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

25th May 2014

Magnolia wilsonii
Just when May was starting to look uncomfortably warm, the weather has broken. The rain this week has been welcome, light and (for the most part) conveniently timed. Chelsea wasn't spoiled (at least for those of us who watched on the television) and we are well set for a traditional Wimbledon.
The garden has been filled with unexpected delight. The local birds welcomed the moisture with some jubilant singing and the local population of gnats took the opportunity to hatch in a great wave of voracious articulation and headed straight for my elbows. Why do they always choose the elbows?
The itching will wear away (or the elbows will).
Magnolia wilsonii stopped me in my tracks when I accidentally looked up. I was bumnbling along peering intently at the ear-shaped leaves of the Roscoea breaking through the soil and was suddenly astonished by the wonder over my head. My young plant has been flowering for a few years now but it has now become a small tree and stands decked out with these amazing hanging flowers that pour perfume down.
Discovered by Wilson in 1904 and introduced to the UK in 1908, it has been undamaged here, though Bean records it being cut back by frost at Kew.
I took the hint, and sowed last years seed, which has been stratifying in the refrigerator.

25th May 2014

Pericallis appendiculata
Despite to occasional leak, the greenhouse has remained dry. I think it has suited this Pericallis which was planted out from a small pot, where it was struggling, and immediately started to grow. It has now made a small shrub about three feet tall. The vigorous upright shoots have been pulled to the ground by the weight of the flower heads. It was impossible to protect this year so I had resigned myself to losing it (after teetering on the edge of survival for several years). Fortunatley winter passed us by and it is producing a magnificent display.
I had expected to lose quite a lot of the contents of the Agave house during winter and to have space for things to grow as a consequence. It seems it wasn't to be and the limited space is now packed. I bought a couple of tiny Rebutia last week and still haven't found a space for them.
Pericallis appendiculata has populations in the north of both Tenerife and La Palma, differing slightly in leaf shape. I have no idea where this originated, I was given it as a seedling. It grows in open places in the Laurel forests. In habitat it tolerates some shade but I think my light levels are lower and so I give it as much sun as I can. It seems to appreciate it.

25th May 2014

Disa sagitalis
In a moment of enthusiasm (that had been brewing for several months) I decided to give more space over to growing Disa. A month ago I finally moved things about and cleared a bench. It allowed me to pot up some of the trays of seedlings that have been sitting around for too long. Some of them may well flower this year, so they needed attention. Among the adult plants Disa sagitalis is the first to open though there a great many others following shortly behind it.
Most of the hybrids here are based on D.uniflora and D.tripetaloides with a few other things thrown into the mix for good measure. It is a much larger genus than is represented in cultivation, and some of the other species should be equally hardy. I have been trying to obtain some of them over the last few years but there have been problems. Seed has failed to germinate and the few plants I have obtained ex-flasks have grown well in summer but not survived the winter.
D. sagitalis has been the only exception. It is adapted to grow through the winter, flower in spring and then become dormant until the autumn. I was initially worried that it would need a dry rest period but further investigation revealed that it didn't dry out in habitat, it just rested.
The ability to survive in a dormant state seems to have saved it. The new growth has often been frosted off here, but it has resprouted in the spring and gone straight to flower. I now cover it with fleece and do what I can to protect the growth and it has appreciated a mild year. I keep hoping it will divide and I can have some more to spread the risk but no sign of it so far. I tried to pollinate it last year but no seed was set.

25th May 2014

Bomarea salsilla
Without trying very hard I have been planting Bomarea in the greenhouse. I am delighted to have them, it is just that they seem to have arrived without me having to try very hard. I am a little embarrassed by the ease with which they have been wonderful.
Bomarea salsilla arrived last spring in an unexpected parcel from a friend. I was very grateful and tipped the handful of tiny tubers into a prepared hole hardly expecting to see them again. Late last year they squirmed through the soil and have made a dense cluster of stems. I tried to encourage them to climb a support but they declined. Last week I was amazed to see a flower head had formed and this week it has opened. Once again I find myself in the same group as the slugs and snails. We all found it attractive.
Native to the moist woodlands of central Chile it is a scrambler rather than a climber. I have enjoyed the dark marks inside the corolla. If I had known it was this pretty at the time, I might have planted the tubers individually which would have been less satisfactory. It has all been too easy.

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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