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

18th September 2011

Colchicum 'Waterlily'
The week has not delivered as much rain as it threatened. Between showers (and between more important things) I have been digging out a tree stump. Why are they always in exactly the wrong place? Half an hour at a time is quite enough and fortunately there hasn't been enough rain to turn the pit into a wallow. I have some more digging down the hole scheduled for next week, so there is still time to follow in the footsteps of Dr.Foster (who went to Gloucester in a shower of rain).
Autumn came very suddenly last week but I think we might see another sudden change tonight. If the wind keeps up there won't be any leaves on the trees in the morning. Fallen Sycamore leaves are already making the paths crunchy and a breezy night would put an end to thoughts of autumn colour.
I had misplaced this Colchicum. I knew I had planted it somewhere but I had forgotten quite where.I thought there were three of them, but I can only find one. Eventually it has turned up in the hellebore border, which is just the sort of place I would have planted it. I have been trying to find things that will add interest to the border once the Hellebores have finished without disturbing the management of the border. In theoery, once the Colchicum flowers are over there will be a couple of months to clear all the weeds and top growth from the border before the hellebores start to grow. That part of the theory remains to be tested! I would have planted some more this year, but haven't seen any in the shops. Perhaps retailers have got health and safety conscious - the bulbs are astonishingly toxic (if you bought them from a Chemist you would have to sign a register).
Visually, they are quite pink enough to make an impact even among the old herbage of summer. Last year I underplanted the whole border with double snowdrops. It is an area of big plans and crossed fingers.

18th September 2011

Hedychium 'Tai Sunlight'
Everybody keeps telling me the Hedychium are looking well. A reasonable number of flowers nestle among the leaves and it is fun to walk among the plants taking photographs. Therein lies the problem. Many of the plants are flowering at three or four feet tall and there are almost no canes that have grown enough to push at the roof of the greenhouse. It saves the effort of getting the stepladder to take pictures, but the lack of exuberance is keenly felt. I miss the sense that the gingers are bursting through the walls of the greenhouse and it is all looking rather tame. I have a big plan to plant a lot of the deciduous ones among the azaleas, but before I get to that, I have to (re)plant the azaleas currently scattered around the garden to make a long border.
'Tai Sunlight' is one of Doyle Smittle's hybrids raised at the University of Georgia and named in the 1990's. In crude terms, the yellow ones work well in my climate and the pink ones don't. In previous years 'Tai Alpha' and 'Tai Mammoth' have been outstanding, but neither is going to flower this year. They were all hit quite badly by the cold winter and lukewarm summer (Georgia may get colder, but it also gets a lot hotter).

18th September 2011

Nerine 'Harlequin'
It has been a blustery sort of week. The garden looks as though it is falling apart, although it is surprising how much is still developing and flowering. I thought that I was going to be short of things to show this week, but I had been overwhelmed by seasonal pessimism. There is more looking good than I have space to show.
Which brings me to the Nerine. I didn't include any last week because I will have them for a couple of months, and there are other things that will go over long before that. I wasn't going to include any this week on the same principle, but the Nerine season has caught fire and it is a pity not to enjoy it.
'Harlequin' is a fairly gentle colour, paler in the centre of the flower with a dark stripe down the centre of the tepals. Last year it was one of the longest flowering cultivars of Nerine sarniensis. Naturally, I had used it is a parent in a wide range of hybrids, and then frost at the start of december destroyed all of the developing seed heads. Not a single seed was sown last year as a result. I am hoping that this year will be a little kinder, and I have bought myself a new pair of forceps to work with, though they are still on my desk, and haven't made it to the greenhouse yet.
It seems to have increased well since last year and they all seem to have survived the cold rather better than I was expecting. They are occupying more and more space in the greenhouse every year and sooner or later I am going to have to make some uncomfortabe decisions (or find somewhere to build a new greenhouse).

18th September 2011

Urtica dioica 'Brightstone Bitch' and Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata'.
The efficient and practical part of me is saying that I should include something wonderful and flowering here. Cyrtanthus sanguineus and Gladiolus crassifolius have both made way for some nettle leaves and a bit of mint, but this planting has been a great pleasure through the season and I keep passing it over in favour of something gaudy and transient. Time to show some leaves.
The planting came about as one of those happy accidents that gardens sometimes manage. I had to dig up the stinging nettle. It tends to revert, and I had to remove the green shoots in the spring to get the plant back into shape. At the same time I ran across the mint in a supermarket, discounted to clear (24p). I was wondering what to do with two potentailly troublesome vigorous weeds when the idea of planting them together came to me. Far too funny an opportinity to miss. The wonderful soft scented and touchable leaves of the mint growing among the variegated stinging nettle. It's an unkind planting, but it made me laugh. Surely nobody would be stupid enough to mix the two things up? They aren't particularly similar but perhaps a passing hand might trail carelessly through them. It's not kind, but I would laugh so much.
It hasn't happened yet, but I have to admit to a small part of me that is waiting with almost unbearable anticipation!

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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