27th July 2014
It has been an unusual week. Through the winter I buzz around getting on with things but there comes a point in summer when I have to slow down,
take things gently and drink plenty of fluids. Some of that I have managed but the head is still convinced it can do more than the weather will allow.
It results in a certain hot-headedness that has nothing to do with temperature and isn't eased by wearing a hat. It coincides with the start of the hardcore
holiday season which adds substantially to the traffic. One might have thought that sitting idly in a comfortable seat on a sunny day would be a lovely
relaxing thing to do. Sadly when it is a comfortable driving seat that isn't the case.
I have never seen the garden this dry. Large Hydrangea have started to wilt and there is nothing that can be done about it except hope for rain.
Forunately I have reckless moments when I plant things that are entirely unsuited to this garden. Acanthus spinosus was one of them. It grows in southern
Europe from Italy to western Turkey and does best in the sun in the UK. I planted it in the herbaceous border three or four years ago and it has grown large
and leafy, but this is the first time it has flowered, encouraged by the flagging and wilting going on around it.
27th July 2014
The Disa have also been appreciating the warm weather. They stand with their feet in water so there is no chance of them wilting. I seem to spend
most of my evenings making sure they stand with their feet in water but sitting at the end of a hose is more relaxing than sitting in traffic and I haven't yet
felt homicidal amongst the Disa.
A few years ago I made the hybrid D. Trata (D.tripetaloides x D.aurata). I sowed a tray of seed, gave away a fair bit and was still left with
a good pinch in the bottom of the envelope which is a lot of orchid seed (the equivalent of three lorryloads of conkers). I didn't like to waste it, so I
scattered it on the top of the Sarracenia pots where a few germinated and from time to time I get a flower spike like this.
The pleasure is heightened by their random appearance and the fact that I have done next to nothing to encourage it. I have dozens of trays of seedlings
from last year to keep me busy so this is not going to be a Disa hybridising year but I might produce some seed of D. uniflora to scatter
among the Sarracenia for the entertainement value.
27th July 2014
Hedychium densiflorum EN 562
The Hedychium are having a complex year. They love the heat but hate the drought. As a result they have good strong canes growing very slowly.
The first of them have started to flower and are barely two feet tall. If they could be kept to that size reliably they would be a lot more useful in gardens.
In the greenhouse, within reach of the hose, they are already twice that size with no sign of buds forming yet.
This is a form from Nepal, selected by Edward Needham. He found it growing among plants of (what would later be named) 'Sorung'. It may be the same
clone as 'Embossed Leaf' which was later distributed from his garden. I can't tell them apart but I haven't had a close look recently, without my glasses I
could be overlooking something obvious.
27th July 2014
There are a number of Hemerocallis in the garden that have escaped from the clutches of their labels and flower in enthusiastic anonymity. From time to time
I remember to check the old pictures while they are in flower but I don't make much progress. It is a source of mild irritation but it is not the absence
of a name that bothers me, it is the fact that I have lost it.
The absence of a name is an exciting thing. This came to me as a small seedling marked "Neomarica sp. Parana, Brazil". Although I am very fond of
Neomarica I was fairly sure the name was wrong. This plant had pleated leaves while Neomarica has sturdy flat arching leaves. I hoped it might
be a Tigridia of some sort (in which case it would die under my care while being 'interesting'). The first flower opened blue and closed again within an hour
so this morning I got out of bed early to get a picture. The process was fraught with difficulty, but I think it is the photograph that is blurred, not the photographer.
It should continue to produce short lived flowers for a week or so, I will probably get another chance later. Although there are some lilac and purple Tigridia,
this was enough to identify it as Cypella coelestis which grew here for a few years on a sunny bank before a hard winter killed it (so long ago that the sunny bank
is now a shaded slope). This time it will stay in the greenhouse and I will hope that a sheet of plastic is sufficient to convince it that it is still in Brazil.