Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
14th October 2012
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
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 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.
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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