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

22nd June 2014

Magnolia 'Pinkie'
The frantic rush of spring gives way to the languid days of summer. I wish the frantic mind had been as fast to adapt. I have been running about like a lively gazelle on an escalator, both fast and pointless. There have been a couple of occasions this week when I have realised that it is too hot to rush, more haste less speed. A platitude in time saves nine and all the rest of the very clever advice that I should have listened to.
Fortunately an old flame invited me for tea by the sea and then didn't turn up (which was always the way) and I spent a happy hour or two watching the sand sizzle. I hadn't been expecting to have a good time, and those are the best sort. At the end of the afternoon I waved at the sea and it waved back.
Magnolia have kept me company through the spring, and I have appreciated them. The early M.campbellii (in other peoples gardens) were courageously pink while the snowdrops were reflecting the 'winter-that-wasn't' and they have continued until 'Pinkie' adorned May. A hybrid between M. liliflora 'Reflorens' and M. stellata 'Rosea', pollinated as part of a deliberate breeding program at the US National Arboretum in 1955 and 1956 by William F. Kosar and Francis de Vos. 'Pinkie' was selected by Kosar and released in 1968.
It is known to produce an occasional late flower at almost any time through the summer, and it has.

22nd June 2014

Allium cristophii
A few years ago I planted a couple of onions among the hellebores to see what happened. In short, they have neither died nor increased, they have continued. If I had the courage (and the patience and the flexibility) I would plant a thousand and perhaps it would be beautiful. It is an idea that will swill around in the head for a while yet like tea in a pot until it is either perfect or goes cold.
The species grows in the drier and sunnier parts of Central Asia, Iran and Turkey so it is a matter of wonder that it grows in light shade among the hellebores. The lilac flowers are almost metallic in some lights and slowly fade to cardboard brown. They inspired me to cook a big dish of red onions at a barbecue which followed the same chromatic path, though they were delicious.

22nd June 2014

Rosa 'Celeste'
Allium are an unexpected success in my damp climate, and I have always written off roses for the same reason. From time to time I see a garden that makes me think again. The right rose in the right location can be a wonderful thing. I planted 'Celeste' years ago in a sort of tantrum of self vindication. I have always said roses are no good here, and just look how awful they are. It would seem that the ancient 'Celeste' (origin unknown) has little time for tantrums. It was good planted on the entrance gate, and when I moved it into the herbaceous border it has been good there as well.
I am beginning to think that I should root a dozen cuttings and have them scattered throughout. It would be calming and mellow and help to de-tantrum me as it becomes clear that summer is unstoppable.
It is flowering at the same time as the first of the Aconitum which may explain why the rabbits have left it alone, or possibly they have just satisfied their hunger with my golden Cow-Parsley. In the distance a rattling car drives down the hill which is somebody else's problem and ... relax!

22nd June 2014

Disa Kewensis 'May'
Disa full of promise, naughty little monkleys. I have a large number of D. Riette seedlings given to me by the hybridiser three years ago and just coming into first bud at the start of the week. He came to dinner yesterday, and were they open - not a single one of them. They will be magnificent tomorrow and I will select the best of them without the benefit of his help.
The Riette are a recreation of a modern hybrid, but D. Kewensis is one of the first hybrids raised in the genus. It originated at Kew and was registered in 1893, D. tripetaloides x D. uniflora. A number of clones were being circulated widely with a variety of amusing colour descriptions. In the last couple of years they have finally attracted names. 'May' is one of the new names, though I doubt it is one of the original Kew seedlings. I'm sure the original would have been painted when it flowered. It would be interesting to track the illustration down and see what it was like.
Next week looks like more heat and more watering. For the first time this year the prospect of watching the world roll by while holding the end of a hose is quite appealing.

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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