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

21st April 2013

Erythronium 'White Beauty'
weather forecasters seem to have become trapped in some kind of trance. "Oh, it might be awful, but then again it might not. You never can tell. That's the thing about weather. Still, better safe than sorry. It might be awful."
But it hasn't been, we have had a week in spring made up of seven spring days. Temperatures went up, birds began to sing and I got out my sun hat. I haven't used it yet, but I am ready. It has a good broad brim that deflects the rain just in case it turns out awful.
I wandered up into the garden looking for something photogenic and a tiny speck of white caught my eye in the distance. I didn't need to guess, I knew that the Erythronium had opened. I have about a dozen flowers, it is a tiny miracle of poise and elegance, and this is the best picture I can manage. It will stay in flower for a few weeks and I will get time to repeat the attempt until I get it right. As with snowdrops, good pictures come as a result of care, focus and sustained stooping.

21st April 2013

Camellia 'Italiana'
Camellias are a different prospect to photograph. They sit in front of the camera like a road sign, staunchly efficient in their disposition. The art (and I don't claim to have mastered it) is to inject something resembing interest into the pictures. It is just in the nature of the flowers to sit there looking at you. I have been to a couple of Camellia exhibitions this year with rows and rows of flowers in little pots hanging around disinterestedly. They are like the mothers who crowd school gates at the end of the day waiting for their children to be released. Not animated, not surprised, just in the appointed place at the appointed time.
'Italiana' makes it onto the page this week because this is the first flower it has produced. I haven't been jumping up and down with excitement. It's time has come and here it is.

21st April 2013

Romulea bulbocodium
Romulea is a genus with two significant attributes. Gorgeous silky petals and unstoppable weediness. A few years ago I had a moment for them and grew a lot from seed. Those that flowered were magnificent, some of them were correctly named, and many of them turned out to be slightly tender in the rather extreme winters we have had recently. A few start in the autumn but the majority come in the new year and through until about May. On the whole I like them in the same way I like christmas cake. A delight around christmas but by the end of january I have had enough of it.
Those that have survived sit on a bench at the end of the greenhouse. Without conscious intention I have moved them to the far corner where I fee less guilty about ignoring them. It has been a cold spring, they were late to produce leaves and there was a weekend in february when I nearly got out the wheelbarrow and threw the whole lot on the compst heap. It didn't happen, but it was close. A few purple flowers now will cheer me up but there will be a day in july when the tatty leaves have dried to tatty straw and who knows what will happen. Will I want christmas cake in july or space on the bench?

21st April 2013

Magnolia x proctoriana
Just as when photographing Erythronium or Galanthus, it all hinges on the moment. The right thing at the right time. The magnolias demonstrate the point to perfection. When the first flowers open the tree is grey with the silky buds, odd tufts of white petals dusting the topmost branches. Given some warmth they continue to open and the perfection of the spectacle increases. There is always a day when a stiff wind or an april shower starts to damage the petals which get little brown marks on them and the perfection is lost, the moment has gone. It doesn't matter how many open after that, they are never quite as fresh again.
Magnolia x proctoriana is wonderful and I took this picture knowing how fleeting the moment can be. This one is vulnerable to the wind. A few good gusts rocking the branches and the petals start to fall until they cover the ground like the puddle of mud round a duck pond. All squelch and slime and a touch of acridity in the perfumed air. I have had four days of this wonder and I cherish them like snowflakes.

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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