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

3rd April 2011

Epimedium sempervirens 'Creamsickle' .
The forecasters have been 'threatening' rain for most of the week and I would have been delighted if it had arrived. I have moved a few things around in the garden, and a good downpour would have been very welcome. I have a poor old Trachycarpus, raised from seed in 1980, that has been moved so many times it is starting to look a bit dizzy. This is (absolutely, unquestionably, unequivocally) the last time I will be moving it!
Quite by chance the dizzy palm has ended up next to this Epimedium. The name comes from an American nursery, the plant comes from Shikoku Gardens in Japan who have adopted the new name with pragmatic commercial zeal. The original Japanese name can be conveniently forgotten.
The variegated leaves keep the white splashes throughout the season, though the pink tinge fades away. It remains a bright and cheerful low evergreen, though this winter tested the durability of the foliage.

3rd April 2011

Lamprocapnos spectabilis .
When I first started to 'garden' more seriously under the trees I planted a lot of things to see how they would do. Over the years I have taken a lot of stuff out so that the whole garden is dormant by the end of summer and I can go through with a mower (or a herbicide) and remove all the weeds. At the time I planted two Dicentra spectabilis (as it was then) and they didn't really prosper - it was too dry and too dark for them. I assumed they had both died. A couple of years ago I started to thin out the more mature trees and replace them with Magnolia. The extra light and moisture has rejuvenated the Lamprocapnos (as they have now become) and they are making a bold show. The foliage will also be dead by the end of summer , so they fit the management plan quite well. They provide some interest after the snowdrops have finished, and are in flower at the same time as the Wood Anemones and the Erythronium. I think it is worth planting some more!

3rd April 2011

Pleione Masaya
The Pleione have done well this year if you overlook P.praecox turning to mush. My own fault, I know it isn't cold tolerant I just forgot to move it somewhere warmer. In general, they are appreciating a move to a lighter greenhouse where they get fed more regularly and I have more flowers this year than I have seen in a long time.
This is fairly new to me. I bought a pseudobulb last year without a flower, and I was expecting a rather pink flower, so this was a real delight. It is rather more primrose than the picture shows and I was starting to think I had been sent one of the Shantung clones by accident (which I would have been happy enough about). I have done a bit of research, and one of the Masaya clones is primrose, so I think it is correct.
The grex is made by crossing P.x confusa and P. Piton (formosana x yunnanensis). The P.formosana parent gives the hybrid some vigour. P.x confusa caused an uproar when it was first introduced to cultivation - the first yellow Pleione that had been seen. It was originally thought to be P.forrestii but was later identified as a natural hybrid between P.albiflora and P.forrestii (and substantially easier to grow than the latter species). Hybridisers continue to cross the pink species with the yellow in the hope of getting a good vigorous yellow hybrid. P.Shantung 'Ducat' is still one of the best, and it is clear that the Masaya grex also has some potential.

3rd April 2011

Cymbidium hookerianum .
This winter has provided a test for many of the borderline species I grow. It is always worrying to get a hard winter, and shortage of space last autumn meant that more plants than usual had to take their chances in a cold greenhouse. Among them were the Cymbidium and it has been pleasing to see how well they have coped. Less good news for the Epiphyllum hybrids. Not a catastrophe, but a bit of a thinning.
This Cymbidium has produced two flower spikes and the warmth of March has brought them into flower. I have had a small measure of success with the cold tolerant species (the warmth lovers are beyond me) and it has tempted me into the hybrids. Last winter I added a few miniature hybrids because there are some delightful delicate flowers among them, but this afternoon I have come back from the local Orchid show with some full size standard hybrids. The marbles are now, officially, lost. I grew a fair number 20 years ago that never flowered. Time will tell if my skills have improved.
All of which waffle keeps me from having to accept that this isn't C.hookerianum, which has lime green sepals and a distinctive scent. I spent some time keying it out last year, without any great confidence, but this year I am inclined to call it C.wilsonii. Originating in Yunnan at altitudes around 2,300m, it may originally derive from hybrids between C.hookerianum and C.iriodoides but is now a true breeding species.
Or I may be entirely wrong.

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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