14th July 2019
Disa uniflora .
It has been another sweltering week in the garden, plants are showing the shortage of water. Leaves have lost their perky shine and the years new extension
growth is looking tired. There was a brief threat of thunderstorms and perhaps that is how the long dry spell will end. Last year the dry summer ended
with a dribble, then a drop and finally a return to the warm unpredictibility of autumn. Perhaps this year it will end with a crash as lightening forks
through the sky, the power is cut and people remind each other not to stand under trees.
It would be a relief, a clear-cut break in the dog days of summer. It would also fill up the Disa tanks with water which would be very satisfying.
I have a number of clones of Disa uniflora, identified by colour where they are distinctive and by number when they are not. I don't need any more,
but the urge to raise them from seed is strong and I'm not very good at fighting it. A batch raised from 'clone.5' x 'Red' started to flower last year
and I picked out this cute little plant, scribbling "dwarf" on the label as I went. This year it has remained dwarf and produced four flowers in the pot
as an indication of its enthusiasm for compact colour. It is the unexpected bonus from a hybrid produced without any significant motive. Part of the
"let's just see what happens" approach to plant breeding. It has confounded the expectations I didn't have in the first place.
14th July 2019
Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight'
On Thursday night the cloud rolled in across the sky. I was watering in the greenhouse as the evening air condensed into the finest mist.
Nothing was moistened but the oppressive heat of the day dissipated. The garden had braced itself for adversity and for a moment it relaxed.
This is probably the week for Hemerocallis. I have been cutting down the brambles that had grown up behind the greenhouse and beneath
them I have discovered a hundred or so Hemerocallis that had been stood out a few years ago when I couldn't find anywhere else to put them.
I don't want to plant them out until I have found a way of labelling them securely. Those that are already out in the garden are prospering, but
now mostly nameless. Perhaps it doesn't matter, the good ones perform well and are distinctive, the remainder can be forgotten.
It is performance in the garden that really makes the difference. 'Burning Daylight' was just another orange day lily when it was growing in a pot.
Now it is a magnificent thing forming a compact and vigorous clump of foliage that supports a splash of bright colour. It is well named. It suits the season
14th July 2019
The greenhouse has been a curious refuge from the sweltering heat of the garden. I have been hanging shade netting all week and almost immediately
the plants look better, as though they had just found their misplaced car keys. The tension has been relinquished in most cases.
Hoya carnosa has been an exception. Looped around a ring of wire in the pot, it was enjoying the heat. Hoya is not a genus that favours
cold weather but H. carnosa is one of the tougher ones. I have grown it several times, along with a number of its variegated cultivars, but
eventually they have faded away. This one came from a grower who has it in a cold greenhouse, it seemed like a good opportunity to have another try.
It sat quietly in the corner through winter, unmarked by the occasional chilly night, and with the warmth of summer it has burst into exuberant flower.
I would like it to prosper but I haven't been able to shake off my nagging doubts. If I had, it would have been unwrapped from the ring of wire
and allowed to ramble recklessly through the rafters. If it survives next winter as well then I might release it from the rotations of futility.
14th July 2019
Rosa 'Toby Tristram' .
I have little regard for the utterances of weather forecasters, they are attempting to predict the future and, to misquote Margaret Thatcher
(though it is presciently true for all prime ministers) "the future's not for predicting". Gardeners do the same with as little success,
as demonstrated by Rosa 'Toby Tristram'. What do you do with a vigorous rose when walking around the garden looking for a suitable location?
The answer is that you guess what the future will bring and hope that the rose and its circumstances develop in some sort of harmony.
'Toby Tristram' was planted on the side wall of my workshop. As it turns out, a little too close to the door for comfort but a sturdy support
for the emerging new canes resolved the issue. They very rapidly outgrew the six foot danger level.
But, the future is a strange place, it doesn't always follow the rules. The workshop attempted to fall down, the rose held it up.
Eventually I had to intervene. I cut the rose stems, the roof collapsed, the walls fell inwards and the timber structure was burnt
in a farewell cremation. This is the way that a gardener's prediction of a harmonious future comes to grief.
The rose however continues. From the pile of wind blown ash new stems have emerged and are now swaying dangerously in the slightest breeze
like thrashing strands of barbed wire. I have taken note of its tenacity. I will adjust my future plans to accomodate it.
Stout support seems like an early requirement.