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

16th March 2014

Narcissus 'Gerard's Double'
In spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to sea voyages which is strange because the last boat I was on was the Torpoint Ferry.
There is a point (however tenuous) of water rushing past yet remaining unchanged. I think I probably got from QI the idea that the speed of the boat could be measured by dropping the end of a knotted rope over the side and counting how many knots slipped through the hands in a given time. It all sounds quite painful and it's a reasonable analagy for the passage of time. Nothing seems to change but there are thudding knots in the flow.
A warm sunny week was springlike enough for me to be bitten by every wretched insect in the county. A first for the new year. One of those knots.
Yet 'Gerard's Double' opened reliably as it may have done for the last four centuries. I say may have done because although this double Narcissus pseudonarcissus is linked to John Gerard it can't be traced back to him directly. It matches the plant he describes, but there seem to be a few double clones about so let's just take it on trust.
Gerard says that he got it from the garden of a 'poore woman' in Wiltshire but that it was in the garden when she moved in, the house having previously been occupied by a 'cunning man'. It might seem that the passage of time has erased the poor woman and the cunning man from the story and named the daffodil after Gerard but that isn't what happened. He named it after himself so that history would take note!

16th March 2014

Epimedium x versicolor 'Cherry Tart'
I have an affection for tarts, fruit or not (and perhaps that is all that needs to be said). I can't help feeling that the 'poore woman' was bitten by insects as well and I'm going to leave it there because this paragraph seems to have drifted wildly out of control.
Time flows along and I have slipped into the habit of writing this with a fresh cappucino by my side. An impossible idea a decade ago, how things change. Except that I remove the froth from the top first because it always seems to end up smeared on the keyboard. The cup of coffee I am left with doesn't seem to have changed so much after all.
Epimedium x versicolor is an old hybrid between E.grandiflorum and E.pinnatum colchicum that showed the possibilities for hybrids. For a long time we were happy with the established pale yellow and tan cultivars but in the last twenty years there has been a surge of interest in the genus and the hybrid has been revisited.
'Cherry Tart' is a chance seedling discovered in the garden of Judy Springer in Virginia. The large pale pink sepals emphasise the small darker red band on the petal spurs. It is one of those plants that are only slightly different but which stand head and shoulders above their predecessors. This has been outstanding for several years and I still couldn't say what it is that makes it special.

16th March 2014

Romulea bulbocodium
Time passes and in this case the painful knot is related to things I haven't managed to finish yet. The reorganisation of the bulb house is about 75% complete and I have run out of steam. The loss of enthusiasm comes from the realisation that I have 25% of the space left, but 35% of the plants. The more I move forward the clearer it becomes that 10% of the bulbs will be homeless. Faced with an inevitable problem I have followed my usual course of action - I have gone away and done something else instead.
It may only take a couple of lines to say it, but it has taken me three months to work out why there has been no progress. Now I understand the problem I can sort out those things that will happily stand outside through the summer and deal with the rest.
The Romulea are on the list of things to go out. They are currently standing under a bench sulking (there was nowhere else to put them when the Nerine were repotted and swallowed up all the space). I'm not sure that the occasional purple flower of Romulea bulbocodium in spring is worth the months of weedy floppiness that follow but I will wait until I see how much space I need before I judge it too harshly.

16th March 2014

Galanthus 'Virescens'
The snowdrops are coming to a dignified end. A week of warm weather has pushed the last of them into flower. I have a couple of patches of G. plicatus that are still looking good. The G.nivalis forms with green markings on the outer segments come at the end of the season and they haven't lasted long in the sun. 'Virescens' opened during the week and I took this picture as I rushed past. I went up to see it again this morning to get a photograph of it at the peak of perfection and it has already gone over.
It is a very old cultivar that is slow to increase and still not common. The green marking covers much of the central portion of ther outer segments, which turn upwards distinctively at their tips. There are a number of new cultivars that have slightly darker outers but this one also has deep green inner segments which add substantially to the effect.
Meanwhile the leaves of the Lesser Celandines have all been eaten by pigeons. Keeping the rabbits off has meant there was plenty of fresh tasty growth for the pigeons to find. One of those knots in the flow of time that I will have to think about.

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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