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

11th July 2010

Habranthus tubispathus 'Roseus' .
A little touch of rain durning the height of summer has inspired the rain lilies to flower (or it might have been a good soaking from the hose since they are under cover). I am becoming more certain that this is Habranthus tubispathus 'Roseus', the soft apricot flowers are a delight, and the seed pods follow rapidly behind them. Seedlings come up all over the place if they are allowed to ripen. A flush of flowers like this is a rare event. Usually it produces a flower or two at a time through the summer and autumn, but it is always a delight.
The taxonomy of these things perplexes me. Recently breeders have been selecting more and more new forms, and since I don't really understand the original species boundaries, the new work leaves me boggled, but I find that smiling inanely and enjoying the passing flowers is sufficiently satisfying. In this case, I have a very similar plant sent to me as H.gracilifolius, that I have been promised is absolutely the real thing, and I can't tell the difference. It is also very lovely.

11th July 2010

Hibiscus syriacus 'White Chiffon'.
Hibiscus is an old affection, though I have always limited myself to the tender species. I had already identified that this was an example of my prejudice getting in the way of a good plant. I love the rich colours of the H.rosa-sinensis forms, and the hardy shrubs with their greyish lilac flowers are vaguely geriatric. They look like a gardening advert in a newspaper from 1950 that you have found at the bottom of a box at an auction. Anyway, whatever the reason, whenever I think 'Hibiscus' I subconsciously erase these shrubs from consideration.
Having realised that I had left a gap in my understanding of the genus, I have marched boldly forward and bought three modern cultivars. Not the ones I most wanted to try, I am sad to say. These are the ones that were reduced at the DIY store. It is possible that relying on discount shrubs that have passed their sell-by date is a sub-optimal process. I would like to say that I have loved this in flower, but it is a rather feeble double, and although the pure white is quite appealing, it is entirely without the beauty of the sublime pure white form of H.rosa-sinensis, which is a dreamy, romantic, pristine triumph of poise and elegance (go and see it at Wisley and ennoble your spirit).
In comparison, this is an ugly bush that a seagull has shit on. Maybe I will like the other colours. I will try hard, I really want them to be lovely.

11th July 2010

Hymenocallis longipetala .
Hymenocallis is a rather overlooked genus. Many of the best looking species have large flowers and are temperamentally tropical. They disappoint at lower temperatures. There are a few fairly tough species, and this seems to be one of the best. It originates in the Peruvian Andes and came through last winter well in a cold greenhouse, so it will withstand the cold. It stays in the greenhouse through the summer, and I think the extra heat makes a big difference.
Long thin petals might seem to make it an unspectacular flower, but it stands out like a good looking bloke in a rugby team. I haven't tried it outside, it seems like pushing my luck, not something to do with a rugby team!

11th July 2010

Rosa 'Toby Tristram'.
I have a long fascination with Rosa filipes 'Kiftsgate'. The original at Kiftsgate Court is inspirational, and although I don't think I have got the space I would love to have it in the garden. I have a cluster of rather over-large Leylands that might make a good support. I once grew it from a local nursery with a reputation for creative nomenclature, and I still have the rather lovely Rosa moyesii 'Geranium' that it finally became. At the same period I acquired this as a tray of rooted cuttings that I potted on and sold off a year later. I wasn't particularly interested at the time but held on to one and poked it in the ground by the shed just to save the bother of watering it. Years later it is eating the shed in a very satisfactory way and delivers a few weeks of these pale apricot pink flowers. It only does the one display during the year, but it is lovely. Years after I had started to appreciate it, I discovered that it was another form of R.filipes, so its current behaviour is quite restrained.

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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