Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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7th October 2012
Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis'
I am writing this with cold hands, so there can be little doubt that autumn has arrived. We have had a couple of waves of heavy rain in the last two days. The weather man warned us to expect up to 2 inches, but it nearly filled a bucket I had left outside. It brought down a large branch from a Liquidambar but it was already damaged at the base and could have come down at any moment, the rain just gave it a little nudge. I planted some daffodil bulbs, meaning to water them in later. It wasn't required.
Warning signs pop up like mushrooms in the wake of worried people. Sometimes they are useful, sometimes they dare you to ignore them. I was driven around Longleat Safari Park when I was a child, and a useful sign read "Beware of the Lions". If you are going to keep lions, then from time to time somebody will be eaten and it must be comforting to say I told you so. Chill winds in the garden mean that before long I will have to worry about winter, and the first cherry blossom is the warning. It promises that spring is on its way and the subtext says 'once you have got through winter'.
Putting aside its role as a prophet of doom, I would hate to have a garden without it. It will produce its fragile flowers on every moderate day from now until the end of march. Those in the darkest days of january will be a little smaller but by then the message will be entirely about the spring to come and the whispered subtext will be forgotten.
There is an 'Autumnalis' and an 'Autumnalis Rosea'. As a younger man I grew them both and fretted about the differences. I am older and either wiser or lazier. The distinction is slight.
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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