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

12th June 2011

Arisaema costatum
I suppose something has been happening this week, but I have hardly noticed. Watering in the greenhouse has been occupying my attention (though I am slowly but determinedly planting things out). Since tuesday I have been lolling about dreamily, hanging on the words of the weatherman. It could be love (of that rather sinister distant obsession type that slides little notes under doors) or it could be the promise of rain.
It started with vague warnings about the weekend, but finally solidified on Friday (I think I mean liquified) into torrential rain on Sunday. Joy unbounded. We haven't had any serious rain here since march (not counting a day of downward mist a few weeks ago that left a few millimeters of water in buckets without really 'falling'.) My conversation last night revolved around the faint traces of cloud forming in the western sky. I was probably quite dull company.
This Arisaema has taken advantage of the sun. It flowered well last year and has produced a number of small growing points this year, so I assumed it was going to skip flowering, but it has surprised me. The flowers are interesting, but the leaves are magnificent. A great lush trifid Triffid with a blood red margin. Arisaema foliage is often rather fragile and sparingly produced so the bold leafy ones are special.

12th June 2011

Begonia boliviensis
With the darkness came the rain. It was raining as I walked home last night, and I did a little dance. More pagan nutcase than Fred Astaire but hopefully the passers-by judged me happy rather than deranged. It has rained all night and all morning, and looks set to continue all afternoon. Things are looking up.
With midsummer just around the corner it seems a bit late to go on about winter, but it is still hanging over some of the Begonia. I have a number of tubers of B.boliviensis around the place. Some are now flowering, some are firm but have not yet sprouted, and some turned to mush. I think the significant factor was moisture. Those that were slightly moist through winter turned to mush as soon as they thawed. Those that were dry and ignored until they started to shoot have been fine, and those that I moistened slightly in March to speed their shooting have simply sat there doing nothing, but doing it firmly.
The frilly Tuberhybrida Group Begonia all look dead - I will poke about in the compost soon but I think they have all gone to Begonia heaven. Hybrids between the two are showing a few survivors but they are late and slow.

12th June 2011

Podophyllum versipelle 'Spotty Dotty'
The rain will make a big difference in the garden. I spent all day yesterday planting things out and was relying on the rain to settle them in. Less watering for me in the greenhouse!
I nearly got as far as the Podophyllum but ran out of time. They will have to go out soon because they are greedy plants that resent small pots. I might try large pots for a couple, but they would be better outside. I haven't solved the rabbt problem, but I have reduced it to an inconspicuous level.
'Spotty Dotty' is a magnificent elegant plant at its best. It doesn't always prosper in gardens, but where it has established in (moist) shade it is quite sensational. Scarlet flowers hang under the leaves in spring, just as the foliage hits a peak. Mine has been rather dry this year, and is a month or so behind other people as a result. Perhaps by next week they will all be safely in the ground.

12th June 2011

Sinningia leucotricha
At the side of the garden I have what I rather grandly refer to as my 'Tropical House'. To be fair, I am laughing at myself as I say it. It is a plastic greenhouse with reduced ventilation, so that through the day the temperature rises far enough to give a reliably good summer to those plants that need it. Through the winter things mostly have to take their chances, but a few plants come indoors, and this Sinningia is one of them.
When I first got to know it, it was called Rechsteineria and I still feel cheated that it has been lumped with the Sinningia as though it were some common Gloxinia.
There are a small number of plants that seem to specialise in growing well on windowsills. They have little in common (often succulent, tolerant of dry air) and they get overlooked because windowsills are no habitat for the 'serious' gardener. It is a pity, some marvellous things get overlooked in the pursuit of credibility. On the windowsill with Rechsteineria I would group Lachenalia, Stenoglottis, Senecio articulatus and the magnificent modern Phalaenopsis hybrids. I would have a precious little garden to taunt the ignorant. I am going to be a seriously cantankerous old person.
This silky Sinningia produces new growths in the spring that persist until the following year, so it always has this beautiful foliage. It grows from a knobbly tuber that sits at ground level and needs to be dry through the winter. It is out in the greenhouse to enjoy toasting in the sun, which is bizarre behaviour for a gesneriad.

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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