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

30th December 2012

Camellia 'Show Girl'
The wet weather continues. There is a tiny hole in the sole of my left boot. It has been there since the summer without causing any significant inconvenience but times are changing. Now I come back from the garden with one wet foot. I think it is a small price to pay for warm weather. The garden is rushing into spring with an enthusiasm that borders on recklessness. If the clouds clear then temperatures will plummet and everything will be put on hold.
The gap between Christmas and the new year is my usual season for playing 'hunt the camellia' and as usual it is 'Show Girl' that I found. I have planted a number of other cultivars in recent years hoping to find something earlier but so far they are all too small or too obstinate to produce flowers (or I should weed around them more diligently).
I'm not sure why I plant any others. This large pink frilly bloom encapsulates the pure essence of camellia-ness. It is bold, it is ridiculous, it heralds the awakening of the garden and (most importantly) it will be gone before I get fed up with it.

30th December 2012

Galanthus 'Moccas'
Old snowdrops have also been to the fore this week. In the last couple of years I have planted a number of newer cultivars with the single intention of having earlier flowers. They have all showed promise, all produced early noses above the ground, all have little white buds showing, but at the last minute it was the old guard that produced the goods. 'Moccas' and G.elwesii 'Hiemalis' appeared out of the ground, shot straight up and flowered in a matter of a week or two leaving the new purchases to dither and dawdle. 'Three Ships' was the exception, which was planted last year as it was dying down but still managed to produce the first flower of the season in mid December.
The question of why I would plant any others remains but I am sure I will continue. I would like to think that I will continue to look for early flowering cultivars and I have drawn up a list of plants to look out for. It is strangely satisfying to have a good plan.
And aren't windows wonderful things. Sometime in the next few weeks I will be at a show or a sale. My hot little hands will be clutching my savings, there will be some wonderful bauble on offer and my satisfying plan will be thrown out of one!

30th December 2012

Lonicera fragrantissima
Winter flowering honeysuckles are delightful. They produce frail white scented flowers through the most depressing season and add the gloss that distinguishes a garden from a mud wallow at this time of the year. I seem to have grown L.fragrantissima all my life. When I first planted it I chose to have the species, rather than the hybrid L.x purpusii out of a sense of purist elitism. Even then I knew that L.x purpusii was the better plant but it is L.fragrantissima that has stuck with me. I keep meaning to plant a newer selection. A friend grows 'Winter Beauty' and it has been wonderful since November (I did plant L.elisae last year, but that is still unproven).
This one has stuck with me, and I have developed an irrational fondness for it. 'Winter Beauty' seems to have more grubby bud scales clustered behind the flowers and the twigginess of its growth, though it delivers extra flower power, also loses the great arching rufous stems of L.fragrantissima. The flower of L.fragrantissima is just perfect caught in the soft glow of the winter sunlight. I think I would swap all the flower and scent of 'Winter Beauty' for a single bloom of l.fragrantissima.
Then I realise that's what I have. A single bloom. Miserable stingy tight fisted monster, I have a spade you know. Don't imagine that decades of forgiving familiarity will save you!

30th December 2012

Helleborus x hybridus 'Golden Sunrise'
Significant imporovements continue to be made among Hellebores. At the same time that I planted my first Lonicera fragrantissima I planted the best of the Hellebores than available. I still have some of them and it is good to keep things that make you laugh. In the early days of Hellebore breeding people were concentrating on raising perfect clones and then propagating by division. The Hellebores did not co-operate and we are slowly adapting to the idea that seed strains are the way forward. There are some excellent new plants coming out of the USA and rumours are starting to appear about breeding work in Japan.
'Golden Sunrise' is a strain with large yellow flowers that have red markings. It is part of the Winter Jewels collection of colours, bred by Marietta and Ernie O'Byrne at Northwest Garden Nursery in Oregon. They are selecting for clarity of colour, vigour and foliage quality. I have a few plants from their strains, but I am looking out for more. This was planted last year and it is good to have something new producing early flowers.

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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