Wednesday 29 April 2015

Some spring flowers

Cypripedium formosanum, fortunately brought in before the sharp frosts this week.

Pleione speciosa, the original cultivated clone  - always a reliable performer.

A kind friend sent me bulbs of Narcissus 'Unknown Poet' last year. It has  neat round flowers and a very flat corona.

Narcissus 'Thalia' at the Yorkshire Arboretum.

Prunus yedoense in Ray Wood

Rhododendron parmulatum, in Ray Wood last week - sadly frosted this.

Lewisia tweedyi at RHS Garden Harlow Carr - where I am now a Garden Advisor.

A shimmer of Erythronium 'Pagoda' under Cornus at Harlow Carr.

Tulipa 'Exotic Emperor' frothing in a big pot at Harlow Carr.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Narcissus 'Beersheba'

'Beersheba' on Thursday - just a hint of creaminess remains in the trumpet.
One of my annual pleasures is to have a vase of Narcissus 'Beersheba' on my desk for a few days each spring, enabling me to be distracted easily by its beauty. It was introduced by the Rev George H Engleheart in 1923 and very quickly became popular, as the first all-white trumpet daffodil of its size. Although an 'old' daffodil it is not small, reaching 12 cm across these flowers, and with the potential to be bigger if they were grown in rich conditions - but this is plenty big enough for me. Despite its size it remains elegant, with enough 'movement' in the corolla to avoid stiffness, and the narrow trumpet expands into a nice flange at its mouth. Bowles described this as having the outline of a Convolvulus flower, though I don't see it, but his observation that the corolla lobes form two perfect triangles is perfectly true.

It is a great shame that this beauty is not easy to obtain, with the crass 'Ice Follies' or lumpish 'Mount Hood' being the standard white daffodils of commerce. No source is listed for 'Beersheba' in The RHS Plant Finder 2014, but it's offered by Croft 16  Daffodils in the UK, and by Old House Gardens in the United States, so it can be acquired - and I very much recommend its acquisition.

The play of light within the flowers is wonderful: pure white by today.

Early morning in the garden, 6/4/15. The flowers open with a pale lemon trumpet, but it quickly fades to ivory then pure white.

Monday 6 April 2015

Rhododendron species portraits from Ray Wood, 6 April

Rhododendron calophytum

R. mucronulatum

R. fulvum 'Windlesham White'

R. piercei

R. pocophorum var. hemidartum Rock 11179

R. temenium var. gilvum 'Cruachan'

R. lanatoides KW 5971

R. diphrocalyx

R. barbatum: the Blue Tits have discovered that this species (and R. mallotum, also with red flowers) contains nectar , which they drink from the flowers. In perching on the truss, however, they damage the flowers, and sometimes rip them apart.

R. meddianum Forrest 24104

Wednesday 1 April 2015

A wet day in Maidenhead

Magnolia 'Star Wars' at its best - the buds burst but not blowsy.
I was at my parents' in Maidenhead on Sunday, and although it was an unpleasant wet day their garden was looking nice, with lots of interesting and attractive plants in flower. Here are a few pics.

Self-sown primroses of the sibthorpii persuasion in the front garden.

Recycled hyacinths by the pond

Asarum maximum in the cold greenhouse where it gets very little attention, but obviously thrives on it. 

A fine pot of jonquils, but the label is missing: Narcissus henriquesii, or N. cordubensis, I think.

A melange of plants on the conservatory bench: Impatiens sodenii in the centre.