Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
15th May 2011
Clematis montana 'Elizabeth'
I have been rather cautious with Clematis over the years. When I first started gardening on this site there were very few trees and almost no cover.
A vigorous Clematis would have spent its life as streamers blowing in the wind, and the options were vigorous or dead. Slowly as the tree cover
and windbreaks have established I have planted more Clematis, but there are still only a few. I wish I had been bolder and planted earlier.
I have a few Clematis montana forms hoisting themselves slowly into trees. Among the best has been 'Elizabeth'. I thought that the deep pink forms
would be most interesting but in the real world the colour is indistinct when looking up through foliage towards the sky. This bright white is
much more striking (and so pleasing that I will overlook the fact that it is supposed to be pink). I have a fairly low rate of establishment -
of the seven cultivars I have planted on trees, three have established, but possibly
that is enough. Once they have their roots in, they are away. I would do better if I watered them reliably through the first year, but there always
seems to be more important things to do. I have a few more to go in this year, but I am going to grow them in pots for a while, and plant them out
in the autumn to see if that gives better results.
15th May 2011
I grow a few terrestrial orchids and they are a rather odd selection. I try to stay away from anything that has a reputation for being finicky
and I prefer to restrict myself to things that will grow satisfactorily in the water trays that the Sarracenia occupy (it makes life
a great deal easier).
There are a lot of species that claim to be bog orchids, but many of them will not tolerate permanent saturation and eventually I forget to dry them
out in the autumn and they are gone. Slowly I am assembling a small collection of tolerant mavericks, and this is a recent addition to their number.
The species is described as "widespread" and "rare" in Japan which either means nobody really knows, or that it is exactly that. A species
from light woodland that grows in moist soils and now in water trays in Cornwall, it is certainly widespread.
15th May 2011
I planted seed in 2007 and have been waiting for flowers with great interest. The seed arrived labelled C.huttonii. I was looking forward
to its luminous orange flowers. I was amazed by how well this dweller in cliff crevices in the Eastern Cape adapted to pot culture.
I was growing the wrong thing!
This is C.breviflorus whch also grows in the Eastern Cape, but ranges up as far as Kenya. After a couple of hard winters I was reasonably
sure that mine do not hail from the warmer parts of the range. Unfortunately this year was a real killer and I only have one of the original
five seedlings surviving and it has flowered. Perhaps the deceased were true to name, I will never know.
Fascinating large flared flowers, I have other yellow species of Cyrtanthus but nothing quite as spectacular as this. Cyrtanthus hybrids
have great commercial potential. If I had anything else in flower I might yet make my fortune on a wave of Cyrtanthomania (I don't think it has reached
the dictionaries yet).
15th May 2011
I regularly have my leg pulled by a non-gardening friend who believes that john-world is a whimsical place filled with the inexplicable and inconsequential.
It may be true.
The common Dragon Arum is found throughout the mediterranean region (yes, I had to check how to spell it). It has large brownish maroon flowers
built to attract flies and perfumed (strongly) to match. It may be inexplicable and inconsequential that there is a white flowered species
growing on the Canary Isles without the need for pungent flowers. Perhaps it is pollinated by lovely insects. It is certainly whimsical to want to grow
it, but I have yearned for years. The new growth starts almost as soon as the flowers fade, so it is almost evergreen
with possibly a short 'winter' in July. It is always spoken of as rather tender, but it has withstood a series or testing winters in the greenhouse
(minus 5degC) without objecting. When it has been weak it is because I have kept it too dry and not fed it well enough. I will have to split it this year
so perhaps this is the time to try it outside.
As long as john-world is populated with inexplicable and whimsical delights such as this, I can stand having my leg pulled!
To find particular groups of plants I grow, click on the genus name in the table above. Click on the "Index" box at the top of the page for the full list.
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about what is going on, if you are interested.
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