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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


5th July 2020.









The weather is always strange so perhaps the first week in July has been completely normal but it hasn't felt like it. The forecast has promised rain that hasn't come, and then it has promised dry and that hasn't come either. Yesterday the air was heavy with mist and the grass heads hung down with the weight of beauty. I watched them from the window, I'm not stupid. In the end I went out and watered the greenhouse in the rain. Strange weather.
The meadow needs cutting, the flowering grasses are collapsing in sheaves. My mower finally went to the great mower repairer in the sky during winter and it is at last possible to get another - a little job that is becoming more pressing. Like everything else in the garden, the grass needs some attention after six months neglect. The rabbits seem to be loving it however, even if they aren't going as far as eating it. I see the neat, rabbit cropped turf by the sea and wonder why they are too lazy to do the same inland. Too many other good things to eat I suppose.
Six months not mowing did at least give me time to fell some trees. I am enjoying the sun streaming into this space so much that I am almost afraid to plant it. Still, there are plenty of trees waiting to go out, and they have to go somewhere. I also took some time to get the new herbaceous border marked out. Annual weeds have invaded and there are one or two perennial ones that need attention - I might do something unthinkable and dig them out by hand! I am motivated by the original herbaceous border (allowing for the odd Hydrangea) which looks after itself for the most part.

5th July 2020

Anigozanthus flavidus .
The Agave house has also had to look after itself for a while, with mixed consequences. A few brambles have established themselves among the Agave and removing them is going to be a prickly job. It is clear that I have far too many Agave and some will have to take their chances outside. I doubt they will prosper but there isn't a lot I can do about it. If I make some space perhaps I can get the brambles out.
Back in 2012 or 2013 I was given a pot of Anigozanthus seedlings. I have struggled to grow them before (gardeners code for "they dropped dead") so I planted them among the Agave without much hope. Although they have grown very slowly, they have grown and the sight of the first flower spike developing this spring was delightful. The flowers have finally opened and I am pleased to see that it is the green flowered form of Anigozanthus flavidus - there was some doubt over the identity of the seedlings. The trick now is to keep the plants alive or collect seed for a future generation. Perhaps the time has come to turn it into an Anigozanthus house? It would certainly be less prickly but I think I would miss the Mexican monsters - it has always been the intention that they should miss me.

5th July 2020

Rubus idaeus 'Jdeboer005' GROOVY .
Every now and then my labours bear fruit and when it comes in the form of fresh raspberries it is very welcome indeed. I photographed these and then ate them. When I moved into this garden I planted a few large beds of raspberries. I have been getting rid of them ever since. I still get seedlings cropping up from time to time among the brambles though I rarely get a berry to justify their presence.
I used to grow the rather feeble Rubus idaeus 'Aureus' (I think it is now dead) and wondered why nobody seemed to have raised seedlings with one of the vigorous fruiting cultivars. I was on the point of doing it myself when I ran into R.i. GROOVY in a garden centre. I bought it immediately and in a single transaction saved myself a great deal of fuss and bother. Not that a golden leaved fruiting raspberry is particularly useful, at worst it could be neither ornamental nor productive but in this case it seems to be vigorous, interesting and nutritional.
I looked for some details online and discovered that it "perfectly fits the trend towards small spaces, ornamental and gourmet gardens" so I'm on trend. Ha!
A lingering part of me wonders about a yellow fruited yellow leaved raspberry but best not to dwell on it.

5th July 2020.
Disa (Russet Beauty x Trata).








The week has really belonged to the Disa. A number of hybrids have flowered for the first time this year, possibly benefitting from being repotted in the winter. The main collection has been a little shy to flower but I didn't finish repotting them until May and I think I probably disturbed the developing flowers.
My fascination with Disa Trata as a parent continues. I have already had a range of yellow and (almost) white seedlings from it and it inspires me to continue. Flower size still leaves a bit to be desired but I am moving in the right direction. The loss of most of last years seedlings was a set-back but not worth wasting time on (though fill me with whisky on a cold winter's night and I will bore you to tears). Out with the paint brush (I actually use a wooden skewer) and on with the pollinating. I have probably pollinated too many this year but I have stopped counting. I can deal with the consequences later.
I'm not sure why I used D. Russet Beauty as the other parent in this case. Sometimes I'm just a little giddy at the end of an evening's pollination and go a bit wild. Russet Beauty is an uncertain plant, it isn't a registered grex and I can't find reference to it as a cultivar. It's a good plant that I picked up at a local sale and I think it could be D. Foam 'Russet' suffering from a mislabelling problem, however the offspring are lovely.
The red Roscoea have burst from the ground and the earliest Nerine can't be far off. Still, I have a suspicion that next week will be a Disa week as well.