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

10th April 2011

Erythronium 'Pagoda' .
It has been a short dry week in the garden. Things move at an astonishing rate through the spring and we have had temperatures more suited to mid-summer to help things along. No doubt at all that the snowdrop season has finished, though there are some summer Snowflakes acting as a vague memory of them.
The challenge in the woods is to find things to extend the season while the snowdrop leaves mature and build bulbs for next year. I have been very pleased with these Erythronium which I put in a couple of years ago. I only have a handful, and I wish I had planted a hundred, but it was a trial and it has been a success. I spaced them quite widely and as a result they have formed large clumps. I have seen them planted much closer and making a complete carpet, but I think the leaves would shade out everything else. I look forward to the day when I have to remove Erythronium to give space for the snowdrops.

10th April 2011

Arisarum proboscideum .
This is a stunning little aroid, and everything that could possibly be said about it's astonishing flowers has already been said and repeated to the point of terminal boredom. Unfortunately the vague sense of overfamiliarity that belongs to the description of the plant rubs off on the plant itself. I sometimes catch myself thinking "oh, that old thing", like one of my over-inhabited T-shirts or a repeat of a film that wasn't up to much when it was new.
All of which (I am about to assure you) is unfortunate. This is a lovely little thing. Wherever I have planted it, it continues to grow including the little patch of ground in front of the house that is nowadays mown as a lawn but continues to provide a secure home for this charmer and an occasional spring bulb.
I have lots of it, but there are plenty of little corners where it could still flourish without causing any consternation, and if it displaced a bluebell or two in the process, I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

10th April 2011

Tulbaghia acutiloba
Down in the greenhouse, temperatures are soaring and watering has become a frequent necessity. As the season progresses it is becoming clearer that many of the bulbs were untroubled by another cold winter. During the season of hearty stews I find myself buying onions if I happen to see them, but I don't think I have ever put them on a list, and the same is true of Tulbaghia. In browsing around for other things I occasionally pick them up. They have come through the winter strongly and are bursting into flower, and they will continue well into autumn so they deliver a lot of interest for the small space they occupy.
I bought the seed of this one from Silverhills Seed and the first year they flowered there seemed to be some variation in the depth of the brown colour in the corona. I also thought I had one with brown tepals - it would be nice to think it will appear again this year, but so far they all seem to fit this pattern. As I have said before, the Tulbaghia are a bunch of delightful sluts, and I collected seed from this one last year to see if it hybridised with any of the others. Then I got distracted by something else (maybe a talking worm, or something shiny) and I haven't seen the seed since.

10th April 2011

Cymbidium tortisepalum longibracteatum .
A tiny flowered species, I had overlooked the flower spike coming up until the bud actually opened so it was a surprise. It is a Chinese species and I have had a little entertainement trying to confirm its identity this afternoon, without coming to any clear conclusions. However, when I ask if I have and strong reason to disregard the name it arrived with, I find that I haven't. The lip could be a bit more reflexed perhaps. The colour is a little on the pink side, but really it might as well be C.tortisepalum longibracteatum as anything else. There is a charming phrase in the Flora of China (which I was blindly choosing to disregard) "In China, many species of Cymbidium have been cultivated as ornamentals for many centuries, and a number of cultivated species that have been selected from wild populations now exhibit extreme variation". I am taking that as a warning that in the real world plants may not entirely match their published desription.
There are some really beautiful small Cymbidium coming into cultivation in the UK and some of them are more cold tolerant than anything we have grown previously so there is scope for some fascinating hybrids. (I don't think I have the skills to raise them, but somebody somewhere will be doing it).

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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