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

20th January 2013

Fascicularia canaliculata canaliculata
I was a little cynical about the value of weather forecasts last week but I have to admit they got it right last night. The first freeze of the season was promised, and it arrived. Time will tell if it was significant or not. There is a thin crust of ice on a bucket of water. The Hedychium in the greenhouse look undamaged but there is a faint whiff of boiled sprouts and dandelion coffee suggesting that they may collapse later as it warms up. Some bedding Pelargoniums outside are frozen in the illusion of beauty, like a fading star filled with Botox but they are never going to flower again.
I wasn't expecting to find a Fascicularia in full bloom. It usually manages a burst of colour in the autumn. The leaf rosettes flush red and then for a few days they are filled with strange blue flowers. This year there were rosettes of different sizes all trying to bloom, and the smallest of them have only just made it. The leaves have hardly coloured at all, probably because of low light and low temperatures.
I had planned to move a piece to the top of the garden. I have an old pine tree that is bare at the base but open to the sunny south and I thought the Fascicularia might like the dry conditions and the overhead protection. I suppose the only way to find out is to try it. Sometime in spring (note the vagueness that accompanies a lack of enthusiasm) I will wrap myself in stout clothing and prepare to wrestle it into pieces.

20th January 2013

Nerine undulata 'Winter Sun'
The seasons seem to fly by and always offer the satisfying promise of better things to come. It should be very calming, but somehow there is never enough time. I spent most of the day yesterday carrying things to the top of the garden muttering **** **** **** ****! in a wheezing mechanical voice (you can read that as puff puff puff puff! if you choose). I dread the arrival of cold weather though I couldn't tell you why, it clears the garden of clutter and nonsense. There is a short pause while it seems to catch its breath and then the new season arrives. I like to use the gap to get some of the structural tasks done - level ground, move paths remove unwanted trees and all the rest of it. The new season looms. I haven't got enough done and I have started to dread the departure of cold weather.
Fortunately there is always something laughing at me from another season. This Nerine is a new selection that flowers in January, long after the others have finished. Last week I sowed the ripe seed from the hybrids and yesterday I wrapped the plants in fleece to keep the frost off just as the flowers on this were opening. It has been suggested that it is a hybrid between N.undulata and N.bowdenii but I haven't been able to find any hard information so for the moment I am happy to treat is as a selection of the species.

20th January 2013

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'
The Hamamelis aren't going to be bothered by a bit of cold weather, they will start to go over as soon as it warms up. Most of them have done well, and from time to time I bump into the drifting fragrance at the top of the garden. As they get bigger no doubt it will increase. I planted a few new ones last year as tiny sticks, and without exception they have died. I should have kept them in pots until they were bigger and I won't make the same mistake again.
The first of the red flowered cultivars to open was 'Ruby Glow'. It has always been a bit paler than the name seems to promise so I was pleased when the first flowers glowed like strawberry jam on a hot crumpet but it has faded now, and I have to accept that 'Diane' is a brighter plant with a duller name. It is a magnificent thing up close, or with the sun highlighting the flowers. At a distance the red and brown tones fade away like the Cheshire Cat , leaving nothing but the smell.

20th January 2013

Helleborus foetidus 'Chedglow'
The garden is currently filled with Hellebores and Snowdrops and I seem to have avoided them this week in favour of the freakish accidents of the season. This is a picture of a Hellebore doing exactly as expected.
The seed starts to germinate in the first weeks of the new year just as the flowers open on the parent plants. It always fills me with joy to see them emerge from the ground. In some ways I prefer it to seeing the flowers open. These could all grow up to be wonderful and it is still too soon to think otherwise. As they get bigger some will have fat rounded leaflets that promise perfect rounded flowers and some will be rather less corpulent. I am always late collecting the seed in May. Grubbing around under the plants to find it once it has fallen is a pleasant enough amusement for a sunny afternoon in late spring. I have grandiose plans for little muslin bags to protect the seed pods but somehow it doesn't happen. I end up mixing all the seed together and sorting the plants out when they flower.
I collected the seed from 'Chedglow' while I was wandering around doing something summery last year and put it in my pocket. I didn't find it again for a few days and then just threw it on top of the other Hellebore seed because I couldn't think of anything better to do. This little golden seedling tells me that it wasn't a bad move and that I will be getting the baby 'Chedglow' I was hoping for.

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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