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JEARRARD'S HERBAL




20th September 2015

Impatiens arguta
It is tempting fate to mention that the weather has been kind. All week rain has been lurking overhead but I have avoided any serious soaking and it has fallen overnight. I am losing faith in an Indian Summer this year and will settle for enough sunshine to keep the greenhouse warm for a while longer. I have a small group of murderable Phalaenopsis out there that need to come in now. Nights have been cold enough to give them a shock and they are remarkably keen to shed all their leaves if they get a chill, which is murder by defoliation.
Impatiens arguta is coming into its own after a year of struggling. Most bizzie-lizzies are easy to root, so these cuttings were left standing in a jar of water on a north windowsill over winter. In spring I potted them into tiny pots and let them get shaded and overgrown in the back of the greenhouse. Finally at the end of July I potted them into decent sized pots and fed them. The result has been a remarkable recovery. The stunted little shoots that I nearly threw out have made decent plants and are flowering as well as can be expected. Am I a little ungenerous? Probably, it is a lovely low growing thing with mysterious dark flowers beneath the sheltering leaves. I would love it without reservation but unfortunately there is a white form and it's much better.
Cuttings of the white form are currently in a jar of water on a north windowsill, not because it works well, just because it works.




20th September 2015

Aconitum carmichaelii 'Kelmscott'
In March I finally started clearing the herbaceous border of weeds. Over two evenings I made great strides. Just a couple more dry evenings to finish the job.
I never got back to it.
Aconitum 'Kelmscott' is growing in the cleared section and has appreciated the extra light and space that I was able to make. It provides an interesting touch of colour as the border retreats into foliage. It has been a busy week and I was grateful for a few moments to stand and enjoy it, watching the light mist condense on the foliage so that the undergrowth sparkled. I particularly enjoyed the fact that there is no way I was going to carry on the weeding in those conditions. There is something very satisfying about discovering a justification for indolence.
I had similar pleasure yesterday when I started the lawnmower, fully intending to spend the afternoon riding around on it. I think the machine knew I hadn't much enthuisiasm because it spat out a broken drive belt with an elastic twang. The belt will be replaced next week, the activity was replaced by a cup of tea and a little sit down which was very satisfactory.




20th September 2015

Nerine sarniensis
Strange stirrings among the Nerine. Flower buds are snaking up and revealing an issue I will probably have to act on. There is a lot of undergrowth on the east side of the greenhouse which shades the plants in the early morning. As a consequence the flower stems grow out at an angle towards the west. It doesn't really matter, but they look a bit silly. I refuse to stake them, but I might get a trimmer out and give them a bit more light.
This is a pale mauve seedling that came from Exbury. For the last two years I have concentrated on raising seedings from the purple and lilac forms. I had intended to spend a single year on them, but I didn't get much seed so I repeated my attempts last year. I bought this bulb because it was the right colour and as a seedling it hadn't yet shown itself to be infertile. It has grown vigorously and the orange tints in the flower disappear as it opens fully.
This year I am torn between scarlet and white. Last year I collected together a number of white cultivars in preparation for this season, but the time has come and I have a sudden urge to scarlet. Eventually I will make a decision.





20th September 2015

Geranium procurrens
It is part of the pleasure of gardening that things come and go. This website exists in part to record the things that come. Often when they disappear, they go without notice. I grew some Delphinium nudicaule 'Redcap' this year. Magnificent scarlet selection of the species, I enjoyed them enormously. Yesterday produced some warm drying sunshine so I went out to collect some seed from them, knowing that the species can be short lived. All gone, hardly a trace that the plants were ever there. Some rotting brown stumps and a label. By the time I get around to including pictures on the site, I will have forgotten I ever had them. Some things are as fleeting as memory.
And some things aren't.
Geranium procurrens is a demon in the grass. It produces long trailing stems that root at the nodes. I have waged war against it in the front garden for years but now I have reached a state of bemused tolerance. If it spreads to more than a few square yards I will spray it with herbicide again, which seems to knock it back for a year or two. It serves to remind me how kind gardeners are. It is almost never offered for sale. It doesn't appear in yoghurt pots at charity events or in seed exchanges. Those of us who have it make sure it doesn't get spread any further.
It flowers throughout the year and is quite charming, in the best demonic tradition. If you get the chance, shun it.