18th July 2021
Disa cardinalis .
Summer has arrived this year, but not for the first time. Summer has been arriving in short parcels since the hot, dry weather of April, so this latest burst of sunny weather
may also have a short duration.
Plants have been taking advantage of the circumstances. The ground is still moist and temperatures are high so there is a lot of growth going on. Bramble seedlings that
looked innocuous earlier in the year have now produced long trailing shoots hanging into all of the paths. It is a simple job to spend an afternoon going around and removing them, but it isn't a particularly pleasant one.
I might get to it on a cool evening when I'm feeling calm.
In the greenhouse the Disa season is well underway. I spent a couple of evenings pollinating flowers during the wek and now I will wait and see which of them produce seed. I have tried to keep my focus on yellow flowers
this year but I am easily distracted by good ideas (and bright colours).
Disa cardinalis it the last of the species to flower here and the first blooms have just opened. At the same time I have started to remove old flowers from the early cultivars with the sense that this is the beginning of the end.
The first of the red Roscoea opened yesterday to emphasise the changes going on.
18th July 2021
Cyrtanthus 'Elizabeth' .
The greenhouse is baking in the sunshine. There is a brief period every year when I wish I could just roll up the walls and let the breeze in. I have hung shade netting over the plants, hoping that it will be enough to
keep them from scorching. The alpine primulas would be much more comfortable outside but then I would have to have somewhere to put them all and move them back and forth. It's all too much trouble.
I might add a window to the greenhouse beside their bench to reduce the temperature a bit. I have almost given up on saxifrages under cover, they start to expire from heat-stroke almost as soon as they finish flowering.
Once again, they would be better outside is there was anywhere suitable.
During April, as the first indications of summer arrived, I started to sort out the Nerine house. I had a number of summer growing bulbs in there that did not fit in very well with the winter growing Nerine.
They were all repotted and moved into my propagation house where they will be watered more reliably through the summer. An improvement in growth was almost immediate, it turns out that water in the growing season is a good thing.
Cyrtanthus 'Elizabeth' has been the first to flower. I'm sure that it is a hybrid, but I haven't been able to find out anything about it. For years I worried that it was a weak grower or perhaps
suffered from a heavy virus load. I think now that it just needed watering. Shocking.
18th July 2021
Hemerocallis 'Tuscawilla Tigress' .
Watering isn't an option in the herbaceous border. I might manage a can or two at planting time, but that will be it. Usually I am too lazy to carry water up there and rely on the rain coming
before too long. I live in a wet climate, it doesn't seen unreasonable to me.
I bought 'Tuscawilla Tigress' in 2007 and it took a long time to establish in the border. It may have wanted more care than it got. It arrived as a single crown wrapped in paper.
It had probably been out of the ground for several weeks and in retrospect I might have soaked it overnight before planting to allow it to rehydrate. Sometimes a box of plants arrives and the excitement
overwhelms common sense. It went straight out into the garden and that was probably a better solution than putting it aside while I thought about it.
I expect it has flowered before but I don't remember it - is 14 years too long to wait for a Hemerocallis to flower? It has been struggling with an overgrowth of weeds that I haven't wanted to remove.
There are some brambles and hogweed in the mix, I need gloves and a long sleeved shirt, a sharp spade and a wheelbarrow to hand before I tackle it.
Is fourteen years too long to put off an unpleasant task?
18th July 2021
Acis autumnalis .
Hot weather is slowing progress in the garden. I repotted a dozen Nerine yesterday, it took all morning. I did the first six and had to retreat to the house to cool down. I did the second batch before lunch
and returned indoors for the afternoon, it was too hot to do anything else. As the cool of evening arrived I set out to water the Nerine, expecting a cool shower to stir them into growth.
Acis autumnlis has beaten me to it, emerging and flowering from dust-dry pots. It has anticipated the coming soaking.
I have grown a number of slightly different variations on the theme of Acis autumnalis but they seed around freely, the original pots now grow a confusion of seedlings. Last year I was left wondering why
I had half a dozen large pots of Acis that were effectively identical. I thought for a while that it was a species I could live without, but I am quite fond of it.
Young people won't remember the days of cheque books, won't identify with the feeling in January when you first wrote the new year on a cheque, that mix of caution and the sense of change.
I feel the same about Acis autumnalis, the first tentative hint of autumn, the first cool flower among the hot colours of summer. Before long there will be Cyclamen.
I don't think it will be this week, the forecast looks hot and stable for several day, but the next heavy shower might be enough to set them off.
While the ground is clear of spring bulbs there are jobs to be done, the meadow to be mown, branches to be cleared, prevarication to be avoided. Gardens are so relaxing.