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

17th November 2013

Elaeagnus x ebbingii 'Limelight'
I feel as though I have hardly spent any time in the garden this week. The evenings have drawn in and I have been forced to abandon my usual habit of pottering around out there for an hour at the end of the day. In the summer it is delightful to walk around the garden after dark but now it is just miserable, full of cold, wet shrubs to walk into and slippery paths to tumble on. I was out there at three-o-clock yesterday afternoon, but I was really thinking about sitting in front of the fire with a cup of tea.
I was walking through the garden grumbling about the badgers. They are tearing great channels through the grass, and have now started digging in tubs to get the worms. I was pulled up by a sudden waft of sweetness, the appealing side of Elaeagnus x ebbingii 'Limelight'. It is a large and needlessly vigorous shrub that produces long arching stems that hook themselves through trees in a tiresome way. The yellow variegation has the sort of cheer that might be offered by a garrulous aunt to a teenager who has just failed a driving test. It means well, but you wish it wouldn't.
If I had managed to find a good reason, this one would have been removed on several occasions in the last decade but it has never really been in the way. My reward is a faint waft of sweetness when I was stomping about. I would have liked to inhale a good lungful but it isn't that generous. I was left with just a suggestion of vanilla cheesecake.
A cup of tea, a warm fire and a jolly good suggestion.

17th November 2013

Impatiens cymbifera
My house is built on a level platform that has been cut into the side of the hill. It was done a century ago by a man with a spade and I can empathise with him. I dug a similar platform for my first greenhouse and it took months. As a consequence I have a towering slope outside my back door that keeps the sun from the west of the house. It is dank and sheltered and much loved by Impatiens cymbifera. It would cheerfully clothe the entire space with its shiny green leaves and deny me access. The flowers are a wonderful reward, but they don't appear until November and by that time I have hacked it back ruthlessly. I suspect that it would invade vigously if I allowed it to escape. In the last three years Impatiens glandulosa has arrived on the main road and is spreading with enthusiasm. I don't want to be responsible for giving it a little friend to play with.
It was introduced by Chris Chadwell from Rohwaling in Nepal under the number CC4980. It looks wonderful illuminated by the low autumn sunlight but there hasn't been any of that this week. I have had to dodge the showers and find ways of convincing an obstinate camera that there really is enough light to take a picture.

17th November 2013

Galanthus reginae-olgae ssp. reginae-olgae
In weeks like this the greenhouse is like a tropical paradise. A magical island of summer surrounded by plastic. It is still warm down there. I have been repotting bulbs and wondering why I have no stamina, start to sweat and feel feeble. It takes a while to realise that I am dressed for blizzard conditions when I really only need a t-shirt (and some lower garments of course, this isn't Guildford).
The autumn snowdrops are putting on a good show this year. G. reginae-olgae is significant for the autumn flowering habit. There is a spring flowering form, G. reginae-olgae ssp. vernalis which looks just like G.nivalis in February and is therefore not significant, at least in garden terms.
I have only really succeeded with it under cover. I have seen it in other gardens outside, but I think it needs a warmer summer than I get if it is to prosper. To be honest, I would rather enjoy it wearing a t-shirt in my plastic paradise that kneeling in the sludge and wishing it was dry enough to light the bonfire.

17th November 2013

Mahonia x media 'Buckland'
One of the tasks of the week has been the fond farewell. I have spent the year planting things in the greenhouse where there is finally enough space for them to prosper. Many of the things I have planted are borderline hardy at best but I have arrived at the point where I am not prepared to struggle to overwinter things indoors. They don't like it, I don't like it.
The consequence is that a lot of things have grown magnificently and won't be there in the spring. I have been wandering around making my peace with the doomed. The process was triggered by Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies' which is perfectly hardy but needed to be planted. Out came the dead stump of M.pallida, which I have been nurturing for two years now in the hope of a miraculous recovery, and in it went. I was sent scurrying to the greenhouse to check the M.pallida under cover (belt and braces) and to look over the promise of seasonal carnage that will probably coincide with Christmas.
It has taken me years to distinguish between 'Charity', 'Lionel Fortescue' and 'Buckland' and I have planted 'Arthur Menzies' to keep from feeling too secure. 'Winter Sun' is still identified by reading the label.
'Buckland' has broad spreading heads of flowers, the individual racemes lie almost flat and then curl up at the tips. The whole head has a broad and expansive look. Like Sleeping Beauty, it is surrounded by a sea of brambles that keep me from getting close enough to check the label, but I am confident.

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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