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

9th February 2014

x Cuprocyparis leylandii
It hardly seems like yesterday, the first Nerine were pushing up flowers and the cold season was threatening. Earlier in the week I was looking at some of the plants sheltering in the house and wondering if it was time to move them back outside. The greenhouse is pleasantly warm in the occasional sunshine. It is almost time to relax. Almost.
We haven't had the cold (there is still time, but it's running out) but there has been a stormy sting in the tail. The week has seen a series of storm fronts pass over the county, and on tuesday night one of them visited the garden. I slept through it with the disregard of a tired man in a warm bed and was surprised to wake up and find that five large trees had gone over.
There are a number of places in the garden that have become congested but I have been nervous about removing large trees. As it turns out, the bullet has been bitten for me. Clearing up will be endlessly tedious but this short row of fallen Leylands has opened a view to the south that I am already enjoying. For a brief moment I even saw some sun.
Leylands are much reviled in the gardening press but it is a magnificent tree. As with all design problems the secret is in the layout.
Here is a Leyland Cypress that has been thoroughly laid out.

9th February 2014

Lonicera fragrantissima
The weather hasn't been mild, but the temperatures have and Lonicera fragrantissima has responded. It is possible that it has also appreciated the removal of some tatty shrubs around it. Whatever the reason it has performed well this year for the first time ever. I can't pretend that the scent has followed me around the garden, the wind has been a bit strong for that, but I have noticed the scent when I stand in front of it and that is good enough for me. For years I have considered digging it out and it is only laziness that has stopped me.
I have visited a couple of gardens this year that grow L. standishii and L. x purpusii and they are clearly superior plants, this one should really go. I wish it was dense enough to make a windbreak - I have a vacancy.

9th February 2014

Helleborus x hybridus Dark Eyed Yellow
The hellebores grow in a border that was once shady. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the extra sunlight. This dark eyed yellow attracted my attention a few years ago and I meant to raise some seedlings but forgot to collect the seed. This picture of sun shining on a beatiful spring morning misrepresents the week. The sun shone for twenty minutes and I dropped what I was doing and grabbed a camera. I took about a dozen copies of this picture. Eleven of them show a blurred yellow blob thrashing around in the wind, one of them captured a still moment.
I was attracted to this plant by the pattern. Dark nectaries and dark eyes have appeared recently among many breeders seedlings. I have also been selecting seedlings thsat die back completely in the autumn. The hellebore border here is much easier to manage if there is a short window in the autumn when I can run the mower over the whole thing and get rid of perennial weeds. The plants don't seem to mind if I mow off the last of their leaves but it would be easier if they had already died back. I have a few selections of Helleborus torquatus that disappear in august and I hope to grow some more.

9th February 2014

Galanthus 'Moccas'
Just above the hellebores I planted a wide belt of ash trees to keep the westerly wind at bay. Those that haven't died or fallen over have matured into a strip of woodland where I plant the snowdrops. 'Moccas' has been here for twenty years, along with 'Jaquenetta', 'Warham', and some others. In the last couple of years I have been simplifying the space. The collection of snowdrops are being moved out, and a few cultivars are being spread out to cover larger patches. The process is still in its infancy but already I prefer the effect. It is less busy.
'Moccas' is one of the many selections made from G. 'Atkinsii' over the years. 'Atkinsii' occasionally produces a fourth outer tepal in the flower along with a number of other strange malformations. 'Moccas' was selected as a stable for that didn't misbehave. Unfortunately nobody seems to have told the plant it was stable. Mine regularly produces freak flowers (and I got it directly from Philip Ballard, who selected it) so I supposed it is just 'Atkinsii'.
I am amusing myself by planting them in circles. Over the course of a few years the shape will become blurred and in the meantime it is easy to spot stray bulbs of other varieties that have been left behind by mistake.

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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