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

24th April 2011

Rhododendron 'Loderi King George' .
Another magnificent spring week. A tiny drop of rain on Friday barely reached the ground before evaporating. It has been surprisingly refreshing in the garden, and the extra moisture finally helped this Rhododendron to open.
The large pink buds have been getting impossibly big through the last week, and every morning I have expected to see flowers but have had to wait. This is an important plant for me. For many years I have been luke warm (at best) in my response to Rhododendron. I used to garden on a heavy clay soil, and they were difficilt to establish, performed bady and always looked chlorotic. I retained the low opinion long after I had left the clay behind. Many years ago I was walking through the Rhododendron collection at Wisley smiling and trying to look interested when I was stopped short by a wave of astonishing scent. After a long time looking for the source among the tiny, fashionable and nondescript shrubs in the undergrowth, I was forced to accept that it came from the very obvious, gigantic Rhododendron I was standing under (lamentably, it is no more). I think it smells of cucumber, my sister thinks it smells of mango, and though we are both wrong we are both partially right.
In 2003 I finally had the space and opportunity to plant it, and there are four of them in the garden now. This is the oldest, and this is the first time it has flowered. Well worth the wait.
This is one of the first 'Loderi' cultivars to be named. There are dozens of them now and all of them are good. This one, however, is sensational.

24th April 2011

Anemone pavonina .
Little things fill me with foolish joy. I have been quiety giddy all day since this bud opened this morning.
It is a mediterranean species found in the south of France, round the coast to Turkey. Fairly easy from seed, variable in colour and reasonably easy to grow, it is surprisingly uncommon in cultivation. It closely resembles A.coronaria, at least in flower, and I think that is why it is overlooked. A.coronaria is easy and cheap from dried tubers and they will flower reliably in their first year. A.pavonina is less tolerant of dessication and more expensive. It is also easier in the garden - it likes to be dry in summer, but is otherwise quite tolerant.
Last year I planted three under a small tree where they got plenty of sun, but were dried off by the tree roots. Days after I planted them, they were eaten to the ground by rabbits. I was sure that Anemones were too poisonous for rabbits to eat. I was wrong.
I assumed that I would never see them again and (delight piled upon delight) I was wrong.

24th April 2011

Luzuriaga polyphylla
The delights of the week continued in the conservatory. A long time ago I was given a tiny cutting of Luzuriaga radicans by Terry Jones, who though I might like it. I had never heard of it, and was amazed to find it was a member of the Philesiaceae (Lapageria - fabled and difficult: Philesia - almost unobtainable). It rambled for years under one of the benches and I never had a single flower. Somehow I lost it. Possibly flattening the greenhouse with a JCB set it back a bit. Whatever the reason, I replaced it recently from Crug Farm Plants, and bought this species as well because I didn't know it. Now I have flowers and they have made me shockingly happy.
Luzuriaga has now been moved to a family of its own, the Luzuriagaceae, but on wednesday it had sex with a Lapageria and time will tell. Hybrids are unlikely but it seemed worth a try.

24th April 2011

Aquilegia 'Spring Magic' .
I enjoy Aquilegia enormously but they can be quite short lived and they are unpredictable from seed. When I bought this one I was expecting to enjoy it for a few weeks as filler and never see it again. I had underestimated its durability. It is larger and stronger this year, and I see no sign of seedlings yet (but I will collect the seed and sow it this year, because I think it is a good one).
Quite by accident I planted it next to Geranium phaeum 'Springtime'. The purple flowers and fresh yellow foliage make a spectacular colour combination. I wasn't really expecting them to flower together. I wasn't expecting the Aquilegia to survive. So when I accidentally acquired some 'Queen of Night' tulips (they came free with some Alliums I wanted) they just got planted in the first space I came to as I walked round. And now I have a little combination that is so perfect it makes me feel that I am overly self involved. It is the sort of perfect detail that you would do to show off to a client, but far too prissy to waste on myself. It is so lovely it makes me feel uncomfortable. In a few weeks there will be a big orange daylily as well, but it won't come in time to save me.

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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