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JEARRARD'S HERBAL




11th October 2015

Hedychium 'Corelli'
The week recovered from a cold start and autumn moved once again from dank to delightful. I'm not sure how many more times it can pull it off but I'm enjoying it. I have been looking at the Cymbidium sheltering in the shade an thinking the time has come. They must come inside again. Once that is done the approach of winter has been accepted and everything 'dodgy' will have to be moved.
Fortunately most of the Hedychium in pots are too heavy to move. They didn't go out in spring and so they won't have to come in now. They all benefit from the extra warmth in the greenhouse even though there is a bit too much shade.
H. coronarium is a beautiful and pointless plant. I have only flowered it once in the last decade and it was hardly the grand spectacle I might have hoped for. It flowers well at Kew, and that is where I go to enjoy it in the protection of a tropical house.
Many years ago David Constantine gathered together as many forms of the species as he could find. He came to the conclusion that they were all beautiful and pointless except this one, which he though was a hybrid with H. ellipticum. He named it H. 'Corelli', most wonderful because it produces distinctive flat topped inflorescences. The individual flowers hang vertically down as they age without looking gloomy. Always lovely.




11th October 2015

Nerine Exbury Copper 1
A visit to the National Collection of Nerine yesterday starts a week of events around the country to mark the peak of the season. I'm not sure the plants have been listening - opinion around the country is mixed but for most people the best is still to come.
In the greenhouse there is plenty of colour with plenty of spikes still to open. Outside the N. bowdenii forms are still in tight bud, though I saw a good display in Devon yesterday.
A number of breeders have been active in the UK over the years, selecting for colour, stem length and bud count. There are some magnificent varieties but the ones that really interest me are the odd colours. Somebody yesterday said how much they liked the orange ones and I smiled. I like to think it concealed my astonishment that anybody preferred the ordinary colours but I doubt it.
This is a seedling that came from the collection at Exbury. Orange with a wash of lilac over it. It dulls the colour and is fancifully called copper. In a collection of orange cultivars it looks like a stray shadow has fallen. I have never managed to raise a seedling in this colour but I am still trying. I think stranger combinations of colour are possible and they will be welcome.




11th October 2015

Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides is a curious plant. The small black-purple flowers would make it distinctive under any conditions, but it is also cold hardy. I'm not sure about the wet, but it certainly tolerates cold. At Kew it is grown outside the Princess of Wales Conservatory and seem to be spreading vigorously. That form has larger flowers than this, red-purple with darkish undertones. There is a suggestion that it might be a hybrid.
This form has smaller, darker flowers. The leaves are more silvery and it is more compact, at least with me.
Both forms shed the old petals in carpets which seems to double the display. I was so impressed with its toughness that I have been tempted into growing a number of other species in the spare corners of the Agave house. A couple of mild winters have allowed me to get away with it but the season for worrying has started. A single hard frost would probably kill them all and cure me of the illusion that I could create a South African climate with some timber and a sheet of polythene. As it is, I have developed a yearning for Protea that is going to be difficult to fit into the space available (won't stop me trying but anticipate some congested grumbling to come).





11th October 2015

Roscoea purpurea Peacock
Out in the garden (the greenhouse is a comfort blanket for changeable weather) there is still plenty going on. Roscoea purpurea started flowering in July and there are still plenty of flowers to come. This is one stem from a group of seedlings raised from 'Peacock'. I have never been very sure what the distinctive characteristics of 'Peacock' were supposed to be - the seedlings are all lovely and all quite different. Mostly dark leaved, mostly with narrow flowers produced late in the season. In brief, this may be 'Peacock' or then again, it may not.
A few years ago I hybridised a number of plants, raised a lot of seedlings (killed a lot as well fortunately) and planted out the survivors. I thought it would help me to understand the genus. Now I have a great number of dubious Roscoea with mixed names and pedigrees. If I ever feel mischievous (it can happen) I will split them, pot them up and sell them as the 'Hogwash Hybrids'.
Ha!