Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
2nd October 2011
Hedychium densiflorum Yellow
A flush of hot weather at the end of the season is very welcome. It had been getting rather cold and was starting to look like a long cold winter was not very far ahead.
To begin with I was worried that it would end with a catastrophic bang as temperatures returned to the seasonal norm, but forecasters are promising a slow decline through the next week.
I have very little confidence in weather forecasts but they always seem more reliable when they are saying what I want to hear.
The Hedychium continue to froth gently in the greenhouse. Most of the deciduous species have started their display of seedheads but this yellow selection of
H.densiflorum is only just starting to flower. I have a couple of other similar plants ('Kalimpong Gold' and 'Kalimpong Yellow') and they all originate with
Ganesh Mani Pradhan, though named by David Constantine at Kobakoba. They are quite unlike the 'Assam Orange' group, which flower at the very start of the season and have much darker flowers
in longer heads. I have wanted to try hybrids between the two forms for some years now, but the flowering has never overlapped sufficiently. This one doesn't produce much seed here, though it may just flower
too late in the season for it to mature.
2nd October 2011
Empty pots in the greenhouse are always a worry. I try to group things together that grow at the same time of year but it is a bit haphazard. This has been a reliable autumn flowering Arum for me
so I have been watching the empty pot with increasing consternation. In previous years I have had clear signs of growth in September. It is always a problem trying to decide the right time to
tip a pot out and find out what is going on. Plants in the early stages of growth get (understandably) sulky if you damage them. It was a relief, as well as a joy when it finally appeared.
The first flowers are always the very best. It will probably produce a
few more over the next month or so, but the leafy shoots are following not far behind and will soon obscure the flowers.
It comes from Majorca and like so many of the interesting plants of the Balearic Islands, it has finished long before the package tours begin. My plants has plain green leaves, but there are
forms with silver veins, culminating in the beauty that is 'Primrose Warburg'. I don't grow it, but I salivate like a hungry bulldog whenever I see it.
2nd October 2011
It may not seem to follow very logically from the Arum, but they are linked, or to be more exact they are growing in the same pot. I think this is the first time
I have featured two plants both at their best in the same pot.
The Hollyhock Begonia has appeared from time to time in cultivation, but it is rather straggly and previous introductions have been treated as tender. It has large pink flowers
but by the time it produces them the long stems have collapsed all over the place so that it isn't always a thing of beauty.
A couple of new collections have been made available through PanGlobal Plants. F&M377 is a wonderful thing with dark leaves veined with green. Unfortunately it didn't survive here. Three
hard winters in a row killed a lot of things that would have survived just one and F&M377 was one of them.
This is the collection F&M266 from 2400m altitude in Hidalgo State, Mexico. It produces masses of tiny bulbils in the leaf axils during autumn, and they seem to spead everywhere.
I have a suspicion that the larger tubers are destroyed by frost, but these tiny ones seem to survive - at least enough of them do. It pops up in the most unexpected places. I don't know how
it got into the Arum pot but it is cheerful enough to leave it to wander around if it wants. The green leaved shoots in spring are distinctive and easy to remove where it is really not wanted.
Grows on shady banks and moist rocky slopes in its natural setting. I keep it dry. Very very dry, especially in the winter, and it seems to put up with quite a lot of neglect even when in full growth.
2nd October 2011
Annual Impatiens are a bit of a worry. I.glandulifera has been romping up and down the highways, byways and waterways of the country. It is only a matter of time before it is
found to be responsible for the extermination of the water vole and global warming. Recently, it popped up in the hedge opposite my house (I used a spade to pop it down again). I take some
care to prevent I.cymbifera from wandering beyond its allocated bed. Fortunately it isn't at all hardy and seed isn't produced until November so I don't think it will spread far. It
makes a great thicket of leafy stems on the north side of the conservatory. It will produce flowers for six weeks when there is nothing else going on and then turns to mush before it gets tiresome.
I got it as a seedling from Pine Lodge Gardens, originally collected by Chris Chadwell under the number CC4980 somewhere in the central Himalaya (Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar and Nepal).
I doubt it was collected in Myanmar, but I don't have the collection notes so the detail is a mystery. The species was described as dull, deep reddish lilac and mine is much paler
but I think it is accepted that this is correctly named.
I thought that last winter had killed all the seeds, but it managed to germinate in spring. A little later than usual and rather sparsely but it germinated. They were slow to
grow through the summer, but seem to have caught up now and if the winter holds off for a few more weeks, it will shed enough seed to ensure next years display.
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