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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


16th September 2018

Nerine 'Catherine' .
The week started with the first buds opening on Nerine 'Catherine'. The weather has been overcast but surprisingly dry, the ground is still dry if I dig below the surface and I keep checking the level in the water tanks. One of them hasn't refilled properly yet and I can't tell if there is a problem with a connection somewhere or perhaps we just haven't had enough rain yet.
I abandoned gardening on Tuesday morning. A light drizzle was making it pointless and unpleasant. Everything sticks together when it is slightly moist, I had fragments of prunings stuck all over me and my shirt was slowly turning into a wet sponge. I don't have much fortitude in the garden, battling on despite the climate. It isn't a place of suffering and I'm not going to hang around if it tries to be.
The Nerine house would have been a very pleasant refuge but I went to buy groceries instead. There is plenty of weeding to do - it has been at least a month since I last did it - but the pots are full of sinuous snaking stems. If I weeded carelessly (I get bored) I would have a handful of broken buds and the feeling of failure. Instead I bought custard tarts which is one of the essential companion tasks to horticulture.


16th September 2018

Hedychium 'Devon Cream'.
The Hedychium garden has ground to a halt again. I think that this time it is a sign of the shortening days. I have been saving an hour in the evening for planting out but it is being squeezed by the approaching darkness. It doesn't really matter, the entire space is well illuminated by the street lights but somehow the feeling is not the same.
'Devon Cream' went out last year and has done very well. Students of the genus might be interested to know that this is the clone from Mulu (long gone). In the greenhouse it was taller than the other clones, now that it is outside I think the difference will be slight bordering on undetectable. There are a few obsessive ginger cultivators who will want to know for eveyone else, it's a yellow one.
I wasn't expecting flowers from any of them this year, they were planted out in December and frozen solid in March. I had assumed that the thick new stems had been frosted and I would have to hope for some scrappy regrowth. They are tougher than I had expeced, thankfully. They stood the winted outside better than they did in the greenhouse and I need to get motivated and get them planted. It takes about 20 mins for each one so it's only about 40 hours work to go. I could have a week off and do it except I wouldn't, I would sleep in the sun somewhere. If I put one out tonight it gets the ball rolling again.


16th September 2018

Eucryphia moorei .
The garden is full of wonderful things being ordinary and ordinary things being wonderful. Amaryllis belladonna for example is a wonderful thing and that is what I would expect. It has done it again. The counterpoint is the Red Campion which is very ordinary, weedy, invasive and currently dying (I sprayed in the week). A seedling in the greenhouse was glowing with magical colour, quite the most wonderful thing I have seen since ... well, since I walked down from the top of the garden. The trees that over-arch the path were glittering in the sunshine, the mossy path was glowing gamma-radiant green, it was lovely. Nothing unusual, just some extra "lovely" on the day.
Eucryphia moorei hides its light up a tree. This picture is as close as I can get to showing the flowers using a long lense. In previous years I have climbed a ladder to get closer but the ladder is at the other end of the garden and it feels like hard work to fetch it. By the time I get back the blossom will have lost some of the froth of delight.
There will be a closer view. Autumn winds will scatter the petals onto the path which has a poignant charm. It marks the end of something-or-other, the last Eucryphia blossom. Something that I had barely noticed has ended in a shower of petals.


16th September 2018

Colchicum 'Waterlily'.
Because I am too lazy to plant out the Hedychium I have time to worry. I look at the ground under the trees and I want it to be speckled with the pink flowers of the Colchicum. I found C. autumnale 'Album Plenum' flowering under a maple as I walked up through the garden, the buds had been truncated by a slug. The shortened petals spread out like a heavy duty lavatory brush. It wasn't really a thing of beauty but I couldn't do without it. I buy a TV listing paper very week. I don't want it, I don't watch anything but somehow I like to know that there is nothing I am missing. I would be uncomfortable without the ugliness of the Colchicum, the same uncertainty about what I might be missing.
It warned me that there might be some 'Waterlily' at the top of the garden. The last few yards were an agony of anticipation. What if there is nothing, are they all dead. I don't mind about the cost or the time I spend planting them - water under the bridge - but like a kitsch cottage I had invested all my hope in a pink carpet. The relief was enormous.
They have a long way to go, I am expecting weeks of flower from them but on Tuesday I had strange angular white shapes pushing through the leaf litter. Today I have a few pink flowers. If it is astonishing display I will show it again later, if not I will cherish the feeling of relief as my eye glanced on the first white outline and then skipped around looking for more. Relief on relief as I spotted the fragile forms. Gardens can be chastening places at times and this week has been ordinary, which is wonderful.
It has also been wonderful.