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

21st July 2013

Rosa filipes'Toby Tristram'
Another hot week in the garden - which is an uncommon phrase. I don't recall seeing things as dry as this before. Not in the screaming newsworthy sense of "The driest July 21st since the creation of the sun" but still quite dry. Some of the Roscoea have curled leaves as they try to conserve moisture. There has been a strong wind for the last day or so, and it is unlikely to be a sign of stable conditions. A drop of rain would be welcome.
I have been watching the buds of 'Toby Tristram' develop for a month. It cascades down the wall by my back door and the long shoots wave about in the wind snagging me as I pass. I enjoy the massed flowering, even though it is brief, so I leave it alone except for the occasional wayward shoot that is foolish enough to hit me in the face. I want some more plants so I should cut them and root them. Well, I do the first part.
In a slow cool year the flowers open with a blush tint and fade to white over a few days. This year it has been more or less white from the start. Hot weather and strong winds - it will shortly be confetti.

21st July 2013

Crocosmia 'Shocking'
A big orange splash in the herbaceous border warns that the Crocosmia have started. Much like the rest of the garden, it needs to be weeded but I went off on a foolish holiday for a few days so it will have to wait. Nice weather in the evenings for some gentle weeding although it is noticeable that the nights are drawing in. I was watering the greenhouse at 9.30 yesterday evening and I was mostly guessing where the pots were.
As Crocosmia go, 'Shocking' is a perfectly respectable orange and if orange was an uncommon colour it would be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately it is difficult find a good reason for it among the invasive hordes of orange Crocosmia today. It is well built, without being fat, and it doesn't pick its nose (sturdy, good habit).
The best thing about it is the name. Herbaceous borders cry out for a giant Amorphophallus or a naked lady in a bath but instead we get garden half-wits who take a shot of whiskey in their camomile tea to give them the courage to pretend to be designers. Ho-ho-hopeless.
Whoops, slipped off topic for a moment, but how timid have we become when a Crocosmia being orange is described as 'Shocking'?

21st July 2013

Utricularia inflata
Back to the calming limpid waters of the hardy Sarracenia beds where the sparkling sky cascades down the hill from pool to pool. A dozen black plastic trays that overflow into eachother but no need to spoil the illusion. I had to top them up this week for the first time this year. Usually the rainfall is sufficient and when I am safely wrapped in the drizzle of winter I promise myself I am never going to water them. Sarracenia dry out in habitat. They are adapted to it as they are adapted to the grass fires that sweep across the coastal plains of the eastern USA clearing away the competing scrub. In winter I am quite determined to let them dry out in the middle of summer if we don't get rain and see what happens.
Summer is another matter. Standing there with a cooling hose in the baking sun it is impossible not to water them.
All of which is a good thing. I don't grow many aquatic Utricularia. Those I have are thrown into the water trays and left to get on with it. I had assumed they were all dead by now but this bright yellow flower, and the inflated flower scape that supports it, shows that one at least has survived. I will sort out a few strands of growth and move it into some new water trays to spread the risk of seasonal dessication.

21st July 2013

Philesia magellanica
I have a shady garden, so plants that like shady conditions should be well suited but there is a problem of courage. Last time I planted Philesia in the open ground it slowly faded away. Admittedly it was a tiny plant in an unsuitable location, but it left me feeling a bit nervous. I get the same problem with Agapetes, which are still struggling in pots long after they should have gone out. Every year I plan to plant them, and every year I think of something better to do first. This year at least I have got them into the ground in the shade house and hopefully that will give me the confidence needed for the next step.
This was my replacement for the dwindled Philesia and I sat it in a corner (slightly reverentially) and left it to its own devices. The pink flower was a surprise last year and it has repeated it this. I was expecting a stronger red, and now I will have to find someone with another clone for comparison.

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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