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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


8th July 2018

Bomarea edulis .
Another hot week. Some puffs of cloud promised cooler weather for a moment and there was the suggestion of rain but in the end it passed over without offering any relief.
Time evaporates. The Agave house needs weeding and I can't see it happening. The delightful Cymbalaria muralis enjoys the conditions up there, spreading its spidery arms and legs around the place. If it was left to its own devices it would slowly build into thick mats, each stem as fine as gossamer but all threaded together into a mad fabric. Nothing penetrates it except the spines of the Agave. It makes weeding a slow and painful task and it won't happen in this heat. I was mowing on Friday and I kept running into trees. Not head-on like a learner driver at a traffic cone, just clipping them as I passed. I was away with the fairies, it took a while to appreciate that the heat was affecting my judgement. I stopped and came back to it when the sun had gone down. For that reason I won't be weeding the Agave house until the autumn. If you just clip an Agave, it just clips you back.
Bomarea edulis thrives among them despite a shortage of water. It must have rooted well down into the sub-soil by now or it would have wilted. I try to encourage it up a post but it isn't really willing, preferring to flop about, taking a cue from the Cymbalaria perhaps.


8th July 2018

Fuchsia procumbens 'Wirral'.
I'm not sure why people hate fuchsias so much, perhaps it is the strange spelling, sprawling consonants ready to trip the unwary. Whatever the reason, people hate them. It doesn't stop them growing one or two but they despise them. It's a pity because they are all lovely. Even the ugly ones. They have the innocent charm of a toddler with an ice cream cone, an accidental rearrangent of taste.
I am lucky, good taste passed me by and I take full advantage of that.
'Wirral' has the additional disadvantage of variegation. People hate that even more. So a variegated Fuchsia has a hill to climb if it's going to be popular. It is a tiny little thing. In the garden it makes no impact at all slipping away invisibly into the undergrowth. If it is weeded and forced into the open it will make a low artificial mat, like a weeding cushion or the dent in a border where a cat was sleeping. 'Wirral' is all about the detail, and for that it needs to be in a pot. The individual flowers defy its double pink congeners, the yellow tube has been a goal for fuchsia breeders for decades and here it is, ready made. The first tentative steps have been made to transfer the colour to more conventional hybrids and progress seems inevitable. Its popularity remains to be seen. People hate yellow as well.


8th July 2018

Hemerocallis 'Pink Lady'.
I have been weeding in the herbaceous border. It is far too hot to consider doing it during the day so I have been going out in the evening. Last night I didn't start until 9pm so I only got an hours work done before it was too dark to see. Even so, it was too hot and I was happy to stop. Surprisingly, I am getting a lot done. The dry weather means that the ground is easy to clear and I am determined to be ruthless. Anything that hasn't worked is being thrown out at the same time. The clear ground is very satisfying though it looks best from a distance.
Hemerocallis have done well. I should think so too, the border was really intended as a home for the collection with enough other things scattered through it to leaven the tedium of daylily foliage. I am being quite ruthless with the daylilies as well. I found one last night with two fans of leaves. It probably had two fans of leaves when I planted it a decade ago. Out it went, vigour is a prerequisite when time is short.
Vigour isn't a problem for 'Pink Lady'. It has filled a tub and should really go out into the border but I am uncertain. I don't really like it. One of the very early hybrids to make use of H. fulva var. rosea to produce pink ("pink") flowers (Perry, 1945), it couldn't be called pretty. I keep it because it is old, though I'm not entirely convinced that is enough.


8th July 2018

Rosa 'Toby Tristram'.
Vigour is the only reason I still have 'Toby Tristram', it persists despite my mistreatment. People who obsess about rose pruning should try one of the R. filipes hybrids. I planted this one twenty or more years ago and I have pruned it twice, the first time so that I could repair the shed roof and the second time in an attempt to find the shed (if it is still in there, I should probably demolish it). Both times involved cutting the rose off at ground level in mid-summer.
I have considered the option of setting light to the whole thing and hoping that it all burnt to the ground in the process but unfortunately the shed has a corrugated metal roof and I think there is some metal shelving and an old refrigerator still in there. Eventually it will be cleared by hand.
The rose won't make things easy, but why should it.
The large flower heads only last for a couple of weeks and this year they were struggling almost as soon as they opened. Roses enjoy the heat but this year there has been no moisture at all and the petals are wilting almost as soon as the sun comes up.
I know the feeling.