Home Index Web Stuff Copyright Links Me Archive

JEARRARD'S HERBAL


16th August 2020

Disa cardinalis .
The mist has rolled in and the mist has rolled out again. Then the mist has rolled in - well, you probably get the sequence by now. If we had rain, and it is open to question, then it fell silently at night. The ground has been wet in the morning but perhaps that was just the mist. I recalibrated my rain detector to check what was happening. That is to say I tipped the water out of the bucket by the back door so that I could see if any new rain had fallen. Nothing so far. The water was poured onto Lobelia bambesetii growing in a tub in the shade by the back door. I put it there to be sure that I remembered to water it, the lush leafy growth transpires at a terrifying rate. Not the perfect location for a number of reasons but I have come home on a couple of days to find it wilting after a long hard afternoon transpiring. Anywhere less obvious and I am sure it would have been dead by now.
Down in the greenhouse the Disa are crumbling to the end of their season. I should cut all the old flower heads off but it needs a long, relaxing evening without distractions. If I try to do it in a hurry I will end up cutting off the developing seed pods from my deliberate pollinations. It is very easily done. In these sophisticated digital times you would think there might be a special font to emphasise the voice of experience.
It is very easily done. Whoops.


16th August 2020

Roscoea purpurea 'Purple Sultan' .
The second wave of Roscoea is building on the benches. The first wave has crashed and been carried away. Quite literally in this case, the bench that housed the early spring Roscoea collapsed as they were flowering. Perhaps it was the strain of supporting all that beauty, though I think the rot in the support strut was a significant contributing factor. They were carried away, perhaps not to the sea, but up the hill in a wheelbarrow to populate the new herbaceous border. Some sanity has to be imposed on the greenhouse and this seemed like a good opportunity.
There will be some much needed space for the summer Roscoea to expand into. They can be "uncrowded" and made easier to see - the revelation of the last decade has been the benefit of giving things enough room to be seen. It requires resolve, and a serependitious crash when that falters, but I am slowly sorting out the decades of horticultural hoarding and liberating things into the garden. One good downpour and I could convince myself that it was sufficiently autumnal to start planting again. I have some piles of branches to burn first, and the garden is still too dry to try that with confidence.
Roscoea 'Purple Sultan' is one of Keith Wiley's seedlings, the flowers open purple but rapidly fade to a rich red. On a sunny day the light illuminates them like glowing rubies, but then the mist rolls in again.


16th August 2020

Nymphaea 'Pygmaea Helvola' .
If I had flat ground or a high water table, natural springs or a mechanical digger, then I might have felt the need to indulge my whim for waterlilies. As it is I have none of those things. I had a very elderly mechanical digger for a couple of years but it was not reliable and it stretched my mechanical ability to patch and mend. It was certainly not the machine for excavating whimsical waterlily ponds on a steep hill. So I restrict my choice to Nympaea 'Pygmaea Helvola', the smallest of the hybrids. It spent about twenty years in a large green bucket beside the Nerine house, flowering reliably but with reducing freedom through the last few years. I was aware that something had to be done and time delivered a solution. Photodegredation broke my bucket. It should be the headline from a newspaper found under some floorboards during a renovation. Fortunately I was prepared having bought a new bucket just weeks before. The new bucket stands to the south of the house, is slightly larger and of more robust construction. I hope to have a bucket of waterlilies for years to come.
'Pygmaea Helvola' lost all of its leaves in the interbucketting manoevre but it has bounced back vigorously and flowered well. I would like to have a dwarf red hybrid as well but have resisted the urge to get one. Those I have seen have all been slow growing big waterlilies, lacking the charm of these tiny two inch flowers floating in their micropond.
The day the digger went was completely unclouded by sadness, I will not be getting another.



16th August 2020

Hedychium wardii RF.134 .
The Hedychium house had filled with opportunistic trees and shrubs, sheltering there until an appropriate time and place arrived for them. It never arrived. My usual approach, of waiting calmly while the universe resolved these little problems, was not producing results. In the last few years I have been planting things out with increasing fervour and reducing discrimination. Three quarters of the shrubs in there have been planted out, one final push through the autumn should see the job completed. In the process, about half of the Hedychium have gone out. The other half will be going out, exactly where remains something of a mystery. I cleared a lot of space for the final group of shrubs to be planted in the autumn, there well be gaps between them suitable for Hedychium. True, they are hypothetical gaps at this stage of the process but there is a possibility that I will eventually have a Hedychium house that contains no Hedychium. A hypothetically empty Hedychium house.
It had better happen quickly because the hypothetical space is filling rapidly. That part of the garden is filled with the distinctive stench of sanity and resolve evaporating.
H. wardii has been the first to flower in the garden this year. H. densiflorum and H. spicatum are following close on its heels but this one is still under cover and it has responded to the extra protection. It is Dick Fulcher's introduction, with slightly pink tinged stems. The green stemmed form is already planted in the garden but it won't be flowering this year - the Roe Deer bucks have been using its stems to rub their antlers against - not a problem I had anticipated.
The mist has rolled out again, thunderstorms are promised in the forecast. I have emptied the "rain guage" into the "waterlily pool" and whispered a silent thank you for buckets, unsung heroes of the garden.