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

10th July 2011

Crocosmia Minotaur
Enough hot weather this week to think of summer holidays and Ice Creams, but enough rain to keep things wet. I finally decided my winter pansies had given of their best, and replaced them (in a pot by the front door) with a black Petunia that will alternately horrify and astonish me. Visitors are often greeted with the same range of responses, it remains to be seen if I can keep a straight face.
I have been away for a few days visiting gardens in the frozen north (where it was tiresomely warm), and sittling in ludicrous lace lined tea shops while recovering from the horticultural wonders there. I came back expecting to find the herbaceous border hidden under a canopy of stinging nettles but it is looking surprisingly dapper. Parts of it even look like a herbaceous border (if you allow a little tolerance for Willow Herb).
Pushing up through the confusion of foliage, the first of the Crocosmia has flowered. The whole collection is now planted out and I was a little worried in the spring that the winter had killed them. I may still find a certain amount of carnage when I clear the overgrowth, but it is heartening to have at least one managing to make a show.
Raised by Gary Dunlop in 1994, it is a seedling from C.masoniorum which hasn't travelled far from the parent, though it has a better shaped spike of flowers.

10th July 2011

Hemerocallis 'Stafford'
The Hemerocallis have got their toes in firmly and are providing enough colour to carry the border. The rest of the collection have still to be planted out and when it is finished the border will probably be rather boring. I'm looking for lots of things with interesting leaves and other colours to plant between them and soften the blow. Years ago I saw a border dedicated to Hemerocallis, and it was a bit much, even for me.
The first wave of plants I put in were the spare ones around the garden that had lost their labels. It was something of a trial, and before I make the border more complicated I am trying to re-connect them to their names. 'Stafford' is easy to identify and an old friend. It isn't the best colour red, it isn't the best shape, and it certainly isn't the newest, but it manages to hold its own in the border. I have another paler red which I hope is 'Buzz Bomb' (because I have misplaced my stock plant) but need to spend some time checking old photographs. Not a job for a sunny summer afternoon when there is weeding to do.

10th July 2011

Hosta 'Birchwood Parky's Gold'
Another old friend, this was one of the very early yellow leaved Hosta to be named and has played a significant part in the early breeding of yellows. Fortunately (sigh of relief) there are fewer yellow leaved cultivars being introduced. The situation was getting so far out of hand that new names were just meaningless. For a long time I had a pair of these in tubs of mud that seemed to survive, but they were getting smaller and smaller as they starved. As the leaves got smaller, I got more worried about planting them out. It was a pointless circle of failure.
Last year I got reckless (and short of space) so out they went, and they have improved enormously. For the second time this year my footnote to self reads 'Stop being so timid.'

10th July 2011

Watsonia hybrid
The Watsonia are another group that suffered from my timidity in the early years. I once laboured under the illusion that they were rather tender South African bulbs that needed to be kept in pots and dried off a bit in winter. It's pure hogwash. Actually, I think lack of purity is implicit in the idea of hogwash, but you get the idea. Now I keep them as wet as I can get them through the summer, and then as wet as I can get them through the winter. It's a mistake to allow them to dry, they slow up in winter, but they don't really have a dormant season and they don't thank you for forcing one upon them.
A few years ago I went mad with a paintbrush and produced a mass of deliberate hybrids. They have been starved in pots for too long, but they will probably all go out this year to soften the effect of the Hemerocallis. A few are out already and coming into flower. This is Watsonia (pillansii Pink x 'Stanford Scarlet') and I was expecting it to be red. It may be that the W.pillansii self pollinated while my back was turned. (Though it isn't actually W.pillansii, but a confused hybrid. However the label will stand for the moment).

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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