Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
23rd October 2011
I have been promised lentil soup for supper. Out in the garden the wind is really picking up. The two things are probably not related. Some autumn colour starting to display on the
Liquidambar. Perhaps I should have shown it now, it may be gone by next week but there isn't much sun, so it just looks like some red stuff growing among some green stuff.
Fingers crossed I'll do a decent picture another day.
Hoping for some rain tonight. It has been a fortnight or more since we had a decent shower and the garden is rather dry in places. I planted out a few Hellebores yesterday
and the ground was dust dry under the trees (which might explain why I haven't seen Galanthus peshmenii out there yet, or it may just be dead).
A quick trip round the greenhouse made me wish I had Hummingbirds, there are so many things in flower that would be pollinated by them. This Bouvardia
has been in flower since the spring. I thought that it was coming to an end, but it has managed a few more heads before the winter. It is a Mexican species
so quite used to the attentions of Hummingbirds, and probably missing them as much as I do since it hasn't produced any seed. This is Bob Brown's introduction
of the species from high altitude in Hidalgo and he suggests it will survive in zone 7B, and I am hoping that 7B reaches as far as my cold greenhouse. In suitable climates it
can make an evergreen bush 6feet high. I will be happy with a scrambling survival.
23rd October 2011
Eremophila maculata 'Pink Form'
An Austrailian shrub, so not pollinated by Hummingbirds, but it has the 'look' about it. It is also on the borderline of hardiness. In a dry sunny climate
it is said to be hardy to minus9 C (and I have my fingers crossed that we won't be visiting that territory in the greenhouse this year) but it may need a sunny warm day to get over the shock
and the best I can offer will be damp and overcast cold, which it may object to. On the optimistic side, my plant came from a cold greenhouse in east London, where it
overwintered reliably, but the heat-island effect may have played a part.
I bought it in the spring, and was really pleased to get something I had never grown before. The typical form is bright red, but there is also a bright yellow form, and this pink one
(which is the same as one the Australians call 'Apricot' I think). I was curled up in a self absorbed ball of my own satisfaction, with a brand new, rare and unusual form of
a barely known plant to play with when I discovered a local nursery had grown a batch of them, all looking larger and more floriferous than mine. Years ago I spent a fortune (£40, 1982)
to get a plant of Cantua buxifolia from Hilliers and shortly after it arrived discovered that Hilliers got their cuttings from a garden just down the road from me. Not sure why I ever
leave the county, I think this is where all the good stuff happens.
23rd October 2011
I have a bit of a Gesneriaceae thing which pops up from time to unexpected time. A series of bad winters have killed off a lot of Pinguicula, and I have been growing
some Streptocarpus in their place. It's just nice to grow something easy with big flowers now and then. A previous detour took me into Sinningia
and I grew a few that showed promise for a cold greenhouse (I don't think any of them will cope with the wet outside in winter).
mostly, they were good for a few years, but were set back so far by cold winters that they faded away. This red flowered oddity it the one that has put up with difficult winters
and still flowers. The tuber is dried off as soon as the top growth dies down and then seems to tolerate cold quite well (much like Begonia boliviensis).
It is quite late to start in the spring but it has flowered reliably for several years now on tall floppy leafy stems. It is a wonder, but not a beauty.
The species grows in Argentina and Brazil and is Humminbird pollinated.
23rd October 2011
Hippeastrum sp. Brazil
Not sure what to make of this plant. Not hummingbird pollinated, but not going to be in flower next week either, so here it is.
I was given a pot of seedlings last year and told that it was fairly tolerant of cold. There are plenty of Hippeastrum species
and I don't know them very well, but this seemed to small and too vigorous. It has now produced a single flower on a stem
and I simply can't imagine any Hippeastrum flowering in its second year under my conditions.
When I first saw the leaves growing I assumed it was a Habranthus (with a natural distribution including Brazil, but widely naturalised as well)
but the flower and pedicel are much taller than I was expecting.
On balance (and because I can't find a Hippeastrum species that comes close) I think this is a form of the variable Habranthus robustus,
but this is the largest I have seen.
I was going to go out and dig up a stump when I had finished this, but the wind is getting blustery, so I think it's a quick bath and some lentil soup!
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