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

25th September 2011

Helleborus x hybridus 'Double Queen'
After last weekend autumn seems to have taken a back seat for a while. Temperatures have gone up a bit and the sun has come out occasionally. Looking around a garden on Friday I wished I had worn shorts (but only for a moment). Weather forecasters are starting to talk about an Indian Summer, and that the warm spell will last until the end of October. I'm still not sure what method of divination they are using, but I think it might involve the entrails of a sheep. I don't have a lot of confidence in it. One swallow does not make a summer, and I think all the swallows have left now anyway. I saw one about three weeks ago, but it looked rather lonely.
And one Hellebore doesn't make a spring (although I have had three or four of them now). I'm not ready for spring yet anyway. I was enjoying Dahlia in the aforementioned garden (without my shorts) and wondering why I didn't grow more of them. They keep dying in the cold winters is one reason, I suppose. I also had a moment of rhubarb-envy this afternoon. My own has been pathetic this year, but hopefully it is now established enough to grow next year. Too much to grow for one small garden.
The Hellebore borders still need to have some work done on them before the winter. It the weather holds, then tidying away the weeds will be a pleasant job one day. If it gets cold and wet then I will ride the mower over the whole lot again and pretend that it always looks that tidy.

25th September 2011

Impatiens scabrida
Down in the greenhouse I have a handful of annual Impatiens species now. I'm not sure why I have them, they are useless in the garden but each new one gives me a season of interest before they become familiar and overlooked. I don't do anything to encourage them, they just spread themselves around in the pots and I don't do anything to discourage them.
My orginal stock of I.scabrida came from a seed introduction by Chris Chadwell. It pops up in the ginger pots in the Hedychium House and I have had it long enough to overlook it almost completely.
Among the more tender things in the small greenhouse I have a bundle of seedlings sent to me by Ray Morgan. One of them was the old familiar I.scabrida and it also wanders up and down the benches popping up where it will. It looks the same as my original stock although it derives from a different collection of the species.
And then this stranger appeared. It is a much brighter chrome yellow than my usual plants. Don't know how it arrived here, I have decided to hold the fairies responsible. It is much more striking than the typical form and I will be happy if it produced more seedlings for next year. Unfortunately this particular individual is only two inches tall and I'm not sure how much seed I can expect.

25th September 2011

Gladiolus crassifolius
This is another unexpected seedling. I have a pot of Gladiolus crassifolius that I raised from seed in 2007. I haven't bothered to split them up, I just grew the whole potful on assuming they would all be much the same. The first of them had pale buff pink flowers about 1cm long and was enchanting but not spectacular. To be honest, this one is much the same as well as subtly different.
This has more open faced flowers than the first seedling, with darker purple marks to the tips of the segments giving a much more impressive appearance.
The species is widespread in southern Africa from the Eastern Cape region up to Zimbabwe. It ranges from the high mountains down to sea level. I assume mine came from a collection at high altitude because they have survived a series of very cold winters with only a plastic roof for protection.

25th September 2011

Hedychium greenei
Last winter was cold and horrible. I should really get over it and move on, but the evidence for it is everywhere I look. The Hedychium House was hit really badly. In March I didn't know if any of them had survived but fortunatley it wasn't too bad. I lost a couple of plants that were struggling anyway but the significant issue was the amount of damage done to established plants. Most of them are much smaller than usual and with fewer stems. Many will not be flowering this year. Some of the variegated forms are little more than tufts of leaves at ground level and will have to come into the warm this year if they are to survive.
Hedychium greenei has a reputation for being one of the more tender species, but seems to be hardier than its reputation suggests. My local council (bless their adventurous little souls) planted one by the side of a local car park, and it is still there. It isn't going to flower, but it has survived. I don't think they actually knew they were being adventurous in their planting, I think it was just cheap, but ignorance is often the starting point for interesting innovation. I am always surprised that knowledge is so highly valued when so often it is an obstruction (but philosophical speculation aside)...
Hedychium greenei is a triploid clone that is very vigorous but sterile. It has been distributed so widely in cultivation that it is no longer possible to identify a "natural" distribution. Breeders have wanted to use it as a parent because of the size of the flowers and the bright orange colour. During the last year plants of H.rubrum have been introduced to cultivation. It may be the original species from which the triploid clone developed, and it may result in some interesting new hybrids.
Grand plans and innovations for the future aside, H.greenei is an impressive thing in a pot and in a good year it will produce flowering heads like this throughout the autumn.

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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