17th July 2022
Cyclamen hederifolium 'Album' .
I am sitting in my thermal protection bunker (house) waiting for the summer heat to ravage the garden. The forecasters have been warning about record temperatures to come all week
and the garden has been wilting in anticipation. I have spent most of the week checking that everything in the greenhouse has enough water. Temperatures are set to fall again
in the second half of the week, and I think everything will be fine until then. I did an emergency top-up to the Sarracenia growing outside, their water reservoir was running dry
which has never happened before. They would have lasted another day or two but I won't want to go out there on the hottest days.
The need to water has meant there wasn't time to mow. Most of the grass in the garden has stopped growing but I have a border under the trees where I grow Cyclamen hederifolium.
I say "I grow" in a grandiose way, they grow themselves. My contribution consists of cheering supportively from the side-lines. The border gets covered in ivy and I was hoping
to mow its leaves off before the Cyclamen emerged. It doesn't really slow the ivy down but it gives a boost to the emerging Cyclamen. Unfortunately I have left it too late,
the first flower has appeared.
I treat it as the first tangible sign of autumn, the promise of cooler weather and possibly even some rain!
It was too hot yesterday evening to check the Nerine house, I may have Acis autumnalis as well. The autumn bulbs are on the move.
17th July 2022
Hemerocallis 'Ed Murray' .
Hemerocallis are good solid, reliable perennials. They occupy space in a very deliberate way, persisting for years with the minimum of attention. I have a lot and you might have thought
that after some decades I would know where each of them grew. No so. They seem to skip about the garden like wind-blown butterflies. If you had asked me last week where 'Ed Murray' was
I would have replied that he was "up in the garden", vaguely dismissing the possibility that I might go and find him.
This week he has emerged from the undergrowth. Of course, I remember. One of the cultivars that I put in a new border last year having been trapped in a tub for far too long.
I knew he had been in a tub. I could have had a good try at finding where the right tub was, but I knew he was no longer in it. I had planted him. I had planted him somewhere
"up in the garden".
The new border has its problems but it has given a new lease of life to some tired old Hemerocallis and some Agapanthus whose patience (and compost) had been exhausted.
The last pictures I have of 'Ed Murray' were taken in 2010 so perhaps he hasn't flowered for a decade. He really hated that tub.
17th July 2022
Hoya carnosa .
Hoya is a large genus of climbers from the hotter parts of Asia. I grew the "easy" ones as a teenager (for "easy" read "available"), filling windowsills and bookshelves with their
trailing stems and feeling rather uncomfortable when they produced their heads on nectar dripping flowers. Sticky, staining, nectar dripping flowers. In recent years they have attracted
an enthusiastic following and hundreds of species are now grown on windowsills and terraria around the country. I gave them up. Cornwall is warm but hardly tropical, and my house -
well lets just say that it isn't good Hoya habitat.
Not wishing to be unduly philosophical on a sunny summer day but I think that knowing what I am talking about is the greatest source of my own ignorance. So it has been with Hoya .
I was walking around a Camellia show in 2018 when I saw the distinctive leaves and stems of Hoya carnosa. Jeremy Wilson from Stretegate Camellias assured me that it was hardy for him
in a cold polytunnel. No it isn't. It was an affront to my windowsill-twining nectar-dripping bookshelf-staining experience.
He was right of course, it's very tough. It has laughed off the chill of winter in my greenhouse ever since and flowers with drippy enthusiasm. So much for the illusion that I ever knew anything.
Perhaps it is worth growing a few more, you never really know until you have tried.
17th July 2022
Roscoea purpurea 'Red Sultan' .
Roscoea are completely dormant in winter. I grow a lot in pots and there is nothing to see for months. It would be really easy to weed them properly as they slept.
It never happens, I always delay until the first shoots show and then weed in a panic, trying not to do any damage. Fortunately it is the appearance of R. cautleyoides
in March that pushes me into action. At that stage the R.purpurea forms are still sleeping soundly. They don't appear until June, by which time I am looking at the pots suspiciously
and wondering if they are all dead. Over a couple of days the crusty compost erupts with tiny green volcanos as the new shoots push through and promise flowers for the late summer.
The promise has materialised, late summer has arrived with the first blooms from Keith Wiley's 'Red Sultan'. I grow far too many red flowered clones of R. purpurea but they are difficult to resist.
I should cut down the number or plant them all in the garden but I can't see it happening just yet.
I have a comfy chair and the deep shade of a Magnolia to sit in, I think next week is fully occupied.