27th March 2022
Clivia miniata Green Throat .
Another week of bright weather has preceded the arrival of British Summer Time. While working in the garden during the week I was finally forced to go and find a pair of shorts,
it was too hot to stay out there in long trousers. Strong sunshine has been matched by strong easterly winds. The garden is drying very rapidly. I watered daffodils in pots at
the start of the week and by Friday they were wilting again.
Down in the greenhouse the first of the season's clivias has opened. I am slowly picking up speed with the clivias again after a few years ignoring them. I have just sown seed from
one of the good variegated clones - last year it produced five seeds and I got five variegated seedlings from them which is a startlingly high success rate. This year's seed carries
a heavy burden of expectation.
Clivia miniata Green Throat is a plant I have been growing for a long time. It isn't remarkable, just a selection of the best green throated seedling from a batch.
There are much more strongly coloured forms available now but this was the best I could get at the time. A number of plants that haven't flowered for several years have got flower spikes coming up.
These early flowers mark the start of a season of excitement.
27th March 2022
Camellia grijsii .
The weather has been kind to the camellias this year. The bud-set from last autumn has been good and we haven't had much in the way of frosts to spoil the show.
A number of plants that went in a decade ago are reaching the age when they flower well. A row of plants that went out two years ago have recovered from the move enough
to flower this year. The result has been that I have spent some time confirming identities. It is an interesting task, part literature search and part scrabbling around
in the soil looking for original labels. The soil is dry, the undergrowth is still in a subdued state, next week I should return to scrabbling.
The latest wave of planting out started with C.grijsii which had lived in startling splendour in the greenhouse for a decade while I worried about its hardiness.
In the end it outgrew the available space and although it resented the disturbance, out it went. It has taken a few years to forgive me but this year I have a good scattering of blooms.
It isn't overwhelmingly decorated but it is distinctive and delightful. I am very pleased that it has taken to its new location.
27th March 2022
Pleione Britannia 'Doreen' .
About a month ago I was walking beside the Pleione bench filled with woeful thoughts and premonitions of catastrophe. They all looked dead. Am I capable of killing them all in
a single season? I don't know. I am certainly capable of killing them, I have been doing it for decades. I am still trying to replace some of the older cultivars that
I killed as a teenager. I don't want to replace them because they are especially good. I just want to demonstrate, to myself as much as anybody else, that my cultivation
technique has improved. In the years that have followed those early pleionicides many of the old cultivars have been infected with virus. I have a few signs of it in the collection
now. I don't panic about it, but when I see plants that are infected they are removed. Last year I planted them out in the garden and so far there is no sign of any survivors
so this year they will just be composted. Eventually I will eliminate virus from the collection. Probably.
Pleione Britannia 'Doreen' is a relatively elderly cultivar but she is also very vigorous and floriferous. It is perfectly possible to have a large collection of the latest
Pleione cultivars sitting in solitary splendour in pots. Doreen is a joyfully common antidote, she is a solid pink slap in the face.
27th March 2022
Narcissus 'Mesa Verde' .
I have far more daffodils in the garden than I ever intended. When I started planting the garden I promised myself that daffodils would go in by the sackful or not at all.
That is to say, if I wasn't prepared to buy a 28lb sackful of a cultivar then I didn't like it enough to plant at all. 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' made the grade, as did
N.obvallaris and 'Pipit'. Somewhere along the way my sackful of resolve split. Perhaps it was the tiny N.asturiensis that did it. I don't know if it possible to buy
it by the sackful but I certainly don't have the patience to plant them. Resolve is like Humpty-Dumpty, once it falls it is impossible to put it together again.
My interest in green daffodils is a direct consequence, I have only ever grown single bulbs. 'Mesa Verde' cost me so much in 2016 that a sackful would have been impossible.
It has been the most successful of the N. viridiflorus hybrids that I have grown to date. It hasn't increased much in the last eight years but it has carried on flowering.
I would like to grow N.viridiflorus itself, there are alpine growers in the east of the country who succeed, but I think it is beyond my ability. 'Mesa Verde'
is a couple of generations away and as close as I expect to get.
There is the suggestion of rain in the forecast for next week and for the first time this year it will be very welcome.