Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
29th June 2014
Eremophila maculata Pink Form
I started the week in a mood of grim fatalism. Forecasters were promising rain and I had a feeling it wasn't going to materialise. The garden
was dry and in danger of becoming crispy. My gloom was dispelled on thursday morning when I opened the back door and looked out on gentle drizzle.
We have had a couple of long showers since then that take the pressure off of watering. An old friend once called them 'butt fillers' and it still
makes me laugh. On thursday I had the sense to go up to the Agave house and use all the accumulated water to soak things that needed it and it
paid off. The butts were all full again on Friday.
This Eremophila was helped by the water. It is an Australian shrub and there is very little reason to suppose that it will be cold hardy
though Australian sources list it as hardy to minus 5degC. I have had it for a couple of years now and it is still going. It appreciated the mild
winter and produced some early flowers in the Agave house where the roof keeps it dry and boosts temperatures.
29th June 2014
Iris 'Aicho No Kagayaki'
The Japanese Iris were coming up to reluctant flower in the dry weather. A short spell of rain has revived them and produced some lush flowers.
They don't last very long in the heat but the early ones had been drying out before the end of their first day. The petals wrap around
the stems and dry to parchment if the sun comes out.
'Aicho No Kagayaki' is a sterile hybrid between I.pseudacorus and I.ensata. The new growth in spring is strikingly yellow.
The flowers are larger than I.pseudacorus and paler.
I bought it a couple of years ago from Bob Brown at Cotswold Garden Flowers because it seemed like an unlikely hybrid. The cultivar name means
"bright inspiration" in Japanese but I have a feeling that it is a subtle way of saying "clever dick".
29th June 2014
A small growing aroid that came to me from China as T.alpinum. It soon became clear that it wasn't and for a while it went around as
T. not alpinum. It has recently been confirmed that it is the red stemmed form of T.horsfieldii. I was perfectly happy with that
identification and didn't feel the need to scrabble around any further, however recent DNA studies demonstrate that the genus Typhonium
is a mixed bag of distant relatives, and this seems set to become a Sauromatum. Too much for me to cope with in one go.
In the early days I kept it in the conservatory because I wasn't sure how hardy it would be, but it has laughed in the face of some severe winters
and prospered in the bulb house. I'm not sure how it would survive a wet winter outside but the rougher I treat it, the bigger it seems to get.
Stray pieces of tuber have got into my compost and now it is popping up in some of the Nerine. It may turn out to be a bit of a pest
but I am tolerating it for now.
Flowers a lot more reliably than the trendy Arisaema and better in leaf but for some people Arisaema are like cataracts, they
can't see beyond them.
29th June 2014
Disa uniflora Red Form
Disa uniflora is the species that makes the genus horticulturally significant. It produces large orange or red flowers that look tropical,
yet it grows on a few mountains in the Western Cape and shrugs off several degrees of frost. Breeders have spent a lot of energy increasing
the number of flowers on the stem but they regularly cross back to D.uniflora to retain flower size and colour. In general terms, the more
complex the hybrid the greater the percentage of D.uniflora in its ancestry and the smaller the influence of anything else.
I grew a series of hybrids in the 1980's when they started to be distributed through micropropagation. At the time it was a magical technique
that convinced us that anybody could grow anything, and Disa were rare enough to attract attention. It took a while to realise that they
were actually really easy.
In 2007 I got this red form of D.uniflora and my interest was rekindled. It is large flowered, compact and to my eye rather better than the
gangling forms currently being raised for the cut flower market.
Rainfall has flushed through the Disa benches and although it seems unlikely, they are also looking refreshed.
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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