30th January 2022
Galanthus 'Anglesey Abbey' .
One of those unpredictable weeks when everything has gone exactly as the weather forecast promised. It has been overcast and dark with drizzle on occasions and a couple of moments when the sun shone delightfully.
It hasn't been the weather for lingering in the garden, the grass is too long, it is wet underfoot and everything is slightly out of focus in the gloom.
The snowdrops haven't known what to do. In warm drizzle on Friday they had opened wide. With the promise of a warmer Saturday to come I put off photography for a drier day.
Saturday dawned warmer, drier and the snowdrops remained closed all day. They are confused, I was confused only the weather forecast got it right. I have been looking
on Freeview to see if perhaps Channel 957 puts out a snowdrop forecast to assist the befuddled. I haven't found it yet.
It could have been a snowdrop week, there are a lot in flower now. I have a few picture of blurred, bedraggled shapes struggling to free themselves from the dreary background
as the water drips from them. Perhaps next week will be better, the weather forecast is suggesting little change.
Up at the top of the garden my little clump of 'Anglesey Abbey' braved the weekend gloom for a coming out party. I think it will be lifted and split this year.
It does spread around a little by itself but I could do with a bit more. I should probably leave it until it is dormant in August but I can never find the bulbs. Instead I will do it a
month or so after the flowers fade when I can still find the leaves but they have done their job for the year.
30th January 2022
Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' .
When I moved into this garden (around the time of the Norman Conquest) it is fair to say I didn't know what I wanted and I didn't know what I was doing. However, I thought I did
and that was enough. Like all megalomaniacs (= gardeners) I imposed my magnificent will on the space and I learned two important things. First, a magnificent will is a wonderful thing
in a garden. Second, gardens are a gamble, outcomes are the consequence of chance. The two major truths of gardening exist in uncomfortable equilibrium.
An act of magnificent will means that I now have a border of Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle' growing under the camellias. At 20m long it is not a little thing
and that is not a little thing. It is delightful, magnificent and almost accidental.
A similar grand bubble of megalomania led me to knock down the conservatory on the south wall of the house and plant the exposed border with an assortment of proteas
from around the world. Chance stepped in dressed as a beast from the east and killed the whole lot during a fortnight in March 2018. I have replanted, slightly chastened and slightly wiser.
This time I used Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset', probably the hardiest of its genus. Wilfulness and good fortune have combined to bring it into full flower.
The almost invisible anthers dangle from the tiny flowers in the central cone, the display comes from the red bracts surrounding it. I have done my megalomaniacal best
now I cross my fingers and trust its future to chance.
30th January 2022
Narcissus 'Spring Dawn' .
It has been a very mild spring so far. The daffodils seemed to appear early and they have grown fast. As a consequence, 'Spring Dawn' is in flower
at the end of January, exactly when I would expect it. Something happens in gardens that distorts perception. It is optimism or pessimism or pixies. Whatever happens
my expectations are constantly confounded. The only way to know what is going on in the garden is to go out and look.
There have been a number of small daffodils producing flowers, enough to cheer the darkened days. They whisper deceptive promises filled with spring and gaily overlooking
the prospect of frosty nights. Hopefully 'Spring Dawn' is well named. The thick shoots of daffodils are poking up all around the garden, tight buds clasped in their hearts.
They surely can't intend to spend the next month in frigid stasis, the fragile daffodils will trounce the demons of winter. I will be out there cheering them on
and they will cheer me back.
'Spring Dawn' owes its early blooming to 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' parentage. If there is a warm dry moment in the week I might try cross-pollinating them.
I don 't really want any more large daffodils, but early ones are a delight. It is time to put my intentions aside and let chance play its part.
Last year a deer ate the swelling seed capsules so anything might happen.
30th January 2022
Veronica macrocarpa .
After decades apart, Veronica and Hebe have been gripped in loving union. Less dramatically, when I planted this a couple of years ago it was a Hebe
but now the whole genus has been absorbed into Veronica. I have spent the morning biting the bullet and renaming the plants on the website. Hopefully I
haven't left any loose ends in the internet-knitting of website design but time will tell.
I "did" Hebe when I was young, so long ago that I don't have pictures and little except a list to mark the ones I have grown. At the time I had hopes
of using H. insularis as a parent to produce some true blue flowered , compact and hardy hybrids. H. insularis can be blue and compact
but lacks the other vital attribute. I didn't succeed and somewhere in the failure I exhausted my interest.
Veronica macrocarpa rekindled it. A plant that starts flowering in January deserves a place in the garden at the very least. It was disappointingly late last year
but it has made up for it now. If I still had H.insularis I would try the cross, not so much in expectation as in bloody-mindedness. Sadly I think the tender blue marvel
has dropped from cultivation.
I am happy to leave the raising of daffodils to the whims of chance. Therefore when Veronica thwart me I am entitled to be megalomaniacally vexed!
It's only fair.