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

17th February 2013

Galanthus nivalis 'Scharlockii'
A dry week in the garden and some sunny spells. The greenhouse hasn't started to warm up yet but I could feel the heat in a friends poly-tunnel so it isn't far away. Plants in the garden have certainly started to move. During the darkest months flowers seem to open and then stand still for weeks. Spring expressed as a still life, a stationary signpost to the season. Now things are moving there is a sense of direction. Flowers that are opening will soon start to fade and be replaced. Slow contemplation gives way to the chaos to come.
Galanthus 'Scharlockii' is one of the later snowdrops to emerge. The translucent bracts at the top of the scape have become tall, green and leafy. When introduced from europe it was thought to be a single clone but there are many slight variations in cultivation. Recent research (plodding through field and forest) has shown that the original location is home to a diverse population of snowdrops in which strange green ears are not uncommon.

17th February 2013

Galanthus nivalis 'Doncaster's Double Scharlock'
Last year I managed to obtain a bulb of Amy Doncaster's double flowered "Scharlockii". It has grown well and produced a couple of flowers though the bracts are rather small. I am hoping that big ears will develop with time.
On thursday I was at a snowdrop event and saw a flower of 'Extreme Scharlock', a recent selection that has three bracts instead of the usual two. It went onto my list of things to look out for in future. It is said to be stable and reliable and if it was a politician, I would vote for it. Three ears, all the better to hear you with (said the wolf). Unfortunately 'Extreme Politician' is not quite as comforting.

17th February 2013

Galanthus 'Silverwells'
Do snowdrops come in hordes? Difficult to say, but there are certainly a lot of good, vigorous large flowered indistinguishable cultivars about. In this case it is not only indistinguishable it is probably not distinct but part of a galanthophiles party game called "Pin the name on the Atkinsii". A little over a hundred years ago a large snowdrop was introduced and distributed initially by Atkins. At the time it was thought to be an Italian snowdrop which were very fashionble under the name of Galanthus Imperati. It was noted that plants occasionally produced flowers with four outer petals instead of three. It was a jolly good thing and distributed widely.
People got it into their heads that that there was an unstable form that sometimes produced four petals and a good sturdy reliable (and by implication less wicked) form that produced three. The unstable form was named 'James Backhouse' and the stable one 'Moccas' (later changed back to'Atkinsii'). Sadly, I think there is just a single plant. It occasionally produced four petals and that's all there is to it. Up and down the country people have found jolly good snowdrops in old gardens that occasionally produce an extra petal. And they have named them.
'Moccas' (= 'Atkinsii'), 'Lyn' (='Atkinsii'), Limetree (='Atkinsii') and we now know it isn't even G. nivalis from Italy. It is a selection of the hybrid G. (nivalis x plicatus).
And the reason for all of this you might ask?
'Silverwells' (='Atkinsii').

17th February 2013

Galanthus nivalis 'Elfin'
Bigger is best, and so is smaller. It is a curious contradiction. It applies to cars - people like very big ones, they like very small ones and in the middle sizes nobody much cares. It applies to plants, computers, dogs and a host of other things with the exception of puddings where it seems size and quality have become indistinguishable attributes.
I was told about a selection of G.elwesii that can grow to almost two feet tall. I don't wish to express an opinion, so I'll stick with "Golly !".
Small snowdrops have an undeniable charm and 'Elfin' seems to be the cultivar of the moment. The green tips to the outer segments helps to add distinction. A decade or so ago it was 'Tiny Tim' tantalising the short sighted but it turns out that Tim grows rather easily and nothing kills a snowdrops appeal like availability. Like all the smallest snowdrops it looks best in a pot where it seems precious. In the ground they bulk into tussocky clumps like an undistinguished grass on a bad hair day.

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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