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

18th July 2010

Aconitum 'Bressingham Spire' .
It has been a long week, and I have been messing about with the paperwork, which is a bit frustrating when the garden is crying out for adoration, but there has been some rain which would have kept me inside anyway (I am a terrible wimp in the face of a drop of rain).
Somewhere along the way I started thinking about old friends, and then every time I go out into the garden I seem to have found something from the distant past.
I'm not sure this qualifies as an old friend, but an old companion certainly. I have a problem with the toxicity of the Aconites, it always makes them seem rather sinister and since I tend to walk round the garden hugging and squeezing and cutting and sniffing I worry a bit that I will inadvertantly take a quick bite. It's not really rational, but there you go.
I planted this in 1983, up in the top of the garden . It would be fairer to say I heeled it in, because it was never meant to stay there. I planted some year old saplings at the same time which now have 12inch trunks and are causing some trouble when it comes to felling them. Through it all (and surviving being mown several times) comes Aconitum 'Bressingham Spire' and I have come to welcome it. It will be moved to a special position in the new herbaceous border even though I don't really like to touch it!
In it's favour, I have to say it hasn't been damaged by the rabbits, which are being a real nuisance this year.

18th July 2010

Astilbe 'Ceres'.
Somewhere along the way I had a big collection of Astilbe and they seem to have survived rather better than the labels that were once attached to them. One of the obscure philosophical pleasures of my life is getting to grips with a group of plants and then watching in bemused disbelief as new introductions and the slow process of forgetfulness strip away the illusion of comprehension and return me to the beginning. This one has come up and is still associated with the original label. It is pretty, it is pink, but most significantly is has been durable and it is still available.
No pink Astilbe is ever likely to leave you breathless with delight, it's just not in their nature. Twenty six years later it is still slogging away in the garden. We have some common ground.

18th July 2010

Cornus 'Norman Haddon' .
Definitely an old friend. Originally planted in a shrubby border with a collection of other cultivars. Both literally and metaphorically it stands head and shoulders above them. Over the years I have decorated the ground around it with Anemone apeninna and Cardamine trifolia, which slowly faded away. They were followed by hardy Fuchsia, by azaleas and most recently I have added some Clematis, but none of them have mattered. The Cornus takes the stage in June, and nothing else matters for six weeks. It follows it up with a few weeks of bright red fruits in the autumn and then rests elegantly for a few months before going through it all again the following year.
In recent years it has become a bit hemmed in by other shrubs, and I have a few months to clear some space before the early daffodils start to emerge and I can no longer walk over the meadow to get to it, which explains the partial picture of a branch - it is the only view I can currently get.

18th July 2010

Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri .
I have a rather ancient picture of a greenhouse I had as a teenager, and in amongst the mass of intersting foliage that I had crammed into every corner, the rather delicious leaves, like Nice biscuits strung together, can clearly be seen. I bought it from a florist in Brentwood. The florist is gone, Brentwood is now unrecognisable (and for the life of me I can't decide if that is a good thing or a bad) but I still grow the plant, though not the same specimen.
It came through this winter rather better than expected. Some of the more fragile Schumbergera lost a few stem sections, but this has sailed through. Modern hybrids are now available through the summer in a wider range of colour but there is something about scarlet that works really well with succulent stems. I ignore it pretty much all year and then suddenly it flowers.

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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