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

4th September 2011

Allium sphaerocephalon
An overcast autumnal week, the weather forecast keeps promising that summer will have a last scorch, but it hasn't appeared. A friend was moaning about the heat on Friday, but he was chopping wood which is a moaning job whatever the weather.
This is one of the last onions to flower and the maroon drumstick heads are currently very fashionable in herbaceous borders as filler. The species is widespread in southern Europe and north Africa and has a toehold in the UK. In the 'dead' season between the cheer of Christmas and that moment in January when you're finally able to move on, I visited my local garden centre and bought a great bundle of cheap onion bulbs. Most of them were Allium sphaerocephalum being sold off because it was far too late to plant them. I dithered for another week or so, and then planted them all out among the Hellebores. The idea was to add a season of interest once the Hellebores had finished without getting in the way. It hasn't quite worked out as planned. If I had managed to weed the Hellebore beds, then these would have been in the way. As it is, they have flowered to emphasise the untidiness of the border. If I'm honest, I don't think it has really worked.

4th September 2011

Colchicum 'Lilac Wonder'
I wish Colchicum were as cheap as onions, I would be much happier with a few hundred of these in the border. I have never had many, but a couple of years ago I planted them all out in the garden, and they have slowly been moved into the Hellebore beds. Again, the idea was to have the beds weeded and cleared through the summer, and then enjoy these autumn crocus as they flowered. It all depends on getting the beds weeded in summer, and it didn't happen. Last year I got fed up in autumn, and mowed the whole lot to the ground in october. It might happen again this year (perhaps there will be a gap after the Colchicum flowers finish and before anything else starts to grow).
I think this is 'Lilac Wonder' but identities have become a bit confused while they have been in the ground. Somewhere, I have a small group of 'Waterlily' (the only one I have ever bought in quantity - I had three of them), but I won't know where they are until they flower. I have a fairy ring of toadstools in the top of the woodland, and I remember planting them in the middle, but you know fairies, they could be anywhere by now.

4th September 2011

Scilla lingulata
As a consequence of other distractions (high on the list is trying to get the house windows repaired and painted before the winter) I have been paying little attention to the bulbs in the greenhouse. I had noticed that the Ipheion were producing leaves but everything else is still dormant. Time to add some water, the earliest Narcissus will start to move shortly.
This Scilla was a surprise as I was tidying up down there. It seems to have tripled in size since last year so it clearly doesn't mind being ignored through the summer. From Morocco and Tunisia it grows on hillsides at low altitudes and is said to vary from deep blue to white, this middle colour is all I have seen in cultivation. I have just read in the Bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society that it smells strongly of bluebells. I don't remember any smell when I took the picture this morning so it seemed worth a walk to the greenhouse in the rain. In the process I encountered the largest black slug I have seen this year and realised that my pygmy water lily isn't going to flower, but I can confiorm that it smells strongly of bluebells. Saying that a Scilla smells of bluebells is possibly not the most taxonomically adventurous comparison but I can't improve on it.

4th September 2011

Vallea stipularis
I didn't know this until I saw it at an NCCPG plant sale where a helpful lady was able to tell me that it had pink flowers in spring and was rare. I have had it in the greenhouse because there have been some doubts about its hardiness but it seems to have come through a bad winter without damage. I had hoped for some flowers this spring but I was excited enough to see these that I got a camera straight away.
It must go out in the garden as soon as I get the chance. It would be out there already if I could think of somewhere to put it. It produces long thin growths and would be best with something else to clamber up.
It comes from middle altitudes in the Andes and is a cousin to Crinodendron. Perhaps a Crinodendron would be the best thing to grow it up against, certainly it would make an interesting combination.

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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