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

1st August 2010

Talbotia elegans .
A curious little plant that for no reason seems to represent the pulling together of loose ends to me. I have had a peculiarly fragmented week and it is rather fitting that it should open now.
I bought the seed from Silverhills in 2007, and for the life of me I can't remember why. I was looking through their catalogue, and it ended up on the order. It is in the Velloziaceae, and I don't grow any other members of the family, so that may be why I bought the seed. Sometimes my life is as random as that.
Seed germinated easily, seemed to like quite wet conditions, and was tiny and leafy for a couple of years. During that period I saw it at Cotswold Garden Flowers, which inspired me to prick out the seedlings and generally take some notice of them. The plant I saw had pure white flowers, which seems to be the stock most widely in cultivation, so I am very pleased to have a pale lilac form. If I see the white one for sale again, I will have that as well, because I am finding it quite charming.
It grows naturally in wet seeps in cliffs in the Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa. If I had researched it before I bought the seed I would have discovered that is was not thought to be frost hardy. I can now confirm that it will take minus 5degC in a pot under cover.
For a couple of years now I have been seeing a charming purple flowered plant at Kew in July, called Barbacenia purpurea and apart from noticing that it was in some really odd family for something that looked rather like a lily, I took pictures and moved on. It turns out Talbotia elegans was originally named Barbacenia elegans so my odd little plant has a friend!

1st August 2010

Acis autumnalis .
A cool wet week at the end of July - I was seriously expecting to have Cyclamen hederifolium in flower when I went looking, but not a sausage. I am happy with that, they always seem to herald the arrival of autumn (other people have them, it is inevitable eventually). So I was flitting around in the greenhouse in a bubbly summery way when I noticed that the Acis was in flower, right next to Eucomis autumnalis, so autumn has arrived by name, if not by Cyclamen.
It is a pretty little thing, easy enough in a pot. I am trying a few other species under the same conditions and although they all look much the same to me I am enjoying the idea of diversity (OK, they flower at different times, and one of them is a bit pinkish)!

1st August 2010

Gladiolus ecklonii .
I have all sorts of lovely things in the garden that I had picked out to show this week, but the greenhouse had thrown up some much more exciting stuff so when it came to a choice it was actually quite easy (some weeks I agonise all day about what I am going to show).
The summer rainfall Gladiolus have been producing spikes for a couple of weeks. G.delenii and G.flanaganii are finishing, but it is this small flowered brownish one that caught my attention. The flowers are actually white, speckled with purple and red, but the effect is brownish. I grew it from seed in 2007. It has broad leaves with thickened margins and grows in moist grassland in South Africa.

1st August 2010

Zephyranthes 'Itsy Bitsy'.
It has been a delight to me , in a perverse sort of way, to discover other people around the world who are perplexed by the Rain Lilies. It is strangely reassuring to discover that when there is confusion it is so freely spread around.
I am totally confused by the species as grown from seed. I haven't managed to find an adequate key, and although I have looked in detail at the plants grown in a number of botanic gardens, all I can say for certain is that they also have some nomenclatural irregularities.
I started to grow some of the named cultivars in an attempt to establish some sort of reliable foundation for understanding in the genus and now I grow some lovely plants to decorate my perplexion.
This IS the clone 'Itsy Bitsy'. It is a selection from the seed strain 'Labuffarosea' which was discovered in Mexico and which hasn't yet been reconciled with any of the established species. I think that is probably true of quite a lot of the plants in circulation. It doesn't help that they are so profligate with seed that I have to be diligent in removing seed pods or the contents of a pot can change from year to year. My only slight insight is that if it is copper orange and not the expected occupant of a pot, then it is Habranthus tubispathus!

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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