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

15th April 2012

Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'
Denial. We have had a milder winter than anybody could have hoped for and the warm weather has arrived, but I still occasionally find myself in denial. Cynicism runs through me like a varicose vein up a pensioners leg. Perhaps the worst is still to come. This is nonsense (and not the first time I have indulged). There is more going on in the garden than I can possibly show and it is time to relax and enjoy it.
Every spare moment this week has been spent planting things out. The showery weather has come just in time to help me to water things in and I hope it goes on for the rest of the month (there is a lot more still to plant).
The wood anemones are coming to a peak just as the undergrowth around them starts to take over. In a few weeks it will be a sea of weeds but for the moment they are perfect. 'Robinsoniana' has continued to expand vigorously. The pale lilac-blue flowers were only partially open when I took this picture this morning but they were still lightly scented (confectionary with a distant hint of washing powder). It shares it's little patch of woodland with an assortment of blue flowered seedlings that will be followed by bluebells in May, Red Campion in June and the lawnmower in July. That should give me just enough time for a little bit of work on the trees before the snowdrops start again.

15th April 2012

Clematis alpina 'Frankie'
I have been struggling with supports for Clematis. Last year I got away with some glorified pea-sticks but this year I will have to do something that offers more in the way of support and less convenience. I don't grow many but I bought a number of rooted cuttings last year and they will all need to be planted out soon. Clematis alpina comes at the start of the season (disregard the winter flowering ones) to remind me to get on with it. 'Frankie' is lounging around in the herbaceous border supporting itself on anything that comes to hand. It seems happy like that.
It is a semi double flower and there has been a suggestion that it is a hybrid. It is possibly a bit more vigorous than I expected but it is never going to reach the 3m quoted by some sources. Raised in Lincolnshire by Frank Meechan and introduced by R.J.Evison in 1991, it was awarded an AGM in 2002.

15th April 2012

Acis nicaeensis
I have been making a special effort not to go into the greenhouse this week. It is too easy to get distracted and there is far too much to do outside. Longer evenings are helping but it gets cold quite early and I am a bit of a wimp. I carried on planting through a hail shower yesterday morning and then had to retire for a warm bath and a hot drink. That was it for the day, once frozen twice shy.
I was surprised to find Acis nicaeensis in flower when I went round this morning. The spring bulbs are over and I thought the bench had nothing more to offer until autumn. It has increased well since last year and does well with a dryish rest during the summer months, which coincides with my natural season of neglect.
It's natural habitat is a tiny area on the French/Italian border. All the wild populations grow with a 5km radius (3 locations in Italy, 17 in France) in dry scrub (described as pre-desert) with grasses and annuals. It is threatened and declining as a result of urbanisation (for some reason people want to build houses along the Mediterranean coast) and forest planting. Increased human activity and agriculture are adding to the nutrient levels in the soil and encouraging the invasion of more vigorous species. Natural populations will probably continue to decline.

15th April 2012

Calanthe mannii
China is always a problem. A reduction in political tensions in the last few decades has exposed us to the wealth of the chinese flora in a way that hasn't been seen since the era of gunship diplomacy. I bought this as Calanthe fargesii from an orchid nursery, but the label could just as easily have read "might well be a teapot". The names of plants exported from China have an equally whimsical random element in their application.
Calanthe fargesii is one of the tropical members of the genus, but this plant has survived a series of extremely cold winters. It isn't a very impressive technique for checking nomenclature but this is clearly not the tropical orchid I was expecting. It produced a flower spike in 2010, and at the time I was inclined to consider it a form of the variable C.dicolor but I wasn't convinced. This year it has produced six flower spikes. I don't know what I did right last year, but I clearly did something. There are a lot of Calanthe and I haven't found a very useful key yet, but C.mannii is my current best guess. My opinion could easily change.
Might well be a china teapot.

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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