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

5th August 2012

Cyclamen hederifolium
The week has seen a few light showers which have helped in the garden. Not enough to wet the soil significantly but enough to lower the temperature and settle the dust. It has been the wettest year since Noah built the Ark so it is difficult to imagine the soil being dry, but it was. Fortunately we had a mighty deluge in the night. The ground is wet and the water tanks have filled up. I had taken a short break from planting things out and will leave it until september before I start again, but it feels as though I could get away with it this week.
In the break from planting I have started work on a small greenhouse for the Agave. At present they are in temporary homes in the bulb house, and there isn't really room for them. The first part of the process involves sinking foundation stakes into the underlying rock so I have been a happy little dwarf, whistling while I work and banging a long rock chisel with a big hammer. Let's just call it laborious, there has been enough language shed over this one already.
Walking back from the site, tired and dusty with a bruised finger (I hit it with a hammer) I saw the Cyclamen had started. I regard them as the first breath of autumn, innocent pink portents of the ice storm to come. I have mixed feelings about their appearance but I was saddened when the rabbits ate the flowers. I still had this one when I went to take the pictures. It is a little chewed but there will be plenty more.

5th August 2012

Acis autumnalis var oporantha
The autumn bulbs have started to appear. I must find a few hours to weed the Nerine before the first flower spikes emerge. This little Acis beat the Cyclamen into flower by a couple of days. It is reliable in a pot but I have never tried it outside. I think I would spend too much time keeping the weeds at bay.
The variety A.a.oporantha is no longer considered valid. It relates to plants from the Rif Mountains in North Africa. I maintain this stock because it is said not to produce any seed, while my typical plants seed freely (generously, reliably, prolifically, enthusiastically, with gusto) enough to turn up in some unexpected places.
It flowers without the leaves and the tiny white blooms are stained pink at the base. This form has narrower petals that flare open more widely than my typical strain and the scapes grow slightly taller. If I was forced to choose, I would say this was the better plant.

5th August 2012

Typhonium alpinum
The tuberous aroids are currently 'resting' in the bulb house, along with the Agave. It isn't meant as a long term plan, but they had to go somewhere when the benches they previously occupied were replaced. Eventually those that like shade will be planted in the shade, those that like moisture will go outside and those that need a summer bake - well, I'm not sure what will happen to those, but I will find a space for them somewhere.
This charming little Typhonium is adaptable enough to tolerate the company of bulbs, but it is happier now I have started watering more reliably. It might have flowered a month ago but I have been keeping things dry while they are dormant.
There is still some doubt about the name. It was distributed as T.alpinum but doubts have been cast. There is a reasonable key in the Flora of China, so I will try to pin a name down while it is in flower (I would do it now, but the rain is tipping down again and I'm not going out there).

5th August 2012

Watsonia Hybrid
I have had similar problems identifying the Watsonia. I'm not alone in this - the standard solution is to suggest that plants in cultivation are all complex hybrids. Unfortunately I run into similar problems of identification with plants grown from habitat collected seed. I don't need to worry with this one, it is a complex hybrid. I made it myself. W.pillansii pink form x W. 'Stanford Scarlet'. The true identity of the pink form of W.pillansii is an open question, but this hybrid remains complex!
So far all of the seedlings have come up in shades of pink. This is the palest. There is a stronger growing one that leans towards salmon and is probably a better plant, but this is the one that caught my eye this morning.
Watsonia are another genus waiting to be planted out. They seem to do best when planted in the spring so I will probably wait until next year. Those I have put out in the autumn have struggled a bit in the first winter.
I am hoping that this group of seedlings will self pollinate and that I will have a better mix of colours in the next generation. If I remember, I will go and help them.

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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