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

16th January 2011

Camellia 'Show Girl' .
Another week of reckless warmth in the garden has been a delight, and has brought a few plants into flower that had been deterred by the earlier freezing weather.
Top of this list is this Camellia. I expect to have flowers from it for New Years Day, and this is the first time it has ever let me down. When the New Year arrived I went looking for blooms and there was nothing. I couldn't even find any swelling buds and was saddened. I walked away quite convinced that I would have nothing to show until "March of the Fat Japonicas".
This one has its fat aspect. It inherits the size from Camellia reticulata 'Cornelian' and from Camellia sasangua 'Narumigata' it should inherit a subtlety of form and colour, but these aspects seem to have been trampled on. It is often described as scented but it would be a mistake to expect too much. Imagine discovering a box of fruit jellies or similar confection a week after the last of the contents had been consumed, but opening it anyway with a tiny puff of perfumed sugar and bare rectangular disappointment. The term 'scented' as applied to Camellia.
I first bought this to make up for the absence of Camellia reticulata in the garden. All the local gardeners told me how well it did on the south walls of houses nearer the coast, and hidden in this cheerful delight was the sugestion that it was a waste of time anywhere else. In recent years I have planted C.reticulata 'Dr Clifford Parks' in the windiest part of the top of the garden and it has prospered.
In summary, this weeks contribution to humanity is to suggest that you take not the slightest heed of others opinions concerning your garden (and if you choose to stop reading at this point, I salute you)!

16th January 2011

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' .
A couple of years ago I started planting Hamamelis in the garden. I wanted to add some more sturdy and reliable winter interest in a garden that has tended to follow my own inclination towards spring and summer fluff. They were to replace a large plant of H.mollis near the front door that was removed as part of the general 'uncluttering' of the front of the house (which has recently needed repeating) and a smaller plant of H. x intermedia 'Ruby Glow' that was consumed by blackberries (it may still be there, who can tell).
This has been my favourite so far, the pale flowers are very striking in the dark winter days among sombre conifers. Originally raised by the RHS, at the time it was thought to be a form of H.mollis but it is now recognised as a hybrid.
I have also been smitten by the wonder of 'Orange Beauty' in pots, but it has been rather less wonderful in the garden. I am hoping it is just taking a few years off to get its toes in before leaving me speechless with delight.
This years object of obsession has been H.mollis 'Brevipetala' which was wonderful in a nursery recently, but there is a point where 'expensive' becomes 'painfully expensive' and it is time to walk away.

16th January 2011

Helleborus thibetanus
The garden has been full of promise for weeks. Full of plump buds and bursting new growths. Hellebores have been lifting their buds out of the mud and nothing has quite opened. This H.thibetanus has been pushing its way clear of the soil since early December and for the last two weeks I have had a tiny hint of pinkness peeping out from the top of the shoot, driving me wild with anticipation. Come on, come on, I want a Hellebore!
Unfortunately it all got too much for me, and on thursday I bought a flowering H.niger from Homebase. It is not a species I have ever managed to please over the long term. Last years victim is marked by a single tatty leaf and depressingly untroubled soil where the new buds should be emerging. and no doubt this years will provide a seasons spectacle and then fizzle out.
I got home in the last of the light to find this big pink flower glowing in the garden, and although it is a fairly recent introduction to cultivation, it has been much better than H.niger in the garden. Like many growers I started with it in a pot in a greenhouse, where it was pale and delicate and quite exquisite. Planted outside it has doubled in size and shows some very welcome vigour. This is the fabled 'pale green' form. As the picture shows it is not a fable any more than it is pale green. As the flower ages the anthers will fall and the colour will drain out of it to leave a passable green flower. Quite wonderful at the moment, pink is a colour that the H. x hybridus forms struggle to achieve with any conviction so this is a nice start to the season.

16th January 2011

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'.
This is another of my favourite things to find in the garden on New Years Day, and it is another plant that wasn't there this year. I had tiny little buds poking up but no suggestion of flowers. Another cause of garden frustration, I saw 'Tete a Tete' coming into bloom in the big stores but managed to walk away. Another plant that had finally opened when I got home on thursday. I had two flowers then, and I could probably have picked a bunch today. It looks as though I might get a really good display this year, the original bulbs have clumped up and are starting to cover the ground.
They have also appreciated the extra light and moisture they have had this year, following the removal of some large trees. They share the meadow with some Narcissus obvallaris that have never really been happy, and I think it might be time to remove them. They flower just as the 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' start to look tatty. It was a nice idea to have a variety to follow on, but it hasn't really worked and I think the time has come to get the spade out and move them to pastures new.

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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