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

6th January 2013

Hamamelis mollis
A dry week in the garden has been a wonderful thing. The temperatures have stayed high and there has even been a little bit of sunshine. All things considered, spring is a very satisfactory season. There are buds bursting all over and it would be easy to imagine that the cold weather had finished for the year but I think the difficult times are yet to come. Not worth worrying about so I am enjoying daffodils shooting and Pelargonium flowering in the same containers.
A couple of years ago I removed some large pine trees and replaced them with a hedge of mixed shrubs, aiming to produce a low windbreak through the garden that had winter interest. I planted a few Hamamelis and this year I have been wafted with fragrance as I walked by. Not a very big waft it is true but enough to make me stop and enjoy it. H.mollis is the best for fragrance and the yellow flowers show up well from a distance. If I had any sense it is the only one I would plant, but I'm not built that way so I planted one of everything I could get. The effect isn't as spectacular is it could be. The orange and red forms of H. x intemedia are invisible from as distance and don't smell as good but the variety keeps me twitching with excitement and is a reasonable replacement for coffee.

6th January 2013

Galanthus 'Reverend Hailstone'
The timing of the snowdrop season has been curious this year. I moved a number of cultivars to better positions last summer and it might be that they are appreciating more light but a number of them are earleir than expected. The earliest forms of G.elwesii generally appear in late December, and 'Hiemalis' managed it this year after a couple of late seasons (that reduced to to the level of "also ran"). I have a single flower from some rather ordinary bulbs of the species that have never flowered before February in previous years.
'Reverend Hailstone' has been a bit more predictable. I bought it in 2010 because I liked the size of the flower and it has managed to produce them at the start of January since them. It has also grown vigorously and increased so that I now have a nice clump. It was found at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, the source of a number of good snowdrops.

6th January 2013

Camellia 'Glenn's Orbit'
I was surprised to find flowers on 'Glenn's Orbit'. Last week I had 'Show Girl', which I expect to flower early but it usually has the stage to itself for a few weeks before the others join in.
'Glenn's Orbit' is a seedling from 'Donation' and I prefer it. It has a softer salmon shade in the flower, it is less regularly double and less floriferous which improve its garden performance. There are single flowered forms of C. x williamsii that flower from November onwards so it shouldn't be a surprise but I saw it from a distance and assumed it was a dead leaf. It is one of a group of Camellia that were planted ten years ago and are starting to have an impact after standing around the place in pots for rather too long. They were put in to act as a windbreak at ground level, as the canopy of the trees rose.
A couple of years ago I was siezed by a grandiose plan to create a Camellia walk, and planted a second row on the other side of the path. So far they are rather small and my delusions of grandeur are punctured by a reality that is frankly ludicrous. It will be another decade before I have to take them seriously.

6th January 2013

Narcissus romieuxii
I have a friend in Berkshire who gardens with intention. That is to say he has an intention, and then he gardens it. I think it would be sensible to collect some Aloes in the greenhouse. He thinks it, and then he does it. I am rendered almost speechless with admiration at the simplicity of the process. This isn't the way things work for me. I am rather fond of the small Narcissus and from time to time I see one for sale in flower in a pot and carry it home. They have accumulated in the greenhouse, and last year I started to plant them out among the Ranunculus ficaria forms on the principle that they wouldn't really interfere with each other.
A few of the more 'alpine' species were left in the greenhouse and in autumn I repotted them and put them all on the same bench for ease of management. I call it my daffodillery.
N.romieuxii comes from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and is unlikely to prosper outside here. It flowers very early in the year and is already repaying me for repotting it with a scattering of buds and a single flower. I seem to have accumulated a small collection, and after the event I become aware of it. Now I have a place to put them, I might well keep an eye out for some more.
I don't seem to discover what I am doing until the process is well underway. My garden flowers by unintentional daffodillery. Q.E.D.

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

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