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

7th April 2013

Galanthus 'Midge'
Spring continues to wander through the garden without much sense of direction. Cold winds from the east are doing more damage to young growth than the occasional frosty night but among the huffing and puffing there have been some magnificent spring days.
I visited Cornwall Garden Society's spring show yesterday, the sun shone, temperatures rose and it was almost summery. I walked around for a couple of hours and wished I had remembered to take a sun hat. Today the wind picked up and I imagine they spent the day trying to hold the tents down. Nothing made it to the local news so I'm sure it was all fine.
I had promised myself that I wasn't going to come back with anything so that I could concentrate on the garden instead of looking for spaces to plant new things but I was waylaid by a new green primrose. Fortunately I was carrying a camera so I was only able to carry one handful of bags back to the car. Surprisingly I found a couple of new snowdrops to bring home. It has been an extended season and I was tempted to spend this week showing snowdrops here. There are about half-a-dozen still in flower but I took the photographs and then found too many other interesting things.
'Midge' made it onto the page because it reminds me of my late aunt who wore a bright pink cardigan and was photographed with her magnificent orange Azalea and a smile that didn't need words. The snowdrop has nothing to do with her, they just share a nickname.
I understand that it came from a garden in Lincolnshire. I bought it from Joe Sharman a couple of years ago and at that time it was easy to confuse them - they both had a single nose. Since then the difficulty has been resolved by the plants vigour.

7th April 2013

Erythronium 'Margaret Mathew'
Last summer I spent a happy half day planting out a drift of Erythronium 'White Beauty' because I was certain that it would be delightful. I am still certain that it will be delightful and I am still waiting. The leaves started to emerge a month ago but it has been dry and they have been slow to develop. I have been watching the tiny buds swelling between the leaves and willing them to open. While I was fully engaged in the futile task of flower charming, 'Margaret Mathew' opened.
Raised by E.B.Anderson around 1956 and numbered EBA 4656 it was named by Kath Dryden about ten years ago. It is thought to be a hybrid between E.oregonum and E.tuolumnense and is becoming more easily available. I planted a single tuber last year because a drift was out of the question - it is available but it isn't cheap.
I am building up a tiny collection of Erythronium next to the snowdrops. They are a bit later to emerge and a bit later to flower, but both groups die down in mid-summer which makes it easier to control the weeds. New hybrids are appearing all the time and at the moment I am happy to find space for them. They all flower more or less together and like the snowdrops once the season is over they can be ignored for the rest of the year.

7th April 2013

Chionodoxa forbesii
I have a little patch of rough grass outside the front door that has had a complicated cultural history. From time to time I get enthusiastic about the idea of planting some precious little tuft of vegetation out there, usually with the idea of cheering up winter or spring as I come in and out. Nothing seems to stay there for long. After a season or two I dig things up and allow the grass to return. It gets rather ragged because I dont like to mow it. Primroses seed through it in spring and some of the things that were planted weren't so easily removed. The leaves of Arisarum proboscideum are pushing though it and I was looking to see if the tiny flowers were emerging. No sign yet, but between the primroses and the Arisarum leaves the ground is studded with little blue Chionodoxa stars.
They went in twenty years ago, when I had a raised bed on the site and grew a collection of dwarf forms of Ilex crenata in it. The Chionodoxa were added to distract attention from the hollies, which rapidly started to resemble unclipped topiary and demonstrate that even dwarf hollies can have grand ambitions. They have all been dug up and moved, as have the Azaleas that followed them, the Hellebores and most recently the tulips (that were allowed to fade away by themselves). Even the raised bed was lowered. Now it has all returned to grass and little blue stars. I have a hankering for gravel and pots of succulents, but I'm not going to give in to it.
In the meantime I have a few bulbs of Chionodoxa forebesii growing in a pot that I had planned to give away but never quite got around to it.
They came in a packet labelled C.luciliae and I think they are a selected form of C.forbesii but the names of these small bulbs are still quite confused and I am not the person to deconfuse them. The RHS held a trial recently to sort out the names. They called it the trial of small blue blulbs. I may be ignorant but I am not alone.

7th April 2013

Pleione Adams
In the garden spring is crawling along but the greenhouse plants started to grow as soon as the March sun appeared. The Pleione seem to have more flower buds this year than I have seen before. A quick trip to the local Orchid Society show gave a flower packed demonstration of what can be done with a heated greenhouse. I can envy the plants but I don't miss the fuel bill. I am planning to spend the savings on - more Pleione!
Pleione Adams is a grex raised by Ian Butterfield and named in 1999. It has a complex parentage which includes P.bulbocodioides, P.formosana, P.limprichtii, P.forrestii, and P.albiflora. There is potential for flowers in almost any colour (white, pink or yellow) but so far I have not seen any cultivars named, just this rather intensely coloured representative of the grex. It was a small bulb when I got it and it has grown slowly over the last few years. Richer treatment last season has benefitted it and it is now looking strong (for the first time).
The week to come is promising some rain and if it falls gently the garden will benefit - hailstones blowing horizontally from the east will not be quite so welcome. It is increasingly satisfying to have a corner of the greenhouse where the Pleione can create an artificial spring when the one outside is delayed.

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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