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

8th May 2011

Arisaema kiushianum
Spring here turns gently into summer as a soft breath of wind gently rips the leaves from the Acers and scatters Eucalyptus branches on the ground. In theory I should probably stop planting things out, but there is plenty more needs planting, and I can always take a hose up into the garden. Perhaps there will be rain, but we keep being promised a soaking and I'm still dry.
Down in the greenhouse the summer aroids are stirring. Quite a lot of Arisaema still to show, but they are often late and there's no point digging for them. They have either survived or not.
This one seems to be one of the more reliable species, although I don't think it would survive outdoors (I may be wrong, it is dividing so I may have a spare one to try). It suffered for a number of years in a pot that was far too small. It is quite tiny, but a four inch pot was pushing my luck. I was so fond of it that I suddenly got frightened of changing anything. Last year the compost it was growing in had broken down so much that it was just a tuber in some scum at the bottom of the pot. I repotted it and it is clearly happier.
It comes from south-western Japan so it may not be entirely hardy, however this one has been repeatedly frozen solid in the pot and it is still with me, so I'm not too concerned. It is becoming rare in the wild but is well established in cultivation, and if I could get it to produce seed I would grow a lot more of it. I probably need a second clone.

8th May 2011

Pieris japonica 'Katsura'
I have a few Pieris and they have been good this year. I planted them all along the path to the greenhouse, and they have become too large for the space. The P.japonica forms are compact enough to move but the large plants of P.formosa are beyond me. I have tried and failed twice now so I might have to learn to live with them where they are. I might try cutting one down to a stump moving it like that. I'm sure it would regrow, it's just a matter of getting the root out.
Whatever the outcome, I have also bought a couple of new ones in case I accidentally kill the others in the process. 'Valley Valentine' was a well considered addition - I don't have a red flowered cultivar, and it is one of the best, so I have found a space for it. 'Katsura, on the other hand, did not require consideration. The new growth is later than other P.japonica forms, and an astonishing bright shiny red. For a month it will be brighter red than the flowers of 'Valley Valentine' and a much more beautiful plant.
It was discovered in 1986 as a branch sport on a cultivated plant in Kasakai near Hirata, Japan (though there are other more 'colourful' stories in circulation) and it is starting to make a big commercial mark.

8th May 2011

Roscoea cautleyoides Mauve
The last few weeks have started the gingers into growth, and I don't think that winter has done too much damage. The first of the Roscoea have rushed out of the ground in the last 10 days and burst into flower. Fortunately these have all had the decency to produce a bit of stem first - sometimes R.cautleyoides flowers before it really gets above ground level and looks profoundly foolish.
When I got this, it was called "mauve form" but Jill Cowley's recent monograph would name it R. cautleyoides var. cautleyoides f. sinopurpurea.
Yellow and mauve forms occur in mixed populations in the wild and there are numerous slight (and named) variations in cultivation, probably more names than distinctions, but they are all appealing.
Mine all grow in pots in the greenhouse, but they are going out this year if I have to plant them in august and water them with a teaspoon!

8th May 2011

Sprekelia formosissima
The greenhouse has been heating up to tropical temperatures for a month or so now, and those things that suffered in a difficult winter are either alive or dead, which clarifies things. The survivors have been slowly gathering themselves into growth and some of the bulbs that spent the winter cowering under the benches have come out again. The Hippeastrum have been surprisingly tough, but only a few are producing flower buds.
Sprekelia has always been a troublesome plant for me I have lost it a couple of times, I think by keeping it too wet in winter. Bulbs have also been slow to produce roots from dry bulbs - a common problem with the Amaryllidaceae which often have roots that last two or three years naturally. My established plant looked so poorly last autumn that I asumed it had died, and bought a new bulb a few months ago. It has immediately thrown up a flower spike which I should remove, but haven't. Fortunately my established plant has also started to regrow and I'm hoping it now has enough long term roots to survive. The new one will be a struggle for a couple of years, but at least I have some idea what the problems are.

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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