19th January 2020
Agave celsii .
There is a story that the radiation from a nuclear weapon would scramble the memory of all the computers in range. I don't know if its true but it is interesting to ponder
as the sunshine beats down on the garden. The idea that radiation can obliterate memory. I was basking in the sunlight yesterday, taking photographs and drifting sleepily
on the warmth of spring. What magnificent weather. Except that I have forgotton that it rained all week with gale force winds, the garden is sodden and the whole experience
was fairly miserable. All gone in a moment in the sunshine.
I can feel the garden quickening. Things are moving in the greenhouse, the snowdrops are dangling, the hellebores opening and yet there is the feeling that winter hasn't done with us yet.
Bright sunlight yesterday meant a cold evening. There was a ground frost this morning for the first time in weeks. The forecasters are saying it will all bounce back to
mild overcast weather in a day or two but this isn't the time of year for bouncing back this is more the time for unexpected plunging down.
I hid in the Agave house while I thought about it. Things have been growing. Agave celsii demonstrating that it needs more space than I had allowed when I planted it. There were a lot of Agave,
they needed to go somewhere. Before long I am going to have to make some difficult decisions but for now I am going to retreat into despair, do a little shrieking and pretend it isn't happening.
In the end I will get bored with that and do something more practical but it will have to wait.
Aaaagh - what have I done!
19th January 2020
Helleborus odorus .
I had my mind fixed on the snowdrops this week. They are coming up all over the snowdrop bed, little patches of white and gaps between them. I keep looking in the gaps, there should be something visible
and usually there is. The first shoots of the later cultivars pushing through. The relief is almost overwhelming when they appear. I have too many snowdrops, the loss of a few would be
a good thing in many ways, but the idea of parting still has a sting.
I was concentrating on the dappled light playing over G. woronowii. Standing there thinking to myself that I really must divide the clump up. There are two clones in it, an early one and a late one.
They would be better apart. It is one of those jobs that just has to be done, no amount of thinking about it produces a solution. It is a quandry. Bright sunny weather is not the time to remember to do mundane jobs.
And what if the snowdrops get sulky about it?
It's the sort of distraction that made me overlook Helleborus odorus in full flower dappling the sunlight that falls on the snowdrops. The first flower has already dropped its anthers, it must have been open last week
without me noticing. My mind has been fixed on snowdrops. It's a sort of tunnel vision.
19th January 2020
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' .
Too much wintery white. There is a feeling that the garden might be seeing a bit more of that before the season is over, time for a bit of brightness. The Hamamelis have been good
for the most part. I withold my opinion on H. mollis, which seems to have died. If I don't look at it too closely then I won't be too disappointed. It was about five feet tall
and hasn't flowered. The outer twigs are brittle. Last year it presented me with a conundrum. The rootstock had started to produce suckers and they reached flowering age. It had been grafted onto
Hamamelis vernalis and I don't have a plant of that. Which to keep ? I couldn't make up my mind, the H. mollis would be easy to replace but it would take several years to
grow back to this size. I walked away and thought about other things, my standard approach to difficulties. I rationalise it. Give problems a while to resolve themselves before I need to intervene.
Looks like they have done, I think both plants are dead. That border was too crowded anyway.
H. x intermedia 'Diane' grows at the other end of the row, the bright red flowers have taken on an orange glow in the sunshine but the colour is magnificent. This is a young plant and my specimen of 'Ruby Glow'
is a couple of years older and much denser. 'Ruby Glow' has paler flowers but they are crowded along the stems, it makes a great show. However, this one is a better colour. It doesn't take very much of this orange-scarlet
to lift the spirits in the January sunshine. Let's just forget the weeks storm clouds. I can do that.
19th January 2020
Helleborus ICE N ROSES RED .
Overlooked flowers might be the theme of the week. Spring is pushing along faster than I am able to keep up.
For many years breeders were concentrating on producing the best forms of Helleborus x hybridus. Unfortunately they have to be produced from seed, micropropagation hasn't yet
taken over, and although there are a few micropropagated clones available now breeders have shifted their focus. It started with the hybrids between H. argutifolius/lividus
and H. niger. The micropropagation problems were solved, they grew well for producers, looked good at the point of sale and performed well in gardens, at least for a year or two.
I haven't found any that were long lived, but my garden is cool and wet, they probably prefer more summer heat.
The next step was to breed H. x hybridus into the mix. H. WALBERTON'S ROSEMARY was the first big hit along those lines. Fantastic thing.
Subsequent work in Germany has crossed H. x ericsmithii with H. x hybridus to produce a series of hybrids with red flowers and good evergreen leaves. They seem to be
hardy and reliably perennial. It's a great step forward, though I do miss the thrill of watching unknown seedlings come into flower for the first time, the painfully slow draw of the vegetable lottery.
For marketing purposes it is sold as Helleborus ICE N ROSES RED but for the purposes of its plant patent it is actually named H. 'COSEH 4100'.
Any day now the winter could kick in. It isn't in the forecast but it is a very unstable time of year, next week we could be under 8 inches of snow.
I'm not looking forward to it, but it is another one of those problems that solves itself if you ignore it for long enough.