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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


21st June 2020

Bletilla Anthura clone.1 .
A week of lower temperatures and significant rain which may not sound like a great June but it was welcome. The heat of May had been oppressive, the garden was dry and exhausted. It has been a great relief. I have finally thown away my boots with a hole in the sole, it has been too wet to wear them. These are the practical measures that the weather dictates. Fortunately the heavy rain has fallen after a period of soft rain to moisten the ground and the water sunk in rather than running off. At the bottom of the village they are enjoying the refreshing rain in the garden rather than baling out the cottages.
The Bletilla have been good this year and I have decided to enjoy it rather than worry. I had intended to repot them all during the spring but there simply wasn't enough time. Perhaps when they finish flowering I will get to it. I bought this one at the Malvern Orchid Show last year, the closest to red that I have seen so far in a Bletilla, though there are some strains of B. ochracea with red dots on the back of the flower. It was raised by Anthura in The Netherlands. I don't know what characteristics they are selecting but there are interesting plants turning up among their surplus seedlings.


21st June 2020

Calycanthus chinensis .
April was dominated by the urge to plant things out in the garden. I find it far too easy to pot things up and leave them in the greenhouse "for a bit". Sometimes they are a bit small for planting out, sometimes I can't think of a suitable location and sometimes they are just too tender to risk at the time. I am becoming more resolute, things get planted out.
This Calycanthus was a seedling raised by a friend. I knew that I would prefer a warm summer but beyond that I didn't know much about it. I repotted it on arrival and stood it in the greenhouse while I considered the situation. Warm, sunny positions are not common in this garden. Its ultimate destination was a question that was never properly resolved. For several years it has flowered exuberantly and increased in size as a clear statement that it was happy where it was. I was reluctant to move it and lazy enough to allow that reluctance to stop me.
Things changed in April. I cleared the scrub that had grown up along the front boundary and everything that could be planted out was shoved in a hole to take its chances. Frustration had made me determined to clear some space. The process had to end as the dry weather took over, it is not realistic to consider watering things for long.
I think I am going to lose a couple of shrubs but most seem to have survived. The Calycanthus has even produced a few of flowers, the rain arrived in the nick of time.


21st June 2020

Clivia caulescens .
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum, it may be true. It is certainly true if there is space in the greenhouse I will find a way to fill it. I have a lot of things that can't really go outside from tender ferns and marginal Aspidistra to tender bulbs and Clivia. Through May I have had a wonderful time planting things in the newly cleared beds in the greenhouse. It will make them easier to maintain than they were in pots! I don't believe it for a moment, but it is a change. They are certainly easier to water when planted in the ground and I will be able to overlook the growth of weeds for another week or two at least.
The Clivia have responded well. They were all starved and yellowing in the pots, planted in the ground they have already greened up and look healthier. Although it has only been planted for a few weeks, this Clivia caulescens has produced the best head of flowers I have seen in years and the plant looks happy which is more of a joy. I am worried that this section of the greenhouse won't be warm enough for them through the winter but the only way to find out is to try. It's too late to do anything about it now anyway, the space they previously occupied has already been taken up by Pyrrosia ferns that were desperate for larger pots and more light. Space in a greenhouse doesn't stay empty for very long.



21st June 2020

Philesia magellanica .
As I clear each section of the greenhouse I have been eyeing up the plants in the next section and wondering what to do with them. I have three Lapageria sitting in a warm greenhouse hating every minute of it. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong and uncertainty removes the motivation to change things. Every time I try something new they seem to look worse. A couple of weeks ago I moved them to a well ventilated, shaded location where they will be wet (rather than moist). Almost immediately one of them has formed a bud, either a gesture of satisfaction or a last desperate survival strategy. Only time will tell. I love Lapageria but find their continual decline disheartening. If the new location doesn't work it might be time to accept that, as with the Meconopsis, they just aren't for me!
However Philesia magellanica has been doing well. I have two plants in the greenhouse and they are both thriving. One of them may have to take its chances in the garden, the other will be planted out in the greenhouse in a shady corner where it can turn into a spectacular wonder. The first flower crept up without me noticing. I found it yesterday in full bloom and rejoiced.
But that takes us into the realms of speculation. Space has yet to be cleared for either of them. It could take another decade.