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

14th October 2012

Impatiens cymbifera
A week of slow progress and marching slime. Everywhere I walk the pathways are starting to turn to mud.It has been deceptively warm - I keep going outside in a jumper and then having to take it off immediately. Naturally I put it down wherever I am working. I'm not so good at picking it up again, and then it rains (inevitably). I have been working in the Hedychium house (where it should be dry) and have struck a rich seam of mud that has coated me repeatedly. It will be lovely when it is done (which is code for 'I will have more space') but the process is beginning to drag. The washing machine has been revolving all week, and it is the same set of garments going round again and again.
A string of bad winters has taken its toll of the Impatiens. It is a good time to take stock. Impatiens cymbifera arrived here when I bought a single seedling in a pot from Pine Lodge Gardens. Collected and introduced by Chris Chadwell, I had no idea what to expect in the first year. I grew it in the greenhouse and at the very end of the year it produced enough flowers to scatter some seed and dropped dead at the first frost. I assumed it had gone for good but I was naive in the ways of annual Impatiens. The following year I had seedlings all over the floor and realised that it needed a firm hand to keep it under control. Nowadys I have it in a moist bed by the back door where it is hemmed in by concrete. If I see it anywhere else I remove it. I was worried that it might become another noxious weed, but I have given it (with a warning) to friends further north and it doesn't seem to establish. It flowers so late that I think the frosts get it before seed is ripe.

14th October 2012

Impatiens scabrida
Another annual species that I got originally from Chris Chadwell, although this plant is a rather better yellow selection that came from Ray Morgan. It was planted in a pot in the greenhouse where it seeds moderately into other pots. If it is given plenty of space and fed well it becomes quite a monster, but nowadays I just allow it to come up where it will and enjoy it when it flowers. The original introduction wanders up and down the Hedychium house, and may become a pest in the freshly exposed mud. This one does the same trick among the Aspidistra pots where it gets a bit straggly but is never going to be a problem. I cant see the Aspidistra putting up with any nonsense.
It has not yet managed to grow anywhere outside, and I am sure that seed must have escaped. In late summer the exploding seeds get into every nook and cranny so they certainly get through the open door. It is possible that spring weather outside is too cold for it, or the local flora too thuggish. One day I will accidentally weed them all out and it will be gone (although Impatiens have a talent for returning unexpectedly).

14th October 2012

Impatiens stenantha
Impatiens omeiana has started its strange seasonal display of flowers. The lovely leaves come and go through the summer depending on the moisture levels, and then if any stems survive the height of summer, it flowers in the first autumn rains. It is a quite unique new introduction with impressive leaves and plenty of creamy flowers, but I'm not convinced I like it. It's rather like spinach, newly trendy, pops up under a lot of different guises but I find myself smiling insincerely when people go on about it. I'm not convinced it's nice.
Impatiens stenantha has followed the same path in reverse. When I first got it I thought it was one of those new things that was going to skulk into well deserved obscurity. The dark leaves and stems are stained with the purple on imminent oblivion. I didn't think it would last and I didn't much mind. I was wrong. It has established in a moist shady site, been reliably perennial and produced the occasional seedling. It starts to flower in April and continues until there is a frost so severe that the stems collapse to a thin coating of black slime on the soil surface. It has bounced back from being trodden on and laughed in the face of stinging nettles (or at least laughed under their armpits). It is a jolly good plant.

14th October 2012

Impatiens kilimanjari x pseudoviola
The bedding Impatiens provide plenty of pink in that peculiar shade that divides good taste and po faces from poor taste and smiles. It is a rare talent and a rare colour in the garden. Most of the hardy pink Impatiens (are incorrigable weeds and) have been touched by dullness in a way that thrusts them firmly onto the po-faced side of the divide.
Lurking on the slopes on Mount Kilimanjaro are a couple of exuberant species that treat both pinkness and altitude as challenges to conquer. There was a hope that selections from the higher slopes might show some hardiness, and they do have a degree of cold tolerance, but hardiness is pushing it a bit.
I. pseudoviola is the duller of the two, more lilac than pink and a bit leggy. In a warm greenhouse it is magnificent - but I don't have one of those. I grew it for a short while and when it started to swoon from the cold, I let it.
I.kilimanjari is bright and stylish and started to mutter that my bathroom windowsill didn't have the ambience of an African mountainside. Fortunately the two diva's share a hybrid offspring that is magnificent. In mild years it survives outside, and it seeds rather willingly. There have been a number of different colour forms about, although smiling pink is typical.
In the bad winters it has slowly been exterminated and I hadn't seen it for a couple of years. Suddenly in the tenacious manner of Impatiens (and charmingly so in this case) it has re-appeared. A seedling germinated un-noticed under the bench in the conservatory. I have surprised myself with the delight to be found in such a simple thing.

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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