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

13th November 2011

Galanthus reginae-olgae ssp reginae-olgae
The many faces of autumn have been on display this week. I was enjoying the sun yesterday morning while planting out some Hellebores, and today the wind has been blowing from the south and rattling all the windows. The sort of gusty weather that means I will have some interesting branches on the ground tomorrow but I won't be complaining. The wind is a consequence of low pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic, and that means mild weather which I am enjoying.
I have started to check among the snowdrops in the woodland garden, and there are a few small noses just starting to push through the soil. This autumn snowdrop in the greenhouse has taken advantage of some extra warmth indoors to flower. It doesn't do well for me outside - I think the garden is too moist for it - but it is starting to flower reliably in a pot in the greenhouse. Over the last couple of years it has even increased slightly. I was struggling to find any scent in it, but it was a cool day and there is only the one flower so I'm not too disappointed.
The species comes from Greece and was until recently considered to be an autumn flowering form of Galanthus nivalis. Named in 1876 it was the first reliable autumn snowdrop and was introduced at a time when (some of) the gardening gentry were starting to notice and name the variations among snowdrops, which led to the first great wave of Galanthomania. It was named to honour Queen Olga of Greece, the grandmother of the Duke of Edinburgh.

13th November 2011

Lysionotus gamosepalus
There are quite a lot of small Gesneriads that have been available recently, mostly as a result of political changes in China and assorted botanical expeditions that have resulted. I grow them when I come across them and those that are cold tolerant seem to make good plants, given a little moisture and some protection.
Lysionotus pauciflorus has been one on my favourites. It is probaby a shrub, technically, but it is so low and straggling that it is really a creeper in dank places. It flowers well for me in mid summer, so when I saw that Crug Farm Plants were offering another species I thought it was worth trying, and was a little surprised by the three foot shrub that emerged from the box. It flowers in late autumn every year and goes on through the darkest months of winter in the conservatory. Once the temperature drops in the new year and the humidity goes up, the flowers tend to rot before they open, but until then it is a cheering thing.
This year it has been moved from the conservatory, and will have to face the winter in a cold greenhouse, where I am hoping it will appreciate a bit more light, more regular watering and the chance that it will be fed from time to time. I am also hoping for some new stems from the base, because it is getting rather long and leggy.
Introduced by Crug Farm Plants from Doi Chiang Dao in northern Thailand under their number BSWJ7241.
In writing this note I have lost my nerve, repotted the plant and brought it back into the conservatory. Nothing else I have grown from Doi Chiang Dao has survived in the cold greenhouse and I don't want to take the chance.

13th November 2011

x Burrageara Nelly Isler
Another of todays refugees from the cold greenhouse. The flower spike has been developing for a month now and every week I have considered bringing it indoors onto a windowsill, but it has been enjoying some extra light and decent growing conditions, so I took a chance and left it out there. Now the flower has opened it will be best on a windowsill. Let's hope for an early spring.
I can't remember much about where I got it. I was in a supermarket in the summer, it had finished flowering and was looking ragged. They wanted 2 for it so I brought it hope, sat it in the greenhouse and forgot all about it. As a consequence, the name is a bit speculative. I am convinced it is a x Burrageara (a complex mix of Odontoglossum , Miltonia , Oncidium and Cochlioda ) and the Nelly Isler grex is the one that has been commercially popular for the last decade for producing good red scented flowers (once again, no scent detected today). The original hybrids were raised by Nelly Isler in Switzerland in the early 1990's and 'Swiss Beauty' was the clone she selected, however other clones have been selected since and this is probably one of them. ('Swiss Beauty' has a spotted labellum and is protected by plant breeders rights so large scale growers tend to look for clones they won't have to pay a royalty on).
While I was out there I had a quick look at the rest of the tender orchids, which will have to come in this week, and take their chances in the growing case. I think I have now pushed my seasonal luck as far as is sensible, and it is time to take shelter from the potential for wintery weather.

13th November 2011

Schlumbergera 'White Christmas'
And if I have started to consider the possibility of wintery weather around the corner, then it may not be too offensive to utter the 'C' word. This Schlumbergera has been one of the best performing cultivars, flowering reliably at the end of November. Im many years it manages a second flush in February just as the first signs of spring start to show.
Another group of plants that will have to be found space somewhere. The larger plants have always spent the winter in the conservatory, where they struggle through, dropping the occasional branch if the cold gets severe. The smaller plants all need to be indoors. If there is only one branch to drop it can be a bit fatal to leave them in the cold. I may try to bring the larger plants in as well because I am sure they would do better if they didn't have to spend most of the summer replacing lost branches.
'White Christmas' is a fairly modern hybrid raised by B.L.Cobia Inc. in Florida. If it is kept above 14degC the flowers are pure white, the pink colour develops if they are cooler. The flower shape and shape of the stem segments derive from Schlumbergera truncata though it is quite cold tolerant, a character it inherits from S.russeliana. Both parents are Brazilian, but the latter grows at elevations up to 6,000ft and can stand a cold snap.

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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