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

17th July 2011

Acis autumnalis
For about one second in the week I started wondering if enough rain had fallen to allow us to coast through to the autumn rains without worries. Then it started raining again. I think I can put aside worries of drought for another year and start hoping for enough sun to ripen things off properly.
The first champions of autumn have appeared in the garden. The first Cyclamen flowers are just opening, and in the greenhouse this little Acis has started. It might survive outside, but it would never be happy so it stays in a pot. The Snowflakes are closely related to the Snowdrops but they don't attract the same obsessive following. Unfortunately I don't entirely escape the obsessive compulsion to look for tiny details. I bought a couple of bulbs of this seed strain last year because it has brown flower scapes (unlike the greenish scapes with brown tinges of my other stock).
I probably don't need both forms, but I'm not about to part with either of them, and I am slightly relieved to find myself in an insanity of one.
In a few weeks the Nerine will start to flower and I'll be back in a crowd.

17th July 2011

Aristolochia 'Kewensis'
Somehow I seem to be accumulating climbers in pots. Somewhere along the way my usual determined restraint has failed. Not that I have anything against climbers, but they are a nuisance in pots. They get tangled together and wrapped around everything until the only solution is to cut them all hard back and start again.
This might be the plant that started the descent into tangled potted madness. I started paying attention to Aristolochia as a sort of conceptual overspill from the Asarum, meaning to grow a couple of the herbaceous species for interest, and leave it at that. Then I saw this looking magnificent in a nursery, and the damage was done.
I have been surprised by its hardiness. This one comes in to be protected from frost every year, but I have had some rooted cuttings in a cold greenhouse for a couple of years now and they aren't dead. True, they aren't happy, but they are perking up again and there is the distant chance of some autumn flowers. The parent seems to flower in flushes without paying much heed to season and there always seems to be something interesting going on. If I lived in Penzance (I was there yesterday, peering covetously into front gardens) I would try it outside.

17th July 2011

Hemerocallis 'Serene Madonna'
Daylilies have stuck with me through the years, like the recognition of a young friends smile in his now old face. Usually, I get bored with a group of plants after a decade or so and after a few years of neglect they fade away. Then I come back to them with new zeal and start again. Hemerocallis just don't fade away in the intervening years. A few of the labels get misplaced, but the plants hang on. In my enthusiastic phase, they are like the recognition of a young smile in an old face. In my bored phase they persist like the smell in a wet carpet, but they persist.
'Serene Madonna' is one of the early "white" flowered hybrids. They are all yellow in reality, but in the beds this morning it looked white among the yellows and oranges and in a garden situation, that is really all you need. In a pure white garden it would never do and would look like the colours had run in a white wash, but I don't have the discipline for a white garden (or even the garden for one) so it will do.
In recent years American breeders have concentrated on making their new plants as fat and frilly as possible, so it will probably be a while before we see a better simple white.

17th July 2011

Hedychium 'Stephen'
The Hedychium started to flower in the week and hopefully there will be a long mild autumn for them to enjoy. Frost in December last year set them back a long way, and the evergreen forms are still about a month behind this year. The deciduous ones were not so badly affected. They had all finished by the time they froze so they slept through the worst of it and bounced back in spring as though nothing had happened. Even plants outside in pots seem to have survived, though I should really get them in the ground this year.
'Stephen' is one of my favourites. It doesn't flower for long, but it has a couple of weeks of interest, and then it will produce the odd flower spike until November. The leaves are always good, and the seed heads will be striking so there is plenty of interest.
No sign of flower buds on the evergreen forms yet and the intention is to get more of them planted out this year, but as ever there are more things to do than time available, so it won't all get done.

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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