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

29th September 2013

Hippeastrum x acramannii
A week of fog and mist has left the garden feeling wet without actually being wet. No appreciable rain has fallen but it is warm, dank and sweaty. I lie in bed in the mornings, poised to leap forth and face the day, think about the fog condensing on me and turn over again. Leaping forth is very easy to postpone.
This Hippeastrum is making a really startling show in the greenhouse, and I'm tempted to leave it at that.
There are two names in circulation, H. x acramannii and H. x ackermannii. There are two plants in circulation, this one is pure red, flowers in autumn and grows through the winter. It may be slightly scented, but not in a way that can be detected on a sunday morning in the swirling fog. The other has small red and white flowers.
The plants and the names may be connected in some way that I have been unable to determine with any sense of conviction or the plants may just be random seedlings and the names entirely fictional.
A good plant at a good time of the year, it anyone else has the enthusiasm to beat themselves around the head with Hippeastrum flowers to make some sense of it, I salute you (please video it for YouTube).

29th September 2013

Scilla lingulata
Autumn bulbs are popping up all around. Last week I made a point of checking the pot of Scilla lingulata and there was nothing to see except the tips of the leaves at the surface of the compost. This week I was shocked to find it in full flower.
I am currently working my way through all of the bulbs, repotting and sorting them. There is a group of almost hardy autumn flowering bulbs that I had hoped to deal with before they flowered. Unfortunately it hasn't happened and they will have to be fed and watered where they are for a few months yet while I try to make space in a greenhouse that is already overfull.
I find this one of the most satisfying Scilla. It has tidy but substantial leaves that are in proportion with the flowers. S.autumnalis is a wonderful thing, but it flowers in July and August, before the first Cyclamen and before I want to think about mists and mellow fruitfulness.
The species comes from North Africa, and in the recent revision of Scilla it has become Hyacinthoides lingulata (and S.autumnalis has become Prospero autumnale).

29th September 2013

Colchicum 'Waterlily'
Two or three weeks ago I siezed the opportunity to mow all of the meadow and rough grass about the place, knowing that damp weather would inevitably arrive. With half a thought on the Colchicum I mowed over the Hellebore bed. I was worried about cutting all their leaves off so early in the year but I know from past experience that the Colchicum need to emerge from short grass or they are lost.
In the event, it was the ony opportunity I had so I am glad I took it. I think the Hellebores had completed their growth for the season and I will have to wait for the spring to find out if I am right.
I'm not sure why I bother, because the Colchicum haven't been a great success growing among the Hellebores. It was one of those good ideas that turned out rather differently. Last year I started to plant Colchicum under some small shrubs, and already I am happier with the result. I am thinking about digging these few bulbs up while they are in flower and moving them somewhere more appropriate. They won't start to produce roots for a few more weeks so they would move with minimum disturbance.
'Waterlily' is probably the most spectacular double Clochicum when in perfect flower, but I find it falls over very easily (and loses most of its grace in the process). The tall thin floral tube was inherited from C.speciosum 'Album' and cannot support the double flowers from C.autumnale 'Alboplenum'.

29th September 2013

Sansevieria subspicata
The last few years have been hard on the Sansevieria. Most of them come from the warmer and drier parts of Africa and my cold damp garden is not really a suitable place to grow them. They sit in the greenhouse through the summer and then with the arrival of cool night they come indoors. In a good year they get six months of resasonable growing conditions, and spend six months sulking which isn't a good balance.
I have lost quite a lot through the last spell of cold winters, and I have given a number away to people with better facilities. I am left with a handful that are tough enough to put up with the conditions here and dull enough to mean that nobody else wants them. Sad but true.
Sansevieria subspicata has surprised me by laughing in the face of winter (from the safety of a windowsill). I don't think it has ever been frosted, but it would have been close on occasion. Quite remarkable tolerance for a plant from Mozambique and the eastern coast of South Africa. It survives because it is completely dessicated through the winter. I last watered it in July and I won't do it again until it goes back into the greenhouse next spring. It has rewarded my neglect with a flower spike about 30cm long. With the unique eccentricity of its genus it has emerged from the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot which is why I had to hold it over the pots of Pleione to get a picture!

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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