14th October 2018
Nerine sarniensis .
A messy week with a lot of rain. On Monday I gathered together the cut up branches from a couple of trees I had taken down and introduced them
to a bright shiny match. Astonishingly, it caught light. I was siezing the moment, knowing that dry afternoons in October are not to be relied upon.
It was a good fire, burning for a few hours but reducing the entire pile to ash with very little mess to tidy up at the end. It all felt very autumnal,
the rain came down and brought the whole affair to an end.
Emphasising the season, the Nerine have been fantastic (and pink). There are plenty of spikes still to open, and it may get better but this week felt like a peak.
The plants have performed very well, possibly the cold snap in March marked a clear end to the growing season for them, possibly the hot summer
helped to promote flowering, possibly it was just a matter of chance. I favour the latter.
The cold weather didn't end the growing season, many of the plants remained in leaf until the end of May. The hot weather may have initiated more flower buds,
but we won't know about that for another two years, the buds that are opening now were initiated in 2016! So I favour chance, a lucky season,
nice mature plants or that old reliable stand-by, Pixies.
14th October 2018
Galanthus peshmenii .
I am probably just perverse. Perhaps that isn't news. It is easy to collect things, the difficulty comes in making sense of it all afterwards. Why do
people collect stamps? They just like to have them, the thrill of the chase without the concommitant risk to lion or wildebeest. So I have some snowdrops,
fashionable as skinny jeans with ripped knees showing the fake tan beneath. I was perfectly happy with snowdrops until something turned me autumnal,
now I am stuffing all the nooks and crannies in the Nerine house with autumn snowdrops. And I have been watching the pots with an obsessive glare.
Why are all the new ones flowering when none of the old ones are showing. The old worries, have I killed them all, was all the previous success an illusion,
if I kneel down to take a good look do I have a pair of clean trousers for tomorrow?
So Galanthus peshmenii has arrived like an aspirin in a headache, small and white and rounded. One flower so far but there are a forest of shoots emerging.
I could have waited for a better display before I showed it, but I couldn't. Now is a complicated word. I'm planting the Hedychium now,
I might get back to it soon, it might be done by spring. I'm showing the Galanthus now, I can't bottle it up for a moment, I'm not even going to try.
14th October 2018
Tigridia orthantha 'Red Hot Tiger'.
What do you call the happiness of lunacy? Perhaps it is politics or something generalised like that. Vote for me and I will spend all the money on Tigridia
because that is what I have done. I have grown Tigridia orthantha a couple of times. That is the idea I am going to concentrate on.
I have also killed it a couple of times but I would rather gloss over that part of the history. I had given the species up as ungrowable
but perhaps there was an echo of Christopher Lloyd in the air. Grow it yourself at least three times before you give it up as tender.
So I can't grow it but somebody succeeds, it still turns up for sale from time to time. It can't be impossible, I have only killed it twice,
time for another try. I am assuming that it is not so fussy, that it likes a richer compost, that it doesn't like to dry out. I have probably
killed it by trying to be too clever. That is the current theory, I will abandon it when this one dies.
I am happy to show the flower, it didn't have it a month ago when I bought the plant. Four weeks in and it's still not dead. The future is an undiscovered country
and I assume it is filled with undiscovered pots of undiscovered compost sporting fleeting scarlet blooms from pleated green fans of foliage.
I can hear the wind in the chimney, or perhaps the distant cheers of triumph. That doesn't sound like politics, I think it may just be lunacy.
14th October 2018
Camellia sasanqua 'Hugh Evans'.
The first pink fluff of the Camellia season leaves me feeling strangely grounded. It isn't the first one I have seen, but it is the first one I have grown.
It makes a difference, somehow it makes the spinning top of the seasons more personal. I have yearned for autumnal Camellia with all the affected
drama of a suffering artist. I have studied them, photographed them, adored them. I have done everything except actually plant them. Even this one
is still in a pot. I am waiting. Waiting for some open space where the sun can shine on them. Their time is coming. Slowly the old trees are coming down.
Spring is full of stuff, summer overflows and autumn is filling up. I never mind a fall of snow in winter. I like the simplicity.
I can't manufacture simplicity for all that I try, but I enjoy it when it happens.
The start of the Camellia season is a first step on the escalator to spring. Whatever winter brings (opinions are many, varied and equally
unfounded) it will bring us to the Camellia spring, unspeakable pinkness.
Isn't that where I started?