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

2nd February 2014

Narcissus 'Spring Dawn'
A very pleasant day at the end of a very pleasant week. The sort of day when a sweatshirt earns its name. I was shocked to come in after a day gardening in the sunshine to discover that floods, rainstorms and foundering ships were the lead news stories for the day in the southwest.
I discovered a new way to mark the passage of the seasons. They can be measured by the amount of time I spend digging bramble thorns out of my hands at the end of the day. It is currently increasing. Nobody seems to make gardening gloves that are suitable for gardening in. My current pair seem designed to irritate and enrage the bramble without offering any resistance and I have the minor injuries to show for it. Spring would seem to mean painful hands.
'Spring Dawn' in contrast, is delightful. It was half in flower last week. That is, it was entirely in flower, and a slug had eaten half of it. This week it is making a show.
A seedling from 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' raised at Rosewarne Experimental Horticulture Station, it is the earliest of the bicolor hybrids I have grown. I have been told that 'Crewenna' is a couple of weeks earlier, but I have only seen it once, in a vase in March, looking rather ugly.
It makes a small clump at the end of a view as I come out of the house. I know the spring has arrived. It says so on the label.

2nd February 2014

Galanthus 'Ronald Mackenzie'
I have a limited number of Narcissus varieties. I like to keep them in separate drifts and there isn't enough space for many of those. Their number is slowly increasing but I hope to keep it under control. Mixed bags of daffodils are the sort of thing that well meaning relatives buy as presents, and they send a shiver down my spine.
Snowdrops are another matter. Once I had it under control, now I am not so sure. One of the things I did today was prepare more border space for snowdrops. Fortunately they all look the same from a distance so an obsessive collection becomes cohesive. Short sightedness helps. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
'Ronald Mackenzie' was given to me a couple of years ago and has slowly increased. A couple of yellow flowers this year stand out the ranks of green ones. It doesn't show particularly well because I was taking pictures this morning when I wanted to be digging and delving (note the absence of hurricane conditions). Quick picture, it will have to do.

2nd February 2014

Crocus 'Snowbunting'
My occasional attempts to cultivate Crocus in the garden seem doomed to failure. Crocus chrysanthus seems to disappear faster than I can plant them. I knew squirrels and mice took them, but have recently discovered that rabbits and badgers like them as well. I haven't admitted defeat but I may be forced to build a little fence.
My affection for Crocus has to be satisfied with three flowers in the greenhouse. There are a number of cultivars attributed to Crocus chrysanthus though they are mostly selections from a hybrid soup involving C.biflorus and possibly also C.aerius.
'Snowbunting' opens white, from yellowish buds heavily streaked with grey. It is wonderful, vigorous and cheaply available. If the hordes of vermin are to be believed it is also delicious.

2nd February 2014

Camellia grijsii
Camellia are such good shrubs to scatter around the place. They look green and lush, they remain tidy and they resist the wind without looking ragged. It is easy to plant them wherever a space appears. Unfortunately they also flower. Don't get me wrong, flowering is good but Camellia can get a bit carried away. Pink is a particular mistake. The first pink bloom to open is an expanding wonder, like a tiny universe of unfolding promise. By the time the second one opens I have seen it all before. By the end of the season they pop with the air of originality being crushed at a birthday party.
I have been seeking out Camellia species for a few years now, not out of misplaced elitism, just to provide a suggestion of delicacy like an escape hatch through the crushing japonica.
C.grijsii has survived several winters undamaged in the greenhouse and is due to be planted outside where I am confident it will continue to prosper. I am delighted to have it in the greenhouse where the flowers open undamaged but it is only there because I was too lazy to put it out last year.
Threatened by habitat loss in China, this is probably a selcted clone with semi-double flowers like the cap from a beer bottle.

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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