24th July 2016
Cyclamen hederifolium .
No rain was promised this week and none arrived. People were talking about it in the way the Elizabethans talked about dragons. We haven't seen it ourselves you understand, but we believe it to be true.
There was rain in Truro you know. The skies opened, it was teeming down. I didn't see it myself, but my cousin lives out that way and he says his neighbour got so agitated that her dragon bit the
postman. Never seen anything like it.
Nothing that exciting here. The most we got was cling-film weather. Enough mist in the air to blur the windows as though someone had stretched cling-film over them, and then it was gone.
I was talking to somebody last week and saying that if we got a decent shower of rain the Cyclamen would be up. Then I walked under the trees and already I have three pink flowers.
The Cyclamen hederifolium are a mixed batch from a number of different strains. I have never planted them in bulk, just one or two here and there as the whim takes me. It is the same
one that flowers first every year with autumnal prescience.
It clearly knew about the rain as well. It has just started.
24th July 2016
Hedychium yunnanense FTF .
I have been caught off guard by the Hedychium as well. I was late this year moving the pots out from under the benches. It is one of the struggles of November, lugging the heavy pots back
under cover and finding space for them. I don't think it is really necessary but if we got a really hard winter and they were all killed I would be a little peeved. Once it is done
I always swear never again. Next year I will trow a tarpaulin over them and to hell with it. Come the spring and they have to come out again, a job I am always happy to put off. Eventually they
came out at the end of May because I was suddenly worried they would start to grow before I got to it.
A dry cold spring held them back so I was sure there was no possibility of flowers two months later. So sure I didn't even bother to look. It was only when I was mowing the path that I realised the season
had started. They flower best in the sunshine, perhaps a bit of drought will help as well.
24th July 2016
Aspidistra patentiloba .
For the most part the Aspidistra flower without a fanfare. There are species in flower for most of the year. If I am ever short of plants to photograph I go rummaging about among the leaves
to see what can be found. If I can't even find an Aspidistra then it is time to show some lovely leaves!
At the height of summer the Aspidistra have a short moment when they go a little potty. A. grandiflora comes into bloom, with flowers the size of tea saucers.
A. patentiloba is a little smaller but it makes a bolder statement, filling the pot with these curious spiky monsters and filling the air with the scent of over-ripe apples.
Aspidistra is still little understood as a genus. There is considerable variation in plants labelled A. patentiloba and I am certainly not in a position to sort it out. The amount of
purple in the flower varies widely, along with the length of the corolla lobes (somehow "petals" seems wrong). Most significantly some have eight lobes, and some have ten. That would have perplexed
Linnaeus. They all flower at the same time, they all smell the same and they all have leaves with distinct petioles. They may eventually resolve into a single species or there may be a hundred of them.
Both viewpoints will probably be put forward at one time or another. Every time I go into the greenhouse in summer I start hankering for a bottle of cider, and perhaps that is the best solution.
24th July 2016
Nerine angustifolia .
I have been watching the rain fall this morning with mild amusement. I stayed up last night until after dark to finish watering things that had dried out. I started with the bulb house. I
don't like it to get parched at this time of the year. I know that just like the Cyclamen, the Nerine will respond to the first good soaking of autumn by flowering.
I cleaned off the dead leaves, weeded the pots, admired the fat bulbs and then took the hose to them. I think the time is right, N. angustifolia is already in flower. I checked
N. masoniorum as well but so far no sign of the flower spikes, as thin as the leaves and barely noticed until the buds swell at the tips.
I bought a potful of N. angustifolia in 2014 from Aberconwy Nurseries, so this is the first time it has flowered for me. It comes from the Eastern Transvaal where it grows along streamsides
and other wet areas in the mist belt.
A glance out of the window suggests that it should be happy here.
Collingwood Ingram grew it outside in an uncovered bulb frame and suggested that it should be hardy in the home counties. The late Margaret Owen grew it in Shropshire so I think it has potential.
My plant is probably too dry and too protected under cover so if I manage to raise some seedlings they will be tried outside in the promise of rain.