Surprises and Expectations

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What a surprise! 5th December and the first snowdrop is flowering in my garden.  Even more surprising is that it isn’t Galanthus Ding Dong which I know I have and thought was my earliest snowdrop.  I can’t find a label with it and I have been very careful in labelling snowdrops with substantial black labels which will stand out but there is nothing here at all.  I am completely mystified as to what it is.  I will have to wait until the flower opens properly and then maybe someone can id it for me.  I will also do some rummaging through my label box to see if there are any clues there.

Primula palinuri
Primula palinuri

I am not completely inept when it comes to labels and plant names.  I know that this is Primula palinuri grown from AGS seed probably 3 years ago.  It flowered for the first time last year in time for the Boxing Day Flower Count but then it was living in the greenhouse cosseted and pampered.  It has spent the summer out on the patio amongst the various pots and for some reason was overlooked when I moved all the tenders back under cover but it seems to be doing very well despite the buffeting it has received in recent days.

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This out of focus photo represents expectations.  It shows one of three emerging flower heads on my Edgeworthia.  I am very hopeful that this year, year 2, there will be good flowers.  It is planted within sight of my living room window so hopefully it will be something to cheer me through the winter.

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And adding to my expectations of a floriferous spring is this unknown Camellia.  It is positively groaning with flower buds given its size and I have noticed that the rhododendrons and, very exciting, the witch hazel are full of flower buds which I think is as a result of the mild and damp summer we have had.

Whatever the reason it gives you something to look forward to in the New Year, which is always good.

Potted Delights

Tulipa Turkestanica
Tulipa Turkestanica

Any one who reads this blog regularly will know that I have a new interest in alpines which really means I have lots of small pots with dinky plants all over the place.  I do intend to plant some out in the garden in the future but am bulking them up first.  The trouble with alpines is that they only cost a couple of pounds to buy so are really quite irresistible and to make matters worse ast the Alpine Garden Society group I go to there are at least three nurserymen/women selling these delights – it really is hopeless.

This month’s purchase is the  tulip above.  I love all tulips but increasingly I find myself drawn to the species varieties – they are so just so beautiful.  I couldn’t resist the pot above and it is now gracing my patio table, opening its flowers when the sun shines.

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Above is my absolute favourite plant at the moment.  It is an auricula which I grew from seed in 2011.  I was given the seeds by my son’s work colleague and all I knew were that they were some form of auricula seeds.  I have probably eight dotted around in the greenhouse and cold frames.  This is the first one to flower and the first time I can see what the flower is like.  I am presuming the rest will be the same but who knows.  I find the petals quite fascinating, they remind me of a fine crepe.

Primula 'Aire Mist'
Primula ‘Aire Mist’

This is another one of my new acquisition and is another obvious sign of my Primula obsession.  One of the primula gurus on the Scottish Rock Garden Forum has told me that this is a cross made by breeder Peter Lister between a white form of Primula allionii and Primula auricula ‘Blairside Yellow’.  This plant encapsulates everything I love about horticulture at the moment – discovering new plants, encountering new people who are very generous with their knowledge and dreaming of being able to breed primulas like this in the future.