Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rhapsody In Blue

Meet Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue', it is not really a blue rose but a lovely purple nonetheless. The picture does not truly do justice to the colour of this flower which contrasts especially well with dark glossy green leaves. It also has a really really nice perfume more woodsy than other roses.  It is a modern floribunda so pruning won't be much of a problem, in late winter or early spring (just before growth commences) you cut the stems back. The most vigorous ones you can leave some 30 centimeters, the weaker canes closer to the ground. It flowers on new wood. I bought this in flower last year but it does not seem to have suffered from the move at all it is in full bud and should flower into September.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Japanese Painted Fern

I finally got my hands on a Japanese Painted fern AKA Athyrium niponicum var. pictum. The label says 'Metallic' so that may be this variety but can also be a synonym of pictum. It should look very good on the fern stand with the other ferns. I hope it will do okay in the container.

The stem is a nice purple and the leaf themselves both green and a shiny white/grey. I am curious to see whether the colour will change with more or less sun. Where it is now it does get a couple hours of late evening sun even though it is shaded slightly by the tree ferns.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Primula Capitata

Primula capitata was initially a bit of an afterthought on my Kevock order this year has turned in to a really nifty looking flower. It seems happy enough in the terracotta pot but I am keeping it on the moist side. The blue is a really nice dark inky colour that contrasts nicely with the frosted stem and buds. The farina on this one is not very prone to washing away in the rain (in contrast to auriculas). I hope I get some seed from this one as I wouldn't mind trying to raise some more of these.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Peas and Beans

Harvesting time is upon us. First of all the broad beans which look nice and fat. I will plant many more of these next year because they are completely carefree and delicious. In the picture is about half (maybe a bit less) of pods on the plants so to get enough broad beans for several meals I will have to plant about three times more beans next year.

I also decided to harvest the garlic. The foliage was beginning to suffer from the extremely wet weather so  instead of letting them slowly rot I am getting them out of the ground now.

The heads are not exactly giant but I did not expect that anyway with spring sown garlic. Come September I will order ginormous amounts of different kinds of garlic and but them in the ground. There is nothing quite as mouth watering as the smell of fresh garlic.

The drying rack which should serve as a support for the french beans are doubling duty as a garlic drying.

After a week or so of moping the pumpkins and courgettes on the manure heap are taking off so fast it is like they are growing before my eyes.

The pumpkin on the left side is the champion for now growing at an almost alarming rate. I have not labelled the pumpkin seedlings but I am hoping this is Atlantic Giant because I really want to grow a big fat Halloween style pumpkin.

This is where the peas and beans ended up, in a delicious simple risotto with some homegrown saffron.

As a little bonus a swan family decided to stay right next to the allotment. Here is a little vid of daddy swan having a spot of lunch.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Quick Repot For Agave D Hidalgensis

This Agave has done some admirable growing since this post. I was quite surprised to see the roots growing out of the pot already. I am not sure whether this plant likes being rootbound or not but I thought it is still early enough in the growing season to put it in a slightly larger pot to accommodate growth.

You can see that it was not very potbound yet but it did grow a good amount of fat fresh roots that might enjoy a bit more roaming space. I just put it in a slightly larger pot in a mix of normal potting soil and gravel (about 50/50).

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Iris Ensata

The small swamp Iris and the bearded Iris have finished flowering but now is the turn for the big Iris Ensata. The flowers are BIG and have a nice purple colour with darker veins .

It is by far the most vigorous Iris in the swamp Iris container  but the foliage is a bit on the yellow side.

I also have an ensata in the border which is also a bit on the yellow side so I doubt it is a fertiliser issue. If memory serves me this one is a light blue with white markings. I will update this post with a picture when it opens up.


Here is a picture of the one in the border in flower.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pachypodium Rosulatum Update

The Pachypodium rosulatum have done some good growing since this post. The big one has been growing outside and has been repotted in a bigger sized pot. As you can see this has significantly affected its growth.  I think I might let the small one outside as well to get some extra sunshine and a slightly more reliable watering schedule. Unfortunately no signs yet of either branching or flowering. These should get even fatter this year.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Tylecodon Cacalioides Leaf Propagation

When I got this little plant in the mail (form succulent tissue  culture) a couple of leaves had broken off during transport. On a hunch I stuck one of the leaves in the grit layer of a nearby pot. I didn't think about it for a while and when I checked whether something was happening I was rather pleased to see it had taken root.

The Drimia it with it in the pot seemed to died unfortunately.

Here you can see the new roots. It should not come as much of a surprise I guess seeing as Tylecodon cacalioides is from the Crassulaceae family. It will be fun to see how long it takes to form an actual little plant. Does make you wonder why they tissue culture this particular plant if it is so easily cloned this way. Lets hope the 'mother' plant grows up quickly (I know it won't) so I can finally see whether it is Tylecodon cacalioides or Tylecodon walichii.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

♫ Edelweiss, Edelweiss ♫

The Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) I bought last year for a single euro has grown really well and is now very much in flower. I had not really appreciated just how delightfully strange the the flowers are. Completely covered with white woolly hairs they really do stand out. Looks wise it would look awesome next to the equally hairy Salvia argentea. It is a bit taller than I would like, but I guess part of that is that it is grown at sea level instead of in the mountains. It is a bit big for my alpine container so I may move it eventually but for now it looks really good and it is not yet crowding anything else out.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Longevity Of Cypripedium Flowers

Here I will keep track of how long different Cypripedium are in flower and under which conditions.

