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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


16th October 2016

Nerine 'Natasha'
The rain has thundered down, the wind has been rattling dead branches out of the trees and just down the road it has rattled a Chestnut Tree out of the ground. I was in a garden in Hampshire on Friday and they have already had their first frost. My sympathy goes out to all the gardeners who have been having a difficult season.
The bulb house is going through a change. The Nerine are expanding, the general bulbs are being pushed out. I had noticed that it was happening without any deliberate intention. I think I have to move with the times and accept that it has become a Nerine house.
'Natasha' stands head and shoulders above the crowd. I like these giants - 'Regina', 'Rushmere Star' and some of the Zeal cultivars. Hybrids involving N. sarniensis and other species (whose identity is often in doubt). So far none have set seed with me, I would love to breed some more. When I go looking for information about it, all I find is my own ignorance staring back at me through the mirror of the internet. Surely someone must know something?
(Perhaps it is recorded in a book, whatever they are.)


16th October 2016

Galanthus 'Autumn Beauty'
The Nerine have almost complete control of their greenhouse. I can't see much else in there putting up a fight as they crush forward into the space. The only exception is the Autumn Snowdrops. They established a foothold just inside the door and they are expanding their control very slowly. For a few years now I have been buying new ones whenever I see them, but I can't see it getting out of hand. There really aren't very many. They seem to do much better under cover than they do in the open garden and I'm not enough of a purist to force them to suffer in the rain when I have a perfectly good (or at least reasonably adequate) greenhouse for them. I saw a few lovely gardens while I was away, but not a single snowdrop so I am satisfied (delighted) with my solution. Somebody somewhere will start breeding them and then I will need more space. Unfortunately, looking around at the moment, it may have to be me.
'Autumn Beauty' seems to be a small group of seedlings derived from a chance cross between G. elwesii and G. reginae-olgae. There is some variability among them, and all last year I promised myself that if I saw any more I would buy them. Wisley had five for sale on Friday and I turned my back. I still don't understand why. They weren't even very expensive. I think I was gripped by NACA (Nerine Anticipated Cost Anxiety).


16th October 2016

Galanthus reginae-olgae 'Tilebarn Jamie'
Most of the variation in Autumn Snowdrops seems to be coming from selections of G. reginae-olgae. It is the most successful of the species for the open garden. If I were to rephrase that and say it is the least disappointing then I think I would have got closer to the truth. There are some named selections with distinctive flowers, but most of the names refer to forms with reduced propensity to die in the garden.
'Tilebarn Jamie' was selected by Peter Moore and produces two large rounded flowers from a mature bulb. For me it has been vigorous and increased rapidly and I think it is where I would start if I wanted to raise a selection of seedlings. Perhaps that is a job for this afternoon. Some gentle hybridising in the sunshine - once I have bought some bread and unpacked the car from the trip away.
Perhaps the snowdrops will wait a few days after all.



16th October 2016

Nerine Exbury copper-lavender
Exbury is worth a visit at any time of the year but it is an overwhelming pleasure to visit when the Nerine are in flower. The collection consists mostly of N. sarniensis selections and hybrids, including many early cultivars raised at Exbury, a number raised by Sir Peter Smithers in Switzerland when the best of the collection went there, and many more raised since the collection returned.
Large numbers of seedlings have been raised and I am very grateful for their generosity. I have had this one for a few years and call it "Exbury copper-lavender" by way of identification. It has large un-twisted tepals and a strong stem. The flowers are coppery pink as they open but develop blue and lavender shades as they mature.
I got it as part of a deliberate plan to add more purple and mauve shades to my collection and this one was floating at the edge of the colour range when I first saw it. Exbury's breeding in the same range of colours has produced some of their strongest and most distinctive new cultivars.
In the event the NACA was overstated. I came away with a scarlet red seedling that is a better colour than anything else I have seen and a white one with strong upright stems. I was in the Exbury greenhouse when the rain hit, and pleased to be under cover.
As I say, my sympathy goes out to all gardeners having a difficult season.


16th October 2016

Nerine at Exbury
A completely gratuitous picture of the Nerine at Exbury yesterday.

I'm having a lovely time!