Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
8th June 2014
June is both spoiled and made tolerable by the same rain. I have spent a couple of days in North Wales this week, safe in the knowledge that the garden has
been refreshed. Temperatures are rising but there is still some early morning comfort to be had in an old woolly sweater and thick socks.
I returned late last night and was keen to unload plants and water them. The garden hung over me, silent, almost breathless. Rich dark moments at the opera
just before the curtain rises. Padding down the garden path in my slippers searching through the flickering shadows. There is a depth and integrity in the
garden at night that is hidden in the sunlight. However the watering can might have been revealed more easily.
I bought the Lundy Cabbage last year because I didn't know it. A significant rarity of the (almost) local flora that had passed me by. Coincya wrightii
is a brassica that grows on the eastern cliffs of Lundy. Among the broken rock it forms tight hummocks of deep green leaves and produces heads of yellow
flowers in summer. I planted it in the Agave house to be certain of getting some seed and it has grown tall and flopped across the path. Seedlings will go out
on a sunny slope.
The foliage smells unpleasantly of cabbage so although it is threatened by goats on Lundy I'm sure they're not happy about it. I drove home yesterday in the
company of a Tulbaghia that smelt unpleasantly of onions so I have had my bitter fill of almost-vegetables. Tonight I am planning baked beans and chips.
8th June 2014
I am going to enjoy the sweet tomato sauce that comforts the beans. The tree Tomato is another plant I am growing for the first time. I was given a rooted cutting last spring
and it too went into the Agave house. I know it is worth trying outside but I suspect it would survive without that ever being a good thing. A mild winter
has certainly helped my young plant to establish.
It grew slowly through the summer, probably while it rooted down into the soil. This spring it has put on a growth spurt and a couple of flower heads
took me by surprise. The flowers go on to produce large red succulent fruits that occasionally make it to the supermarket shelves. The fruits smell
of concentrated Solanaceae, an unsubtle blend of cabbage-eating-goats-breath and Victorian poison. I have never eaten one and though my tree will fruit freely
I don't think I will.
It is possible that I have one of the selected cultivars with more sugar and less aroma and I may feel more adventurous as the summer progresses and the cabbage
8th June 2014
Disa Colette Cywes 'Peach Blush'
The Disa started to grow early this year and flower stems are well advanced. In March I took down a partition wall in the greenhouse and it has let a lot
more light through to their bench. Too late to make much difference this year, I am hoping to see stronger flower stems next spring that don't lean to the south
quite as much. Serious growers put canes in to hold the flowers upright and I admire their diligence from afar.
This is a grex raised by S. & M. Cywes in South Africa and registered in 1986, I haver been told that the breeders were hoping to get white flowers. I have grown
'Blush' for a while but a few years ago I was given a plant labelled 'Peach Blush'. They seem to be the same thing but it is possible that this one is slightly
darker and tinged with orange. I am uncertain but I want to believe.
Last years Disa seedlings are growing well. I will start to prick out the largest of them in a few weeks. They grow much faster once they are spaced out
but they seem to die off in large numbers if they are moved too soon. I did a couple of hybrids with 'Blush', hoping for pale flowers. I am not expecting to get
anything white but I might generate some more pallid confusion.
8th June 2014
Rhododendron nakaharae 'Mount Seven Stars'
Rododendron nakaharae is a low growing species from the mountains of northern Taiwan. I became interested in it a few years ago as a late flowering
azalea that could extend the season into summer. It was a few years before I saw it growing in a garden (at Wakehurst Place) and realised that it is too small
to make much impact. The flowers open in the hottest months of the year and rapidly go over, so the display is always a mixture of scarlet and brown.
On the plus side, it is really cute.
'Mount Seven Star' is a cultivar with large flowers selected by Polly Hill in her garden and arboretum on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
At Wakehurst it is growing and prospering in full sun but my young plant looked a little fragile and I have it planted in the shade house. I got my plant from
Aberconwy Nursery two years ago and it was a pleasure to pay a return visit this week while it was flowering for the first time at home.
Naturally I came back with some new plants. Give me a couple of years and I will tell you about them.
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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about what is going on, if you are interested.
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