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

25th November 2012

Nerine undulata
The rain has tipped down this week and thank heavens for that. It has caused a series of minor problems, without which I would have gone mad. The garden has survived without major damage and the greenhouse is full of Nerine, a little pocket of joy.
On thursday I decided to install Windows 8, because my operating system is getting old and starting to crumble around the edges. There are dark rumours circulating on the internet about it and I wish I had paid closer attention. Still, not point crying over spilt milk. I am sure it will all work again one day. I expect I can find and reinstall all the useful programs that it helpfully deleted for me. As I write this I am not sure how I am going to upload it to the website (the program has been wiped) but I expect I will find a way.
And if I sound a little frustrated - this is the second time I have written these notes today. It decided to delete the first set. My goodness, I do dearly love technology.
Nerine undulata has a fairly wide distribution in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This is the commercial form available from the Dutch as N. "crispa". There are darker flowered forms in cultivation as well as a white. I find it cold hardy and very reliable. In theory it is summer growing, but it has a very short dormancy and it is almost always in leaf. I haven't tried it outside in this garden. It wouldn't mind the cold, it would be the wet that carried it off and that could be rather too literal.
I have spoken to couple of other gardeners in the village this week. There is a sharp divide between those of us lucky enough to garden on the hill and the lost souls in the valley who are watching the water rising.

25th November 2012

Nerine bowdenii 'Sophie'
Nerine bowdenii is a sensational species, and hardy enough to grow throughout the country. Some of the gardens locally have a really nice display during the autumn so I know it is possible. I just can't seem to do it myself. I need an open sunny position and I don't have a lot of those. Fortunately they do well in the greenhouse and they are impressive enough to warrant the space.
In recent years a number of new cultivars have been named, mostly raised in Holland for the cut flower trade. Names can become a little confused but I think they are slowly getting sorted out. 'Sophie' is the closest I have seen to white, though the buds are very clearly pink tinged before they open.
There is a form called N.bowdenii 'Alba' recorded in the literature, but as far as I can tell all the plants currently being circulated as 'Alba'are new cultivars from Dutch breeders that have 'misplaced' their name.

25th November 2012

Nerine bowdenii 'Isabel'
I was very impressed with 'Isabel' when I first saw it. The colour is deeper pink than my standard form of N.bowdenii and the flowers are carried on tall strong stems. I have seen pictures of this one that make it look almost purple but mine has always been deeply and uncompromisingly pink. It stands head and shoulders above the other cultivars on the bench and it would make a very striking bunch of flowers.
As far as I can tell, these were raised by Nic van Keulen and Kees de Jong in Holland. Unfortunately I don't speak any Dutch so I would be grateful to be corrected if I am wrong.

25th November 2012

Nerine bowdenii 'Rowie'
In a week of minor frustrations this wonderful soft pink Nerine has been my refuge. I even went out to see it in the dark one evening (when I was on the point of throwing the computer out the window) and it was very calming.
This is the darkest of the "pale" pinks I have seen and probably the most distinctive. I love them all but if the labels were all taken out I would never manage to put them back in the right places again. In theory they all flower at slightly different times and are distinctive, but I have dozens of (name lost) bulbs that flowered at the same time as 'Ostara K' and I still don't have the confidence to label them.
I expect that by next week all the litle problems will be solved and everything will be marvelous in John's Happy Land. If I should start singing the praises of Windows 8, however, please refer me to these notes!

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.
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