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

22nd May 2011

Dahlia merckii
Rather a frantic week because I have been away for a couple of days and things don't stand still and wait for me to catch up. A drop of rain would have been nice but it didn't arrive until last night. It didn't seem like a lot, but it filled up the water tanks so I can relax for a few days.
While I have been away the garden has been rushing into growth. A couple of weeks ago I was pleased to see the first shoots on this Dahlia and now it has produced the first flowers. I raised these from seed a few years ago and they are deeper in colour than others I have seen, but there are a number of slightly different strains about and this isn't distinct enough to be special, but still quite nice.

22nd May 2011

Roscoea 'Harvington Royale'
The Roscoea are now emerging after a long winter. The earliest if the R.cautleyoides have gone past the first flush of beauty (if that's what you call it when the heads are filled with dead flowers).
Roscoea humeana has followed it in the same lilac or yellow colours, but with much larger flowers. Most of my plants flower on short stems as soon as they break the surface, but Hugh Nunn at Harvington Nursery has bred some selections that flower from the top of tall leafy stems. This one has rich purple flowers and is a good new addition to the forms available for gardens.
Last year I started planting Roscoea outside, and discovered that rabbits are very fond of eating them so I took a break over winter. I have now fenced off a section of the shade border, and started planting out again. Hopefully they will prosper in new homes.

22nd May 2011

Pleione x barbarae
The Pleione season has finished, I have cleaned the old flowers from the plants, and the new leaves are well developed, but this single plant has just produced a flower. It is a natural hybrid between P.bulbocodioides and P.grandiflora. The hybrid is said to be very variable. I don't know if this is a late flowering clone or just a freakish late flower - perhaps it will flower at a more conventional season next year.
The Pleione have been doing better here since I started treating them like hardy Dendrobium. Kept dry through the winter and not watered until the flower buds are showing, they are then fed and watered generously until the leaves start to yellow in the autumn, when they are dried off again. Since I changed the management I have had bigger pseudobulbs and more flowers than ever before. It's a simple change, but it took me 30 years to make it, which I find quite shocking. I have adapted to name changes faster than that!

22nd May 2011

Calystegia sepium
And finally something common and weedy. Last year I was wondering why there weren't more selections of bindweed grown in gardens. Granted, it is a pestlential weed but it flowers freely through the summer and it is easy to grow.
I have to admit that my interest was spurred on by my failure to flower some annual Morning Glory from seed ( I sowed them too late). As a consequence I started looking around for the largest flowered forms of Calystegia I could find and for pink and bicolour forms to trial in pots.
Outside the bindweed is just starting to strangle things in the herbaceous border but in the greenhouse these buds have just opened. It has made a good clump of rhizomes and the stems have run up a cane to make a tidy pot.
This one has large flowers with pale pink ribs - possibly it would be a darker colour outside but it is really quite impressive. I am hoping that I can raise some variation from seed and maybe find something that isn't quite such a pestilential weed. I doubt I will ever convince anybody else that they are worth growing but perhaps I will stumble across something special.

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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