Home Index Web Stuff Copyright Links Me Archive


Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
To navigate this site, use the links above, or the detailed links at the bottom of this page.

... out in the garden.

19th August 2012

Thalictrum delavayi 'Hewitt's Double'
August has become a month of puffing and wheezing up the hill to the top of the garden. A friend in Kent talks about the hot sunny weather but here it has been cloudy and humid. Not hot enough for shorts, but too warm for long trousers. So I've been staggering up and down the hill, puffing and wheezing, trousers on, trousers off looking at all the jobs I would rather leave to another day. I managed to clear the meadow, and I'm not going to fell any more trees into it this year so once I have burnt the bonfire I can get back to mowing it ready for the new year.
I was given Thalictrum 'Hewitt's Double' a couple of years ago and was delighted to have it back in the garden. It isn't as striking in flower as the single form, but it is a lovely curiosity. It has rather lax stems so last year it was lost trailing along the ground, but this year I propped it up behind a daylily and it has been much better. If I remember at an appropriate moment I will push some twigs in to prop up the lower parts next year. The combination with Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight' was entirely accidental - I had misplaced the label so I didn't know what it was until it flowered. If I had done it deliberately this sort of conventional contrast would have felt tired and uninteresting (yawn) but it happened by chance and feels a bit like playing herbaceous roulette (which is my usual planting policy).

19th August 2012

Astilbe rivularis var myriantha BWJ 8076A
Random elements provide all the best moments I remember in gardens. There is a class of moronic designers who seem to choose their plants by sticking a pin in the plantfinder. I despise their talentless negation of art, education and skill in favour of lazy ecomony. But it is rather fun. Next time you have a moment pull out your sharpest 'chosing pin' and consider where in your garden you could plant the consequence of your rashness.
Astilbe are returning to the garden as part of a random process that is very rewarding. I grew a few dozen cultivars when I was young enough to see them as old peoples plants, all musty colours and lavender drawer liners. The bright red selections have a shock value, but it is a geriatric shock, like finding your grandmother chewing bubble-gum.
I have got older. I like their practicality. They aren't eaten by rabbits and they quite like my moist climate. I visited Crug Farm Plants last year, looking for fascinating shrubs and unknown herbage, and came away with a handful of Astilbe. There is a brutal moment of realisation when you face the fact that you haven't got what you aspired to, you have got what you deserve. I'm old enough to be comfortable with that. Give it another decade or two and I will take up bubble-gum.
Seed collected by Bleddyn Wynn-Jones near Baoxing in China. If it grows to the promised 2m then my random planting hasn't left it enough space and I will have to correct my folly (eventually).

19th August 2012

Hedychium densiflorum 'Sorung'
The Hedychium have enjoyed the wet weather. They were very slow to get started in spring but they have appreciated being outside. I promised myself they would all be planted out before the flowers came but I haven't even made a start. I could have put a few in yesterday, but I got distracted by removing an old Olearia (it's sad, but I am over Olearia) and planting a large potbound Dicksonia in its place. I was very happy with the result and the Hedychium will still be there tomorrow.
'Sorung' was collected by Edward Needham near the village of Sorung in Nepal. It was a single large flowered plant growing among typical H.densiflorum on the eastern side of the Saalpa Pass, between the Dudh Kosi and Arun valleys.
I think these plants have all proved they would be happier in the ground than in the greenhouse and my plan to put them out slowly and deliberately through the summer hasn't really come up with the goods. This is another one of those random moments when I wander into the garden on a whim with a spade and solve the problem.

19th August 2012

Tricyrtis formosana 'Spotted Toad'
The justaposition of the words 'Toad' and 'Lily' would be enough to attract any right-minded gardener. They have the same magnetic draw as 'Glass' and 'House'. Non-gardeners will struggle to understand why they go together with such pride and gusto. The Toad lilies belong to the season of herbaceous apology. What a pity you didn't see the border at its best (etc etc), but the Toad lilies are still lovely. It isn't autumn yet, but it will be.
There is a cult of the Tricyrtis that has straddled the globe in its own unique colour and style, like the Rocky Horror show in damp soil. The American's are breeding them, the Japanese are breeding them, the Brits are breeding them and there are so many new introductions from the wild it is difficult to believe there are any left out there. The Chytrid Fungus of collection numbers if you will.
The astonishing thing is, they are all good. Not a single dud among them. This one was collected near Taipingshan in northern Taiwan in 1993 by Crug Farm Plants as BSWJ 1769. Since then it has sprouted a name and taken its rightful place among the meritorious toads.

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.
I have a lot of good intentions when it comes to updating this site, and I try to keep a note about what is going on, if you are interested.
If you want to contact me, the address is infoMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
When typing the address in, please replace MONKEY with the more traditional @ symbol! I apologise for the tiresome performance involved, but I am getting too much spam from automated systems as a result of having an address on the front page.