var alticola, which is a high altitude species from South Africa with yellow flowers. These things happen, and if you grow Romulea , they happen with relentless reliability.

28th March 2010

Lachenalia aloides 'Tricolor' .
I have been growing Lachenalia since the days when spring brought other overwhelming attractions into the life of a young man. Isn't it frightening how the misconceptions of youth persist long after the stylishly cut hair has fallen out. I was always taught that Lachenalia had to be protected from frost or the bulbs would be destroyed, but it is hogwash (and given the aerial proclivities of this weeks little porkers, that means messy). As a consequence, I have always had to carry them into shady greenhouses for the winter, just as they are growing, so they have unsatisfactory growing seasons. Fortunately, I have eventually got the point - the leaves may get damaged, but the plants prefer to be left in the light in a cold greenhouse than to shelter in a safe dark dungeon.
I bought these plants as a pot in full flower, because I wanted to be certain that it was the real thing, and many of the bulbs are true to name, but there are a couple of other things in there as well - a yellow flowered plant close to L.reflexa and a greenish yellow plant that is probably one of the new South African hybrids and will be identified eventually. One of the delights of teetering on the edge of identity chaos!

28th March 2010

Epimedium pinnatum colchicum L321 .
Epimedium have their fair share of identity problems. I have real difficulty distinguishing between E.pinnatum, E.perralderianum and their vigorous and unidentifiable offspring, E.x perralchicum, so I followed my usual routine of obtaining as many correctly identified plants as I could, and wait to see if the distinctions become apparent. Well, lets just say I'm still actively engaged in the process.
This is one of the certain identifications. This form was collected by Roy Lancaster in Georgia and is smaller and finer in all its parts than the plant usually seen in cultivation. For many years it has also been the first Epimedium to flower in the collection, and this year has been no exception, though it was barely 24 hours earlier than 'Arctic Wings' and there are a couple of others following hot on its heels.

28th March 2010

Calanthe tricarinata .
It has been a few years now since I last flowered Calanthe tricarinata. The green and red flowers are distinctive and welcome start to the hardy orchid season (which also has Pleione and Pterostylis not quite open enough to show here today). I made some changes to the way I cultivated Calanthe last year - I put them in deeper pots and fed them more heavily and I hope I will be seeing more flowers this year as a result.
The species comes from China and recent stocks have been carried to Europe in the mouth of a flying pig, labelled Calanthe hancockii.

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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