18th October 2020
Galanthus peshmenii 'Kastellorizo' .
The tail of summer has wagged back and forward this week like an excited dog. Gloomy weather at the start of the week gave way to a couple of bright, dry days
and I snatched the opportunity to finish the mowing. I'm hoping for another opportunity in a couple of weeks so that I can create the illusion of perfect mown order.
If I manage it then the garden will appear tidy until March with little further need for attention. If I don't manage it then it won't matter, the worst has been
The autumn snowdrop season is brief and the variety is limited, however it seemed worth showing a picture of 'Kastellorizo' while it was flowering. Collected in the 1970's
on the eponymous Greek island where it grows in the pockets and fractures in north facing limestone cliffs by the sea. It has a poor reputation for hardiness
but it seems to be doing well in the Nerine house.
With the autumn snowdrop season in full swing I had the courage to glance over the snowdrop beds. The very earliest of the G. elwesii cultivars could have
started to show noses above the ground. There was nothing. Perhaps the spring snowdrop season will be long enough without needing a rushed start. If it has
survived then 'Remember Remember' should appear in the next few weeks and gently ease the thought of winter out of the way.
18th October 2020
Colchicum 'Waterlily' .
On the sunny side of the house I have a large tub of water where Nymphaea 'Pygmaea Helvola' grows. It has had a good season with plenty of tiny, delicate flowers
to delight me. For a moment I am enchanted by the thought of waterlilies and then somebody showed me a picture of the flower of Victoria amazonica resting
on a tropical pool like a wilting red cabbage. All waterlilies are not tiny and delightful.
Colchicum 'Waterlily' approaches the boundary between delight and floating cabbages. I am very fond of it. In my eyes it always falls on the delightful side but fall it always does.
The thin stem is barely strong enough to support the single cultivars, this double is rarely seen in its upright position. A gust of wind or spatter of rain will be enough to leave it
wallowing on the ground like a beached whale. The flower continues in good condition even after it falls, but I can see the point of view that describes
it as a monstrosity. A couple of days of still, sunny weather mean that I had a few standing upright when I went out with a camera. They won't be there now, dull gusty
weather yesterday will have toppled them.
18th October 2020
Impatiens gomphophylla .
The summer delivered a long warm spell that helped Impatiens gomphophylla to make good growth. After some time struggling in a pot I finally planted it on the south wall of the house
and then worried that it might be too bright and too dry for it to prosper. Robust growth during the year has helped to calm my concerns.
I have spent most of the summer attempting to capture the appearance of the orange flowers nestling among the leaves without great success. Finally on Friday I got lucky,
a low beam of sunlight illuminating the flower in just the right way.
After a number of grand ideas and false starts the border on the south wall is settling down into a random mix of things that might be tender but are certainly precious, at least to me.
My original intention, to try out some of the hardier Proteaceae, foundered in the spring of 2018 when they all died. I have since planted Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'. It seems to be the
hardiest of the genus and it survived in gardens locally so I think it should make it. It isn't the prettiest of them but it would be nice to have at least one that was reliable.
I replanted Leucadendron 'Burgundy Sunset' because it is worth trying again. It may not last for very long but the deep purple foliage is amazing enough for me to replant it
every couple of years if I have to. It is surrounded by young Nerine seedlings because they had to go somewhere.
18th October 2020
Nerine bowdenii .
I have arrived at that moment that every hybridist must face. Why did I grow so many? With Nerine there is a long gap between sowing the seed and having to find space for the flowering plants.
I have been sowing N. bowdenii seed for years and it hasn't been a problem until suddenly the first of them need large pots as they start to flower. In the early years I was not very discriminating
in the parents I chose, and a lot of the seedlings are pink in a way that is both exciting and ordinary. As they flower I am trying to plant them around the garden where they can provide a thrill of pink
through the dark days without causing problems. Unfortunately it isn't going very well. I keep seeing details that I like in them. Plants that should be put out are being kept for another years "assessment".
Even I know that I am kidding myself. Some dry, gardening weather might help to ease the congestion.
This seedling represents one of my rare considered moments. I decided to try and raise some dark flowered N. bowdenii forms. 'Isabel' is the best of the cultivars available commercially
so I have raised a dozen or so seedlings from it, hoping for something good and dark. They are all dark, which is pleasing. There are all good and I would cheerfully keep them all, however none
of them is better than the parent. Back to the drawing board. I'm sure they will enrich the garden.