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

5th June 2011

Rhododendron 'Goldflimmer'
June already and distant muttering about drought can be heard. We could do with some little fat thunder clouds but I don't think it has been hot enough yet.
Spring has dessicated into extinction. The Azaleas tried to make a show of it, and made a brave attempt considering I dug most of them up and moved them over winter, but the double pink petals on 'Rosebud' wilted as soon as the flowers opened. It is always quite ugly, but this year it has surpassed itself.
Rhododendrons are not really my thing. For every one I like there are a hundred I don't, so there aren't many in the garden. From time to time I convince myself that I should grow a few more to add evergreen diversity, but the thought does not always presage the act. In 2002 I had a "career high" in Rhododendron planting and put in three in the same weekend. I have still not worked out if it was a temporary change in taste or whether (at 1.95 each) economic factors came into play. Whatever (actually, that sentence doesn't need any more).
'Goldflimmer' was one of the mighty three. I thought the splash of colour on the leaf was a good idea. Thoughts aren't very permanent are they. It remains where I planted it, though it will have to be found a new home this winter. Somewhere with more space. Somewhere that I don't need for other things. Somewhere a bit further away from the house.
'Katherine van Tol' was moved last year, and the third was run over by a tractor on the day of the great Eucryphia massacre. Gardens are rarely peaceful places.

5th June 2011

Aesculus indica
Some plants arrive in the garden in a strangely prescient way, anticipating enthusiasms to come. In 1986 I had bought some seedling Aesculus indica for a job I was working on at the time, with no intention of keeping them, but a couple of years later I still had two of them lying around the place in pots, so I put them in the garden. Apart from occasionally appreciating the peachy colour of the new foliage I didn't pay them much heed.
In the last few years I have found myself photographing Aesculus as I see them in other people's gardens and getting a quiet satisfaction from them. Recently I have realised that I am seeking them out when I visit gardens and it has finally dawned on me that I have become quite interested.
All of which brings us back to the strangely prescient Aesculus indica, which have flowered for the first time this year. Not only did they get themselves planted in good time for my enthusiasm to catch up with them, but they have delayed their first flowering until I am prepared to appreciate it fully. They have unexpected skills of prediction.
Now, about those lottery numbers...

5th June 2011

Fuchsia 'Diana Wright'
We have had a few winters in a row that the Fuchsias have found challenging. A great many have died but those that remain have proven their value. I have grown a number of cultivars bred by John Wright, and I think of them all with great affection. Some are much hardier than others however, so some are greeted fondly in the garden and others are remembered fondly and won't be replaced. 'Lechlade Chinamnan' springs to mind in the latter category. John was fond of crossing strange species with Fuchsia magellanica to get hardier forms, and his favourite parent was the white (pale lilac) Fuchsia magellanica 'Molinae'. As a consequence he named quite a few of these pale forms, all looking much like 'Molinae' and usually carrying a hidden collection of unexpected genes.
'Diana Wright' is the most compact of them, and probably the hardiest (of a pretty tough group). It has sat around in the garden for decades and never been less that delightful. 'Whiteknight Blush' and 'Whiteknights Pearl' also persist, though I am ashamed to say I have forgotten which is which. When asked (which is a rare event in itself) I make a wild quess, confident in the thought that I will not be challenged (and happy to be corrected if I ever meet anybody who can tell the difference). 'Molinae' itself has faded away. The presence of a very large Leyland Cypress in the immediate vicinity played a significant part in its passing.
They are all in full flower now, and will continue until the first serious frosts.

5th June 2011

Roscoea wardii
A busy weekend means that I went out on friday evening to take photographs for this week. The Roscoea were being their usual charming selves but nothing that made me jump up and down with joy. Rushing backwards and forwards on saturday I noticed the first flower open on Roscoea wardii and it is so wonderful that I took a few minutes to get a camera.
The opening flowers have an intensity of dark colour that is breathtaking. Over the next 24 hours or so they fade to dark purple. At least this form does, which is the commonest form in cultivation. Recently, others have become available that are less wheezingly black, though still good plants. I have never had seed from it, but I will try again this year, and if I get the opportunity I will try to cross it with the black form of R.scillifolia.

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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