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

10th November 2013

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Worplesdon'
I have been enjoying the anatomy of the garden being slowly uncovered as autumn strips away the puppy fat of summer. The pleasure has been enforced slightly because my car has been off the road for a few weeks. It is an excellent thing to sit and watch the view change with the season and to enjoy the simple pleasures of the garden.
This Liquidambar survived the winds well enough for colour to seep slowly into it, trickling down from the top like gentle rain.
The moment the car was fixed I was off!
I am very fond of 'Worplesdon'. It achieves a pale scarlet colour that is rare in the wet west. Some of the dwarf Acer palmatum forms can match it but the best of them are little twisted things that look like someone has set fire to an Orc.
In the eastern counties 'Worplesdon' had turned almost black purple, the leaves shining like an oil spill. There is a theory that autumn colour is revealed as the green chlorophyll breaks down and reveals the underlying colour. Hogwash. No amount of chlorophyll could conceal the black leaves of 'Worplesdon' in the east (or perhaps the Royal Horticultural Society has struck oil at Wisley and has hushed it up).

10th November 2013

Nerine 'Jenny Wren'
Among the Nerine sarniensis forms, 'Jenny Wren' kept catching my eye. When I look at it closely there doesn't seem to be anything special about it. It's a pink Nerine (in a sea of pink Nerine), it isn't especially tall or sturdy and it doesn't have many florets in the head. I turn away and it catches my eye again.
I was aware that it was happening but I wasn't making any sense of it.
In Wisley it happened again. I was looking through the display of Nerine in the glasshouse and 'Jenny Wren' stood out. It happened at the Nerine Society AGM. Exbury had mounted a display of outstanding cultivars and there in the middle was 'Jenny Wren'.
On closer inspection it is an unusual pink, without the orange tones usually associated with N.sarniensis, but it is the intensity of the colour that is remarkable. Possibly the small heads make it appear more concentrated. It is pink essence in its undiluted form and like pure vanilla essence it is irresistable without being pleasant.

10th November 2013

Polyxena longituba
Autumn bulbs are doing their best to support my speculative suggestion that winter is an unneccessary concept conjured by those with endogenous misery to express.
The species of Polyxena are all flowering at the moment - I only grow this one but I had already decided to look for some more when I found some plants for sale at the Nerine Society AGM. Job done. The latest review of the genus Lachenalia by Graham Duncan (published by Kew) has transferred all of Polyxena into Lachenalia so this is the start of a long flowering period for the genus that will end some time in April or May. It is not really helpful to divide the genus into 'autumn' and 'spring' forms by imposing a fictional 'winter' in the middle of the flowering season. Winter, with your tiresome chills, I refute you!
It doesn't help my campaign to acknowledge that I really felt the cold when I travelled north. I spoke to people who had scraped the frost from their cars in the morning. Not just wiped it off with a cloth but used a scraper. In my world they could have carried a Polyxena in the car and watch the ice depart into unexistence.
Polyxena longituba is one of the hardiest of the Lachenalia (the taxonomic adjustment will take a while to accept - live with it). It comes from the Roggenveld Plateau in South Africa where temperatures can drop very low for short periods (far lower than my garden ever experiences). First introduced in the 1960's and known informally as "Polyxena odorata", it wasn't rediscovered until 2000 when the current name was published.

10th November 2013

Camellia sasanqua 'Rainbow'
I enjoyed a good selection of autumn flowering Camellia while I was away, but it was nice to come home to one of my own. This small C. sasanqua 'Rainbow' was flowering in the greenhouse, where it is still warm if there is a sunny spell. I have a larger plant outside but I haven't seen flowers on it yet.
It is good to come home and have some time to watch the slowly changing scene in the garden. The flower buds on the Camellia have all started to swell. When I left the buds on 'Show Girl' were narrow and pointy and now they cluster fatly at the tips of the shoots.
C.sasanqua is native to Japan, and 'Rainbow' is an old Japanese selection. The large flowers are a little irregular, the outer tepals marked variably with pink. Modern selections have more rounded flowers and many of them are double. As it grows the bush will fill out into a dense tangle of thin branches but as a youngster it is rather long and whippy.

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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