Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
6th October 2013
Hedychium gardnerianum 'Pallidum'
The mists of autumn finally congealed into something a bit more solid and the middle of the week was rained off. Just before it started I was given a big bag of Iris ensata
rhizomes and I spent most of Thursday hoping for a gap in the rain so that I could plant them. Unfortunately it didn't appear, and the Iris had to sit around for a day
until it stopped. There is something very frustrating about watching that amount of water fall and still having to stomp around with a can watering things in.
I spent a large part of last winter juggling things in the Hedychium house. I had run out of space, and something had to change. In the end I put most of the deciduous forms outside
and they have grown well, as have a few evergreens that I put out with them so I think more will be going out next year. I have plans for a grand 'Hedychium shelter' to store them in through the winter, but as yet
it is just a grand plan.
A bit more space in the greenhouse has been a good thing and I have taken some trees down on the western side, which lets the evening light in. The plants have responded by having a rather pathetic year,
but that is the nature of improvements. They need a full growing season to settle in.
'Pallidum' came from the USA and is a nice selection of H.gardnerianum without being exceptional. It isn't especially pale but perhaps the shade of yellow is softer than many. The column is a bold, striking orange
and the plant is vigorous and compact so it makes a good show. One to enjoy because it's astonishing, not because it's the most astonishing.
6th October 2013
Nerine 'Salmon Supreme'
This summer has seen the same sort of reorganisation going on among the Nerine. I has been at least three years since I repotted them and I keep adding new cultivars and planting pots of seed.
The greenhouse was slowly turning into one of those 'nests' that lonely old people make where all the space is filled with stuff, piled in tottering towers, all too precious to throw away.
Fortunately I still have sufficient marbles to recognise a problem drifting out of control and do something about it.
Everything is being repotted and the largest pots have been stood on the ground. Unfortunately, larger pots means fewer plants will fit. I finished potting the Nerine and had to stop for a week or two to think about it
(I went and repotted the Clivia instead). My neighbours cat has visited and left little presents in the new pots, just to emphasise that I have dropped myself in it!
'Salmon Supreme' has been vigourous and I had to cut the old pot off to get it out. Forget acting when the roots show out of the drainage holes, I had waited until the plastic pot was wrapped round the bulb like a
lycra body warmer. It will appreciate some extra space.
6th October 2013
Hedychium urophyllum has been one of the best recent introductions. This is probably a collection from the Heronswood/Crug Farm expedition to North Vietnam in 1999 but it had lost
its collection data by the time it came to me.
It is a very striking plant, the bright red pseudostems and bracts contrast with the green leaves and make a strong statement through the growing season. I have seen pictures of forms
with greener stems but it is difficult to know if it is a consequence of natural variability or just different growing conditions. It has flowered here for several years but I have yet
to get any seed set. It may be that it flowers too late in the year for the seed capsules to develop.
If this is the Heronswood/Crug collection then it is HWJ 604 (and the H.maximum I grow under that number should be HWK 684).
The flowering heads will continue to produce occasional flowers for a couple of weeks and the plant will remain attractive until the first frosts.
6th October 2013
Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis'
The autumn flowering cherry is one of my favourite plants, and yet I seem to have less and less of it every year. I have planted seven of them in the garden, and because I have so many I haven't
worried if one of them has to be removed. Last year I was left with one good tree, which flowered from October through to March. This year I have removed some trees to the west of the Hedychium house
and in the process my whole cherry became a half (a felled Leyland crashed into one side of it and ripped off all the branches). The half tree that remains has flowered as though nothing had happened, and
it has enough light and air to outgrow the damage. Fortunately this one was grown from a cutting, so if I have to I can cut it back to a stump and allow it to regrow without having to worry about a rootstock.
In general flowering cherries don't do well here. The soil and the atmosphere are too moist. The wind is too strong. My Apricots had to come out when they were infected with silver leaf.
'Kanzan' struggles to fight off the collection of fungi that are determined to kill it.
P.subhirtella has been an exception. It has remained healthy and flowered reliably, so it is possible that the time has come to plant some new ones.
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.
I have a lot of good intentions when it comes to updating this site, and I try to keep a note
about what is going on, if you are interested.
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