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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


2nd June 2019

Dendrobium moniliforme .
A complicated week in the garden, my van has been off the road so I keep finding things in unexpected places. My sun hat, for example, has been misplaced so often that every job seems to start with half-an-hours wandering around looking for it. And it has been needed, the week has been hot despite occasional misty spells. One of them refreshed the Sarracenia beds and a second one today soaked my head because - you guessed it - my sun hat had vanished (it is a multi-function hat). It turns out that I had left it beside the computer for some reason, where the sun never penetrates. Despite occasional relief the garden remains dust dry. I lifted some turf during the first misty outbreak and the water hadn't even drained to the base of the grass stems, much less moistened any soil. So, accepting that the only purpose of the weather is to deflect the frustration that would otherwise be directed at friends and relatives, it has been a harmonious week.
Harmony is a delight in itself, but wrapped in the shape of Dendrobium moniliforme it is enchanting. From time to time I am able to get a new one. It took years to learn how to keep them alive and this one has waited several years before flowering. I had assumed that it was white so this delicate pink is a rare pleasure. Dendrobium aren't to everyone's taste. I know it because they tell me when I go off on a little rapture. I know it, but in my heart I don't believe it.


2nd June 2019

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus
It is easier to believe people when they say they don't really like Hemerocallis. I can understand it. Like a Christmas Santa or a bad novel, the genus is mostly padding. If you're lucky there is a whiff of promise before the awful truth becomes apparent, but mostly Hemerocallis congeal where they should sparkle. The only reason to grow them is the occasional moment of sublime transcendent beauty. As you sift through the genus in cultivation you will occasionally find a treasure, like a pig unearthing a truffle. Pounce recklessly, snatch the moment or the pig will digest it and leave behind something we don't really want to talk about.
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus burst into (solitary) flower during the week. I wanted to dance a joyous jig but it was too hot. I settled for a picture, gleeful genuflection, a celebration of the start of a season that will deliver a few unexpected moments beyond price to be snatched away and cherished. The pig can have the rest.


2nd June 2019

Iris 'Holden Clough'.
Iris are a simpler matter. All Iris a beautiful, some Iris are accommodating. The essential question is, how far am I prepared to go? These things often answer themselves. The bearded Iris are a good example. I have grown a few. One or two of them have failed to die. I admire their determination but in truth my moist soils and moderate summer weather do not suit them at all well. They wouldn't be impossible but my conditions aren't a good fit.
Iris ensata is another matter. They adore the almost constant moisture of my soil. I grow quite a lot, I think thery may all be wrongly named, but I would happily grow more. They do very well grown in water, and that was my undoing. Why not try some other water Iris if the I. ensata do so well? That sort of reasoning will stretch a gardener so far that they are less than a single atom thick. Iris can do strange things.
I'm not going to go there, life is complicated enough, I don't need any more Iris in it. Except possibly 'Holden Clough', and maybe 'Roy Davidson'. The long conversation with the insanity of Iris continues. This is a yellow flower reticulated with a rich network of brown veins. It could simply be a selection of I. pseudacorus. The old idea that it was a hybrid of I. pseudacorus and I. chrysographes is currently unfashionable but like flared trousers or hot-pants it is bound to return eventually. Perhaps jean-sequencing will save us all from confusion (but not, I'm sorry to say, from an equally outdated pun).



2nd June 2019

Puya spathacea .
The Agave house is full of prickly plants and some of them are brambles unfortunately. I saw the seedlings grow last year and failed to remove them. The spirit was strong but the body was spike-averse. I seem to have accumulated all of the prickly things in one place and then put them in the greenhouse furthest away. Out of sight, out of risk of injury. Something will have to be done, a stitch in time saves nine, sieze the day, a journey of a hundred miles begins with the first step. Perhaps I will spend the rest of the week thinking up good reasons to get on with it. Anything as long as I don't actually have to get on with it.
There is nothing as ruthless as a good idea for exposing the failings of rationality. I don't think that I can grow the large species of Puya here with any hope of long term success. My winter's are a fraction too cold. It's close and I'm going to keep trying, but I'm not anticipating success. The small species are another matter. No reason that I can't grow many of those in the Agave house. I can enjoy their ravishing beauty and their ravaging savagery with the flimsiest protection, at least for the plants. I go stoutly clad.
The flaw in the plan is that with protection the small species grow larger. P. spathacea approaches the roof and its spread is equally alarming. No matter , it is a delight. Last time it flowered it failed to produce seed. This time I have buzzed around it with a probe in emulation of a (fourteen stone) hummingbird. If I get seed then 'mummy' may be supplanted by one of her daughters and put outside to take her chances.
Spreading spines, a characteristic of the genus.