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

11th December 2011

Agapetes 'Ludgvan Cross'
Another mild wet week, the forecast was predicting the first really cold night of the year on Friday so much of the spare time this week has been occupied with protecting things. All of the tender orchids came in from the greenhouse. I should have done it a month ago but night temperatures were staying high so I crossed my fingers and left them alone. Last year I decided that all the really tender plants had to spend the summer in one place, so that they were all together when it was time to prepare for winter. I am really appreciating the advantage now. Walking around the garden looking for things that need bringing in gets rather tedious after a bit.
The consequence oif all of this organisation is that one bench in the greenhouse is almost empty, and that's where I found this Agapetes. It is hardy here, and I meant to plant it out last year but didn't quite make it so it sat on the bench and was hidden by the lush summer growth of a lot of things that are now cowering on windowsills or under benches. It seems to flower continuously from the mature growth.
A hybrid raised in Ludgvan by Miss G. Talbot around 1946, between A.serpens and A.incurvata (or possibly A.rugosa)it is said to be more vigorous and hardier than either parent. I have had it growing in the same pot for years, and apart from a bit of scorch in the summer it has been charming and trouble free.

11th December 2011

Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus
The process of organising the greenhouse didn't end with keeping the tender things together on one bench. I also make a great effort to keep all of the bulbs together. In theory I keep the summer growing and the winter growing apart, but the division is not always clear either among the bulbs or on the bench. In moving stuff around this autumn I have grouped together some of the satellite clusters of bulbs that had spread to other benches (and then moved the Lycoris next to Hippeastrum in a completely different greenhouse where they will be warmer through the summer just to throw a spanner in the works).
This Crytanthus comes from the eastern Cape and is mostly summer growing, but remains evergreen as long as temperatures permit. If it is forced into dormancy then it will produce a flush of flowers in the spring, but for the last few years it has sputtered on and off through the whole year and manages to produce an occasional flower when there is nothing much else about.
Flower colour varies from orange to scarlet and mine is at the pale end of the range, though that might be a result of low light intensity in Cornwall.

11th December 2011

Impatiens stenantha
The end of the season starts to show up the plants that perform so well they are taken for granted through the summer. This Impatiens grows outside the back door and I walk past it dozens of times during the week until I hardly notice it. The cold weather is clearing summer flowers from the garden, and this is probably its last offering for the year. It started flowering in April and has continued without a break for eight months. Icy weather will kill off the top growth but it produces a mat of underground stems that will shoot again as soon as spring starts to warm up.
Growing in the eastern Himalya from Nepal to Bhutan and reaching into Yunnan in China, recent introductions from Gaoligongshan seem to have revived interest in the species.
In a shady and rather dank corner it has spread gently, either by seeding or because the stems root in the summer where they touch the ground. I plan to move a piece up into the new woodland border next year and see how it manages with a bit more exposure.

11th December 2011

Schlumbergera x buckleyi
I was coping well with the idea of cold weather until it started to get closer. At the last minute on Wednesday I lost my nerve, and brought all the Schulbergera inside. I have a number of tiny plants from cuttings sent to me last year and I don't want to lose them until I have seen them flower. The Epiphyllum will have to take their chances (too big and clumsy to find space for) but the Schlumbergera can hide in the house for a couple of months and may well provide pictures for this page when the garden gets hit by the cold.
Schlumbergera x buckleyi is intermediate between S.russeliana and S.truncata and is almost hardy. It has survived here for years in a greenhouse without heat. If the weather gets really cold it goes under the bench but it has taken minus 5degC without trouble. Little bits fall off and take root wherever the plant is put so there are usually plenty of little ones coming along as well. The hardiness comes from S.russeliana, which is a plant from the Organ Mountains of Brazil and occurs at quite high altitudes.
The mild autumn has meant that this is flowering very early. I wouldn't expect to see it until I have snowdrops to gather with gloved hands. I have never put the two things together in a tiny vase, but it would be interesting.
Breeders are currently concentrating on producing new colours in Schumbergera but increasing cold tolerance would be just as useful at the moment.

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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