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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


30th September 2018

Nerine 'Salmon Supreme' .
Cooler weather has changed the garden. It is clear that the bulbs have got the message deep underground - or at least as deep as I can manage to plant them. A few years ago I spent a day planting the Colchicum 'Waterlily' that I am currently enjoying. By the end of the day they weren't going in as deeply as I might have liked but one way or another they were going in! They will sort themselves out, won't they? Mostly rhetorical, partly seeking reassurance.
On Tuesday I had an hour free over lunch so I cut a tree down. That wouldn't have happened in the heat, it would have taken me an hour to walk up to it and swear. I have cut it down but I haven't cut it up yet. That will have to wait for a suitable moment but it won't wait long. It came down onto the daffodil meadow and the bulbs know it's autumn.
The Nerine are looking very purposeful. I have a few flowers but the greenhouse is full of buds. I was worried in the summer that they might all be dead. It's not a thing that usually troubles me but I have been comforted by 'Salmon Supreeme'. Not only flowering, but flowering better than last year. Things are on track.


30th September 2018

Spiranthes cernua var. odorata 'Chadds Ford'.
I have a mixed history with "easy" orchids. I have killed 'Chadds Ford' on a couple of occasions without really understanding why. I think it boils down to listening to other people. When it comes to orchids I have not always found other people's opinions useful. 'Chadd's Ford' is evergreen and it doesn't really have a dormant period so it likes to be moist and it likes to be sunny. I have a friend who enjoys smiling benevolently at me when I mention my struggles over the years. It likes shade, he will tell me, hates the sun. Hates the sun. I have watched his clump burgeon, watched the branches overhead shield it from the harsh glare. Watched then gently knit together. It didn't come up this year. He didn't mention it and I didn't smile benevolently. It wouldn't have been kind.
I am enjoying the flowers but I am enjoying the new growths even more. They are the promise of next years flowers. More important than having flowers is promising them. The greatest pleasure comes from watching a new, fat shoot pop out at the side. I would say that I could live without the flowers but the Cymbidium might hear me and I don't want to give them any more excuses.


30th September 2018

Hedychium urophyllum .
I have been surprised, even mildly shocked, by the way the Hedychium have coped with the year. I thought that the cold snap in March would have set them back but it did more damage to the plants in the greenhouse than the ones in the ground. It may be that the plants in the greenhouse were more advanced when the cold arrived but the performance of H. urophyllum is a constant prompt, reminding me to plant more out. It is a dull job. They are growing in very large pots and they have to be pushed up the hill in a wheelbarrow. The long canes flop about and they look terrible once they are planted. They will be better next year but it is disheartening to put in a lot of work and make things look worse.
That's my excuse anyway.
They are going in slowly. I can't see me finishing this year but perhaps I will get them all in during spring. It is making a big difference in the greenhouse, so perhaps that will be my incentive. I saw a gorgeous golden pine tree today and didn't buy it. No new plants, I have plenty still waiting to go out. Cutting down trees is the first step, creating some space, letting in some light. I will regret the golden pine, but not enough to go back for it.


30th September 2018

Galanthus reginae-olgae 'Blanc de Chine'.
Despite the signs of autumn around the garden it was the first snowdrop that made the point most forcibly. A few days ago I noticed the tip of the shoot just pushing through the ground. I don't really need to explain why I was searching intently in exactly the right place do I? Now the bud has opened. I was hoping for enought warmth to open the flower wide but that will happen next week. By then I think I will have a handful of clutivars in flower. All G. reginae-olgae cultivars, no sign yet of G. peshmenii and I am as worried as a cracked record.
'Blanc de Chine' was new here last year. The inner tepals should be pure white but I haven't peeked. It will open when it is ready. I was overjoyed just to see it again. There is always a risk with single bulbs that they might simply expire in the heat of summer. Even if it turns out to be a bit greenish in the lower parts I will be patient and allow it to settle in.
So this is the start of the snowdrop season. I still have some weeding to do before the spring cultivars pop up and time is running out. Worryingly I have spent more money on daffodils this year than I have on snowdrops. I really don't need to tangle with another tiny, collectible genus (like I have any control over these things).