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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


21st February 2021

Galanthus Warley Place Group
By the start of the week the temperature had risen significantly. The rain abated temporarily and in the middle of the week the sun shone, the garden felt like summer and all thoughts of winter were banished. Even the robin was singing at me lustily. He's either short sighted or desperate. Inevitably the rain returned overnight but it wasn't cold, wintery rain, it was heavy, saturating rain. The garden is dripping wet, the soil is slumping downhill through the beds and the mosses have swelled up and stand on tiptoe over the ground to escape the sludge.
Every night has brought a new crop of dead twigs and branches falling from the trees. At the top of the garden the snowdrops seem to have escaped damage. I have a mixed group of seedlings up there that originated at Warley Place, assorted hybrids between G. plicatus plictus and G. plicatus byzantinus. They are more vigorous and floriferous than the G. nivalis that I planted originally and I am encouraging them to spread and cover the ground. For now they are charming, eventually they will be as sensational as they are at Warley Place.


21st February 2021

Camellia 'Cornish Spring' .
Spring has been written in the garden for a long time but this week it was finlly written on a label. Camellia 'Cornish Spring' has produced a few flowers at the top of the bush. I nearly walked past it because they were above my head. It is a little unfortunate that it is still growing in a pot in the greenhouse, something will have to be done. Last spring I planted a lot of things out in a frantic rush to get them into the ground before the spring rains stopped. I didn't quite make it, and 'Cornish Spring' was left behind. I'm not quite ready to start planting again, there is some clearing to do and a new path to make. Once it is complete there will be space to plant all of the things still sheltering under cover. Eventually the garden will be full and the greenhouse will be empty.
Camellia 'Cornish Spring' is a hybrid between C. cuspidata and C. japonica 'Rosa Simplex'. Raised by Gillian Carlyon at Tregrehan Camellia Nursery and registered in 1973 it is vigorous and upright. In the time it has taken to write that I have realised there is a space in the garden where a hastily planted Pittosporum has died, I won't have to spend a few days clearing after all!


21st February 2021

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' .
It may be a little early to say, but it seems to have been an ordinary winter. In many ways that has been a good thing. Last year was remarkably mild, the garden was hardly touched by frost. A couple of years ago the beast from the east turned another moderate winter into an arctic assault in the garden. There is still time for things to change, but this year looks ordinary. The long range weather forecast is not suggesting anything noteworthy for the next few weeks so this might be a good year for taking stock.
Just before the beast from the east, I planted the south wall of the house with an assortment of proteas. None of them survived which was a little disappointing but not disheartening. They were newly planted and forced to endure the worst winter weather for a considerable time. I have replanted a few things. Perhaps I have been a little more cautious this time but I didn't want to let single bad winter put me off. Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' seems to be the toughest of its genus and I am sure that it will survive up against the house. It is coming into flower immediately after our sharpest frosts so I think it will probably do.
L. 'Burgundy Sunset grows beside it and although it is probably more tender, it has also come through without apparent damage. Banksia blechnifolia is looking good so this might be the year to plant another Protea in a flurry of quivering leathery optimism. If I can find a space. Warm, south facing walls fill up remarkably quickly!



21st February 2021

Narcissus pseudonarcissus obvallaris .
I have a small meadow on a slope that is generally moist with drainage from the hill above. It is a perfect space for daffodils which fill the early part of the year with delight. It is also a perfect space for the native ferns which have been colonising with enthusiasm. I don't mind the graceful fronds but the hard, fibrous stumps are a problem. The mower objects when it discovers them in June or July. From time to time (and the time has come again) I have to go through the space with a spade, removing them.
At the start of the year there is a colony of Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'. Originally they were interplanted with N. pseudonarcissus obvallaris. I was hoping to extend the season of interest but it didn't really work. The 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' are on their last legs as the Tenby daffodils reach perfection. The combination looked untidy and eventully I dug up the Tenby's and moved them to the bottom of the slope where they bloom in perfect late isolation. I could probably plant a really late flowering cultivar among the 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' but I am reluctant to take the risk and mess up the whole meadow again. Experience has made me unexpectedly cautious.
Not so among the Dendrobium. I made a few outright reckless purchases last year and a normal winter has been interesting. A couple of things will probably die, among them D. victoria-reginae. A number of unexpected things have survived undamaged.
All things considered, it was a good year for being a little reckless in the garden. Time to plant that Camellia while it's still on my mind.