22nd October 2017
Correa glabra var. turnbullii .
Nerine was named after a mythological Greek sea nymph, the exact derivation is not clear. I like to think I have spent the weekend among the sea nymphs
though some of the more elderly gentlemen at the Hardy Nerine Trial might not see themselves in that light. For myself I am happy to be seen as a sea nymph
(evenings and weekends only). Driving home the weather forecasters were suggesting that storm Brian had not been as extreme as their earlier predictions
had warned. This morning I went down to see if the greenhouse was still there, and it was, so I am relieved. I won't have to take up the nymphing full time.
Correa glabra var. turnbullii comes from South Australia in a small region around Adelaide. The variety C.g. turnbullii differs
from the type in the red colour of the flower tube. It has sat in an untidy tangle in the greenhouse for several years. I like Correa but they seem to
die if I plant them outside so I acquire them, cherish them and then don't know what to do with them. The "New Ruthlessness" has taken hold. It all goes out
and the Correa has been one of the first beneficiaries/victims. Through the summer it has prospered beside the house and is flowering freely. It
will just have to take its chances with winter. When I moved to this house, 30 years ago, Correa seemed impossibly rare and exotic. When the harsh winters
of the late 1980's wiped them all out I was convinced they were gone forever. I am calmer now. If it dies I will get another.
22nd October 2017
Hedychium 'Tai Monarch' .
In the same greenhouse, the Hedychium are preparing for the same adventure. Less anthropomorphically, I am preparing myself for the great adventure
of planting out the Hedychium. There is just no space left for them inside.
'Tai Monarch' has been a delight over many years, flowering freely on tall sturdy stems. I imagine it will be sturdier outside but at present it is just imagination.
I have prepared a space for the Hedychium. It is going to be a Tropical Garden. I have cleared it and mulched it. I have even started to plant them out.
I say them, I have managed two so far. I will probably continue to plant when there is a spare moment, even though the winter is looming. They won't have much time
to establish before the cold hits, but they will at least be outside. If they survive, they will get a good start in the spring.
They haven't quite go there yet but the Hedychium are going out.
22nd October 2017
Begonia taliensis .
Begonia on the other hand seem to be coming in. They haven't done well outside and I have given up making excuses (bad winter, too dry, too dark, too bright, too wet).
They make great plants bedded out for the summer, but they don't like the winter here. Many of them tolerate the cold fine, but they need warmer spring weather than I get
if they are to grow away strongly. Even the completely hardy B. grandis forms struggle. I will continue to try them in the hope of finding suitable locations
but the bulk of the collection are coming back under cover. I am going to build a bench specially for them. At present they occupy the space available since the
Aspidistra went out. The "New Ruthlessness" has its advantages. The Aspidistra will stay where they are. I am NEVER going to move them around again (but I may
take some small divisions of the really special ones inside, just as a precaution).
Begonia taliensis is very late to grow in the summer. I worry that the dormant tuber will rot in a wet spring. I look at the empty space at the end of July
with a gloomy fatalistic smile, console myself with coffee and cake and then repeat it as a celebration when it appears in August. It's quite satisfactory
but I am getting fatter.
22nd October 2017
Lachenalia longituba .
Lachenalia longituba is the first of the species to flower. As the Nerine spikes were starting to show I was looking at the bare pots of Lachenalia
wondering how I could reorganise things and make more space. I don't want to part with them, I just don't want them where they are. If I solve the problem of Lachenalia
I might just make some headway with Tulbaghia which are also in the way and occupy more space than their oniony delights can justify. I'm not making much progress with that one.
Lachenalia longituba is an uncommon species from the Roggeveld Plateau in South Africa, one of the colder parts of the winter rainfall region. It has done well in
the cold greenhouse here, sailing through the recent run of harsh winters without damage. That seemed noteworthy somehow, though the truth is that none of the
Lachenalia were damaged. It has a very short growing season for me, so perhaps it was dormant before the worst cold weather. The leaves develop just before the flowers,
which will open sequentially for several weeks. As the last flowers fade the leaves begin to look tatty and by the time L. aloides flowers it will be dormant again.
The time has come to abandon the warmth of the office and see if I can mow the Hellebore border before they start to grow. Yesterday's storm has left something wintery in the air
and time is running out.