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

17th March 2013

Helleborus x hybridus Green Double
Spring is packed with sensational moments that will be remembered forever. The cold snap at the start of the week featured the coldest March day for 27 years. Fortunately in the context of spring, 'forever' means 'until next week'. I have been impressed that people have remembered last year when temperatures were in the high teens and everybody was talking about drought (ha ha). They have forgotten that temperatures in the last week of February and the first few days of March didn't rise above zero in much of the country. The drought threatening tropical fortnight that followed was quite sudden.
The cold was well forecast, so it shouldn't have caught anybody by surprise. I rummaged around under the bench in the greenhouse and found some bits of fleece to scatter about but my heart wasn't in it. As a consequence I forgot Podachaenium eminens and only time will tell if it is to be listed with the wounded or the dead. It is no longer green in those parts that would normally be.
The big surprise came from the Hellebores which all took some damage. This green double survived under a conifer but most of the flowers collapsed and it is clear that the stems aren't going to recover. I don't think I will be getting much seed this year although late flowers are still a possibility.

17th March 2013

Freesia viridis
At the beginning of March I uncovered everything in the greenhouse. The fleece came off the Nerine. The Agapanthus and cycads came out from under the bench and I announced spring unilaterally. The cold snap made it through the doorway (I don't have a door) but not far inside.
Freesia viridis is late this year. I was expecting to find it in January and it wasn't there. I make a point of looking because it flowers almost invisibly among the leaves of the winter growing bulbs. It isn't colourful, it isn't particularly scented, some would say it isn't even a Freesia but it grows and flowers and shakes its tiny defiant fist at the worst of winter.
The species comes from the western Cape and if its behaviour in cultivation is any guide it grows wherever the seed falls (no need to worry about the seed that falls on stony ground, that all comes up as well). In habitat it is said to be pollinated by night flying moths. I didn't go down to the greenhouse in the night, but I don't think I missed anything. These flowers will self pollinate and any reckless moth that emerged to fly on the coldest March night for 27 years will just have to live (briefly) with the sense of futility.

17th March 2013

Anemone nemorosa 'Hooe Pink'
The big surprise in the garden was the appearance of the first flowers on Anemone nemorosa. I have been uncovering the emerging shoots for a couple of weeks now whenever I am weeding but I hadn't noticed any buds. 'Pink' is a shorthand description for these colour forms. A great many of them have been named but they aren't very distinct. Flowers start white, develop some pinkish hues and once the stamens fall and the flower finishes the tepals darken to a dull mahogany purple that possibly sounds attractive in some descriptions.
'Hooe Pink' was found in a wood in Sussex and follows the typical pattern. Possibly it has a more rounded flower than some of them and in some years it remains in the intermediate 'pink' phase for longer than others but if you mixed them all together you wouldn't waste a moment of your life attempting to separate them again. The wonder of the plant is simply the pure joy of Anemone nemorosa like driving a brand new car away from the dealers with all the delight and promise that it represents for the future.
The little bit extra you get by selecting 'Hooe Pink'? Imagine driving your shiny new car and a pigeon craps on it. That is the little bit extra.

17th March 2013

Tulbaghia simmleri
Regular readers might have noticed that Tulbaghia 'Moshoeshoe' was the latest update to the site for weeks and weeks. When I actually updated the page, this flower spike was just emerging and it has survived the winter period undamaged to open for spring. I have just watered all the Tulbaghias for the first time this year and already the new growth is starting to appear along with these flowers. I have also managed to add something new to the site in the form of Abutilon megapotamicum.
Just before Christmas some changes were introduced in the default values used by web browsers, particularly related to Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8. It is all extremely boring but long story short, all my web pages went bonkers. I have spent the last 10 weeks going through the index one page at a time fixing things. Very dull, but delightfully now finished. In theory every page is now bright and shining and if not new, at least back to the way it should be!
I have celebrated with a picture of a Tulbaghia that I will consign to the archive next week, and a new Abutilon ready for the summer.

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.
If you want to contact me, the address is infoMONKEYjohnjearrard.co.uk
When typing the address in, please replace MONKEY with the more traditional @ symbol! I apologise for the tiresome performance involved, but I am getting too much spam from automated systems as a result of having an address on the front page.