Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
7th August 2011
Hemerocallis 'Pink Damask'
I have reached that stage of maturity when I am old enough to remember with nostalgia the giddy summers of youth but young enough to still
remember the giddy summers of youth. Somehow the real summer all around me is neither as sweet, nor as bitter as memory. The garden has
been like that all week. Somehow it just hasn't been summery enough to keep up with expectation. The good side to all this is that I have
planted a lot of things out (not really a job for summer, but needs must) and the rain has tipped down. Summer storms are a seasonal blessing,
people are more likely to blame the distant crash of thunder than me farting in the other room. I have reached an age where the latter
is much more likely.
Hemerocallis 'Pink Damask' has followed my horticultural footsteps since 1982. It is difficult not to be fond of it. I got it from
Piers Trehane who said he thought it was probably the best of the group. Raised by Stevens in 1951 there are a lot of very similar plants.
None of them are truly pink, they all have very moderate, twisty flowers. 'Pink Charm', 'Pink Lady', Pink Prelude', 'Pink Reflection' ...
the list goes on. It isn't a very impressive group but I have come to agree with Piers, this is probably the best of them.
There are better pinks out there, but they all get the colour from Hemerocallis fulva var rosea, the only wild species that
carries the pink gene. I have been searching for the original for some time (on and off) and finally bought a fan this spring. There will
be a certain twisted glee next year when it flowers and is actually 'Pink Damask'. I am cynical enough to have faced that probability in advance.
The label will read Hemerocallis fulva var rosea and following my usual habit, I will write on the back
"No it ****ing isn't".
7th August 2011
Crocosmia masoniorum 'Amber'
Crocosmia masoniorum is a common enough plant in gardens. It tends to be overlooked, though the upward facing flowers
make it a great parent plant and the pleated leaves are large enough to make a strong statement even when not in bloom. In the wild it is restricted
to a few small locations in the Transkei (South Africa). A number of very similar clones are grown, mostly in the mid-orange range, though there are
some darker ones that approach red. In recent years some additional variety has been introduced in the form of new collections from the wild
and old collections rediscovered in gardens.
This one was introduced by Gary Dunlop in 1998 and is paler and shorter of stature than any of the others I grow. It has also been slower to bulk up
and has larger flowers than I would have expected, so there is always the possibility of hybridity but it is a good plant. It doesn't seem to have
been badly damaged by a series of cold winters that have finished off a number of varieties.
7th August 2011
If gardening is seen as the triumph of optimism over experience, then growing gingers is the pinnacle of gardening achievement. Indeed, any grower of Hedychium
will repeatedly see their experience trounced by optimism. I have even gone so far as to retain the name H.nepalense for this plant,
despite knowing that it is just a local synonym for H.spicatum and ignoring the evidence of my own eyes. This is clearly H.spicatum
but there is always room for as little more self-delusion. In my experience, the more self-delusion I have, the more capacity seems to remain.
I'm sure that if I could harness that, I could create a perpetual motion machine.
Back to earth for a moment. I first saw it growing at Kew a few years ago. I doubted the name and did the research to confirm that it was just a synonym
for H.spicatum and that should have been enough for me, but a couple of years later I was offered a division by another grower and jumped at the chance.
Yes , I know, just another form of a species I already grow too many of, but it might be different. After all, Kew maintain the name.
As you can see, it isn't.
7th August 2011
Like an over-enthusiastic ceramicist I am constantly surrounded by little pots. In my defense, they all contain the promise of wonderful things,
and from time to time the promise is fulfilled. I have long moaned about the confusion in the genus Zephyranthes and if I am going to be
brutally honest, the genus is reasonably well organised, the confusion is in my head. They all grow easily from seed, and they are none to choosy
about who they have sex with, so seed from horticultural sources may not grow up as expected. From time to time I have felt swamped with big pink flowers
that defy identification.
None of which has deterred me from growing new things from seed whenever they appear. This has flowered for the first time and I was
overjoyed to see the pale primrose flowers (it may not show in the picture, but that is what they are). I have danced around cheerfully all afternoon
with the thought that seed of a Zephyranthes has finally matured as expected, and I have a new species that I have never seen in flower before.
Joy unbounded. Show it for all the world to see!
In doing the research for this piece (it sounds unlikely, but I do actually research this drivel) I found a picture of the species glowing in the purity
of its chrome yellow flowers like one of the more inflammable Crocus. I guess I have to accept that this was seed collected in cultivation
from Z.reginae. It came from a (quite genuinely) wonderful resource, the Alpine Garden Society's seed list, which I cannot commend highly enough.
My reverence for that society is only enhanced by occasional evidence of illicit sex.
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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