18th August 2019
Disa cardinalis .
A couple of weeks ago it looked as though the hot summer weather might end in a spectacular display of lightning. Somehow it fizzled away, the threatening clouds passed silently
overhead during the night and behind them a season of drizzle and showers appeared. I was cutting the meadow as it was predicted and I felt under pressure to get it cut and cleared before
the grass was too wet to lift. The speckling of showers continued until Friday when the rain set in. It was raining when I woke up and it was still raining when I went to bed.
All the water tanks are full to overflowing and the temperature has dropped. In the greenhouse a layer of fleece that was shading one of the benches has been ripped into gossamer
shreds by the wind. It doesn't offer much shade now, but I get the feeling the bench won't be needing it. Last week I planted out a banana thinking that it still had a few months
of summer to enjoy. This week I am considering planting out trees and shrubs, they will be wet enough to establish now.
The Disa have appreciated the flood of water, it cleans out their water taks and freshens the whole greenhouse. Disa cardinalis flowers late in the season
and the tall spikes opened lethargically in the heat. Suddenly they look perky, the flowers seem to have expanded more fully and the plants have greened up.
18th August 2019
Hedychium dendiflorum 'Assam Orange'
Heavy rain has also helped the Hedychium in the garden. H. wardii has grown another 10cm and the flower comes have appeared at the top of the canes.
H. densiflorum 'Assam Orange' grows in a large clump between two Leyland Cypress where the ground can get very dry. It is slow to emerge and slow to grow
but the rain gave it enough moisture to produce flower spikes and now they have opened. It doesn't have a very long season but the canes in the drier part of the bed are still developing
so they will flower in a couple of weeks time. After that the spikes of red fruit will provide interest until they fall.
It wasn't the most intelligent piece of planting I have ever done. Hedychium love water and this group see very little of it, however they are also extremely tolerant of drought
so they survive. The stems are shorter and the leaves are less lush but they still produce some late summer colour.
They were planted under the cypress when I was desperate to get more of the collection into the garden. That time has returned. They would do much better in the ground than in pots in the greenhouse
and I need the space! Time to get out the wheelbarrow and start moving them.
18th August 2019
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Blackfield'.
I have a few forms of Persicaria amplexicaulis in the herbaceous border.It is a good thing, dominating its space but not spreading too rapidly. I am a little cautious of Persicaria
in general. In a foolish moment I introduced some forms of P. campanulata to the garden when I moved here, and I am still waging war on them.
P. amplexicaulis produces occasional seedlings but it hasn't been invasive so far. The worst culprit has been 'Blackfield'. My clump has a couple of dark seedlings growing amongst it.
They are dark, but they are not as good as the original. I keep intending to tear them out while the clump is flowering but somehow it hasn't happened yet.
I like the drab intensity of the colour. Theatre seats were once covered in velvet of the same colour. Perhaps they still are, perhaps it is the same velvet. It had been very thoroughly sat on
when I was a child, I don't like to think about it now. Antique is the polite work.
18th August 2019
Utricularia praelonga .
The Persicaria is happy in the moist soil of the herbaceous border, it has relaxed into its space, filling the spare gaps without threatening its neighbours. Utricularia praelonga
has done the same thing among the Sarracenia. I planted it in a water lily pot to keep it close to the surface in a water tank that is about 5cm deep. It has been happy there for years but
as it established it has grown its thread like stems out over the bottom of the tank. The leaves push up like a straggling lawn. At the moment it has only reached a metre or so wide, but I can see the
day coming when the whole bed is filled with its sparkling yellow flowers. It sounds delightful, but it will make it almost impossible to manage the Sarracenia. This year something will have to be done.
I might just move a small piece into another tank and then eradicate the parent clump. It is already fighting for domination with U. dichotoma and U. reniformis and I would rather keep them apart.
If it starts to grow into the Sarracenia pots then it will be too late and I will have to accept it as yet another rampant weedy Utricularia. It is too pretty to become
hateful. I must act to constrain it before it forces my hand.
Along with moving the Hedychium I should tidy up the Sarracenia, finish repotting the spring bulbs, repair a hole in the greenhouse roof, weed the Primula collection, do a second cut on the meadow
and remember that this is the quiet season, when I relax in a chair and watch the garden at its peak.