Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
11th August 2013
Oxalis triangularis ssp papilionacea
I live in an old house that needs a certain amount of maintenance to keep it in good condition. I am currently working through the rooms in order dealing with all the problems that have accumulated.
Looking up from my desk there are two cracks in the ceiling radiating out from the wall. A short section of the plaster moulding beneath them is out of alignment.
They aren't recent cracks, there are several layers of repainting covering them. I must have done it myself several times but I think I bought the defect with the house. In the distant past
someone was doing something with the floorboards upstairs and put too much weight on the ceiling, cracking it and displacing the moulding. Old houses have stories to tell and in this case it shows that somebody didn't
quite know how to fix it. They repaired the floorboards and swept it under the carpet. Now I understand it, I will fix it. I can't imagine why I didn't do it earlier.
I keep finding things I have swept under the carpet. Little treasures stored away beyond awareness. I do it in the greenhouse as well.
This Oxalis was a jolly litle thing in a pot when I bought it in May 2003. I wasn't sure how hardy it would be, so I put it under the bench for the winter, and there it has stayed. I knew it was there
(I stood a lot of other Oxalis next to it) but I didn't bring it out again. From time to time I turned a hose on it. It produced a few leaves and the occasional flower but I couldn't think what to do with it.
When I finally cleared out that section of the greenhouse I was quietly hoping it had died. It hadn't. A few wisps of stalk demonstrated that it was a survivor. I have replanted it in a nice big pot in the
sun among the Agave and it has responded with magnificent beauty.
I can't imagine why I didn't do it earlier.
11th August 2013
Roscoea auriculata 'White Cap'
I suppose it isn't possible to do everything (though I am obstinate enough to try). While I have been clearing the greenhouse, the shade border has been neglected. It is only annual weed, but the time has come to remove it.
The ground should be cleaned up while the snowdrops are still sleeping or they will be damaged, and the Celandines will start to produce new leaves in a couple of months. It is also time to remove the seed heads from
the Roscoea before the orgy of anonymous sex that goes on between them creates even more confusion.
I have a number of purple flowered plants that are not what they claim on the label and I don't want any more for the moment. Fortunately this one is true to name and has managed the transition from greenhouse to garden
without losing its label.
The Roscoea are a little awkward to maintain. They produce leaves when all the other plants in the border are dying down. I tried to get around it by planting them all together in a patch
that I could weed in spring when they are dormant. It makes the management easier, and they clearly like to have friends. My goodness they are friendly with eachother. Certainly time to remove the seed heads.
11th August 2013
I am a firm believer in the importance of logic and the value of reasoning. As a result I am regularly led astray by things that seem like a good idea at the time. Things that sound so sensible
in the euphoric hours between intention and execution. I kept ducks once. Someone had told me they did an excellent job eating slugs in the garden. They had neglected to mention the mud, the mess,
the sheer volume of excrement that an enthusiastic duck can produce. They were delightful. They were found a new home. I still remember it as the summer of poo.
Aren't climbers wonderful. They occupy almost no space and add a three-dimensional element to the garden. They decorate walls and add another season of interest to trees and shrubs.
I still haven't learn't to shun good ideas and that one is especially pernicious. I have a north facing shed wall that would be a perfect home for some Clematis. They could grow up the wall
and flower across the roof in summer. It would be lovely. I bought some Clematis and then realised that the wall should be repaired and repainted before I planted them, so they went out into the herbaceous border
to trail decoratively (another piece of good sounding hogwash). 'Justa' has been the most successful, though it sulked until I gave it a tripod to climb up.
'Warszawska Nike' went in at the base of a purple leaved plum and has ascended to the canopy (beyond mortal ken). Every year I get to appreciate the season when it is probably flowering above me
and gaze in wonder at the beautiful peeling bark of its climbing grey stem.
Shed repaired and painted have I learnt a lesson. Have I duck poo!
The latest wave of new Clematis to plant on the shed wall are currently in large pots under the greenhouse bench. There is something irresistable about a good idea that defies reason.
11th August 2013
Hedychium spicatum from Tibet
Hedychiums do it for me. I don't know what it is and I don't know why they do it, but they do. I have been planting the toughest of them out in the garden, but it hasn't been going well.
The rabbits have been grazing the shoots off as they emerge and it is all very disheartening. Fortunately new things are still being introduced. I bought this last year as
Hedychium spicatum from Tibet and wasn't entirely convinced by the foliage. Now it has flowered it seems to be a form of the highly variable H.densiflorum. The creamy
yellow flowers are rather attractive, the heads less densely packed than 'Stephen' and the individual flowers rather larger.
I like it, but then I like them all.
If I ask myself where it is going to go (when it grows beyong the reasonable confines of a pot) I find I don't have an answer yet. Perhaps if I put it aside for a bit
an answer will emerge. It is much more reliable than thinking up a good idea. Perhaps it would grow well on the north wall of the shed, and cover the naked stems of the Clematis?
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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