Galanthus 'Selborne Greentips'
Galanthus ‘Selborne Greentips’

This weekend has been excellent from a horticultural perspective.  Saturday was spent at the AGS Snowdrop Conference in Stratford which I shall probably bore you about later in

Galanthus 'Ding Dong'
Galanthus ‘Ding Dong’

the week.  Needless to say I came away with some new purchases: Galanthus ‘Selborne Greentips’, Galanthus ‘Ding Dong’, Eranthis grunling and Eranthis schwefelglanz.  I am a novice when it comes to snowdrops and claim no level of understanding let alone expertise so I followed the advice of a couple of better informed attendees and bought some of the cheaper offerings and ones that looked clearly different to each other to me.

Having been enthused at the conference it was great to wake on Sunday to a blue sky and sun shining; finally an opportunity to get out in the garden.  However, as the ground is so sodden what could be done was quite limited.  I cut back the leaves on the evergreen epimediums so that the flowers which should be emerging in the next few weeks can be seen.  I have been caught out before now by leaving this too late and then trying to cut the leaves back without destroying the flowers.  I knew I had acquired quite a few epimediums over the last year or so but a count up totalled 7 different varieties.  I now need to do some research through my records to work out which one is which and sort out some labels. I also took the opportunity to cut down the various grasses which really have seen better days.

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It was cheering to see that all the borders had bulbs pushing through the ground and in the Spring Border adjacent to the Patio the first snowdrops were flowering.  These are everyday snowdops, Galanthus nivalis.  The original bulbs came from the bank opposite my parents’ old house and have been slowly increasing over the last few years.  I have been dividing the clumps and spreading them around the garden; hopefully in a few years they will start looking quite impressive.

Iris histrioides 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'
Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

Interestingly, some of the bulbs on the outside staging aren’t that far behind the frost-free greenhouse.  Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ will probably have unfurled its vivid blue petals by the end of this week if the sun shines, only one week behind the pot in the greenhouse.

Talking of the greenhouse, which some of you thought was very tidy in my last post,  it has been tidied further.  I have been planning to take out  the potting bench for some time especially since I have a potting area in the garage which is the right height and gives me easy access to the compost etc which I can now keep in the dry.  I am planning to replace the bench with some more staging but having dragged the bench out and relocated it in the garage I found the extra floor  space in the greenhouse quite wonderful.  The tiny greenhouse feels so much bigger and I can now access the plants on the staging in the far corners which were previously hard to get to.  Plus I do believe  that they are now getting better light. So the jury is out on the extra staging.  I need to make a decision soon as it was one of the things I had asked for my birthday which is a month today.

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Finally, I have been fascinated by the Christmas Rose that is growing in the garden.  It was planted probably four or five years ago and has slowly established and has flowered for the last three years. This year the plant has been in flower for several weeks but the flowers have been face down flat on the ground and I have been able to lift them; it was as if they had clamped themselves to the soil.  Today, I noticed that they were starting to lift themselves up and you can now just about see the flower properly.  I haven’t seen them behave like this before even when covered in snow so it will be interesting to see what the plant does next year.

According to Bob Brown, of Cotswold Garden Flowers, being able to grow Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) makes me a witch as in his view they are impossible to establish or even grow successfully in pots – a debate at last week’s HPS group meeting – and you have to be a witch or a warlock to succeed.  I always knew I had something special!!

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