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

28th July 2013

Sanguisorba'Pink Tanna'
Summer. It's a change of mind really, not a change of season. I'm not sure what it was about this week that finally tipped the balance but it might have been the rain. I have been rushing through the spring trying to get jobs done. An endless round of 'have to get this done before the summer...' and all the rest of it. I haven't weeded the herbaceous border (good intentions, but..) and I haven't kept control of the hellebores (again). I promise myself these things are a priority, but the real world doesn't have much time for them. A short burst of rain almost moistened the soil, another last night was so heavy I thought the roof was slipping off. It has been hot, the garden is moist, it is about to explode into uncontrollable growth. It will look impossible, everything will erupt into weeds. All perfectly normal for summer in the garden. Autumn will come, things will slow down and the illusion of control will return. It's summertime. The season to let it happen.
Sanguisorba 'Pink Tanna' doesn't have the deep mahogany flowerheads that make the genus interesting. I'm not really sure why I planted it. I think I just happened to have one. Rabbits chewed it to the ground in the first year and I wasn't too worried. It's a Sanguisorba, it will take a lot more than that to get rid of it.
This year it has burgeoned (be warned, Sanguisorba do that sort of thing) and I'm glad I put it in. It is a pale reminder to sit back and enjoy the season rather than try to fix everything.

28th July 2013

Bupleurum falcatum
The Sickle Leaved Hare's Ear is a thin sometimes short lived perennial with a wide distribution in Europe and Asia. It isn't especially striking and it is almost impossible to get the camera to focus on it, as though the technology is convinced there is something more interesting in the background. I am fond of it because it is part of my childhood exploration of the local flora. It is uncommon in the UK. I say uncommon, I really mean rare, it has one location in the UK. I grew up just down the road from it. First discovered in 1831 it was exterminated by hedge cutting in 1962, but seed had already been collected and it was reintroduced.
I was a charming teenager (as I'm sure you can imagine) who certainly wouldn't have amused himself at the local conservation groups expense. Not by casually mentioning that he hadn't seen any Sickle Leaved Hare's Ears this year. Do you think it is extinct? I can't imagine any amusement springing from the stampede of blue nylon waterproofs that might follow.
I haven't grown it for years. I saw it on stand at a plant sale and pounced on it with evident glee. The nursery is run by a charming, gracious gentle soul who loves the little wildlings and cherishes them but I still got the perplexed look. It's true, it isn't a spectacular thing and I'm not a teenager any more. There is only the thinnest of connections between the plant and the grin.

28th July 2013

Hedychium densiflorum ADS 582
A large flowered form of the species collected by Tony Schilling in 1965 on the slopes of Phulchoke in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Very like 'Sorung' (collected by Edward Needham) it comes from a lower altitude and there have been suggestions that it is not as hardy. I haven't noticed any difference in the way they perform but they are both in pots, and come into the greenhouse through the winter.
It was a very cold March this year as the Hedychium were starting to grow, and the evergreen forms are a still behind. The deciduous forms were moved into the garden while it was still cold, but have prospered (more light and more water outside). A month without rain in June/July means that the stems are much shorter than usual but they are flowering exactly when expected and they look better with a little less leaf.
The great plan last year was to get the hardy ones planted in the garden and enjoy the trouble free splendour of their flowering. I made a start, but fortunately didn't get very far. Rabbits have chewed the tops off of all the new growth and I must build some more little fences before I plant out the rest.

28th July 2013

Disa Bride's Dream
The Disa are reaching a peak in the greenhouse. I have a lot of new seedlings coming on, and I need more space but I have no idea where it is going to come from. As a result I have been going through the other plants in the greenhouse looking for things that don't really need to be there. It is a useful thing to do from time to time. I have removed a lot of large leafy things that previously served as a background when I wanted to take pictures of the Disa. For some reason I waited until my dinner was in the oven before I decided to paint a piece of board black and make a little photo booth. It all took far longer than expected and dinner was more than optimally cooked. This is the result, and unfortunately I don't like it and will paint it a kinder colour.
Disa Veitchii was the first hybrid raised, registered in 1891, between D.racemosa and D.uniflora. A dozen or so other hybrids were made in the following thirty years and then there is a long gap until the modern era of Disa breeding. Bride's Dream is a modern grex that follows on from the Veitchii original. Although the parentage is quite complex, in effect it is Veitchii crossed back to D.uniflora repeatedly (three generations) and then the seedlings crossed again with Veitchii. Seems like a lot of fuss and bother to me, to get something with no extra genetic material but since my own hybrids can't hold a candle to this I should probably shut up.

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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