Cypripedium Pueblo bloomed from the 4th of May till the 25th so a good three weeks of flowers. It has been a strange combination of some very dry quite hot periods but it has been overwhelmingly cool and wet.

Cypripedium Kentucky bloomed from 25th of May till the 12 of June, slightly less than the Pueblo.

I will update this with any other Cypripedium I grow. This year I won't have any info on the Cypripedium Henryi because I bought it in flower.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Flight Of The Bumblebees (and Veg)

The allotment is literally buzzing with excitement. The bumblebees seem particularly fond of the fruit blossom that is now abundant. Though the last couple weeks were perhaps a bit on the cold and damp side, the vegetables are growing rather fast. 

It seems like last week that the 'Monster Radish' was just regular radish size. I picked one of them as a taster. Next week they will probably their ideal size (softball size).

Talking about large, the Chenopodium is having a bit of a growth spurt. Can you believe how pretty those purple new leaves are, they are almost iridescent.

The sweetpeas are finally in flower (even though they are still crawling along the ground, ignoring their support). They smell lovely and I look forward to picking them on a regular basis.

The cauliflowers I bought as plugs very early in March are now ginormous. I did not know they grew this large.

This fennel is almost ready to be harvested.

A shout out to these oriental mustard green. I just plunked the seedlings into the ground and they have taken so well. Amazing growth rate on these ones.

It took a while for the pumpkins to get used to their new home on top of the manure but now they are very happy. It is a shame I did not label them but once the fruit form I should have an idea of what is what.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

New Flush Of Leaves For Euphorbia Bupleurifolia

I was starting to get a bit worried about Euphorbia bupleurifolia. The leaves were hanging down but not from lack of watering. Did it fall victim to rot since they are so sensitive to over watering? Thankfully this does not seem to be the case. Only a couple of days later it became clear that instead of struggling it is indeed starting to push out a second flush of leaves. I'm quite curious how many leaves it will grow this season. The first flush counted nine new leaves. At the moment I can count three new ones in the middle though that may just be the beginning. Also interesting is whether these new leaves will look different under influence of the more sunlight that is available to them.

Update: Euphorbia Bupleurifolia now full of flower buds

Friday, 8 June 2012

Could Not Resist...Aloe Plicatilis Edition

 I told myself I was going to wait potting up the Aloe plicatilis seedling until they were at least growing their third leaf. However I could not wait that long. This has a lot to do with general impatience and the fact that I found some nice new terracotta pots. But I was also starting to worry about the conditions in their little see through container. A steady layer of algae was starting to cover the surface (not necessarily bad) but most importantly the soil was breaking, deep cracks that could stunt root growth.

 As you can see the roots have very much reached the bottom and looked eager to go a bit deeper. At this stage they may also appreciate a still moist but also slightly more loose aerated soil.

The compact nature of the seedling soil meant it was easy to repot the seedlings without having to touch the leaves or stress the roots. I could simply break of the block of soil where the seedling grew in and transfer it into a the new pot.

I used a mix of one part potting soil and one part gravel, adding a small scoop of sand for extra drainage. The peat in the potting soil combined with only watering with rainwater should help create the slightly acidic environment these plants are supposed to like. I am not worried about the peat breaking down because with the rate they are growing they might be ready for a bigger pot come next spring.

I gave them a good watering and will keep them at least moist for the next couple of weeks. Once they get a bit bigger I might let them dry out a tiny bit more.

Update June 14th

Alas the seedling with only one leaf did not make it. This should teach me to be patient and wait for that extra leaf. I did not get the feeling I kept it too dry, the medium was still a bit moist.

So another one down and only two left. However both of these are doing quite well. One is outside with my other aloes and the other on the orchid table. And would you look at that, the outside seedling is showing the beginnings of a third leaf.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Primula Melanantha Doing...OK?

I tried growing Primula Melanantha (or Primula Euprepes as it was called then) last year. And by this time last year it had very much died. This time around it is still very much alive. Last year I thought I could grow it like your regular candelabra Primula so I kept it in a very moist peaty compost in a shady position. It did not like this and rotted away after not thriving for a couple of months.
This year I changed it up a little bit, treating it much more like the Primula Auricula. It is in a very gritty compost and I keep  it pretty much out of the rain only watering when I think it is running dry. I do however keep it in a more shady position compared to the Auriculas. I did fear for it for a long time, it lost almost all the original leaves (you can see one of them on the photo, all brown and yellow). However it is steadily growing a new flush of leaves.

One thing that bothers me a bit is that the leaves seem to be smaller and less elongated than the original leaves. has some good photo's of Primula Melanantha in situ and you can see the leaves are supposed to be much bigger and much longer. Going strictly on colour I think my Primula could probably do with a little bit more sunlight and I might even give it a very light feed. Lets see if I can get it to survive for a little bit longer.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Summer Bulbs Surface

I planted the Gloriosa bulb in the middle of the pot but all the shoots are coming up at the edge. Unfortunately only one of the Gloriosa filled pots show life. I kept one pot an extra couple of weeks inside and it is this one that has started growing (heat?). The other one was kept outside and is not showing any life. Maybe it is behind or maybe the tuber has rotted.

I should probably start thinking about where I want this one to climb.

The Commelina is a bit further along. There is some slug damage but I still expect this to flower within a couple of weeks.

The pot where I put the NOID bulbs is also bursting into live. With a bit of luck I can identify what it actually is.

Update on the Gloriosa

Thankfully the second container of Gloriosa is also showing growth. I had pretty much given up on it but it did in fact sprout. So they can actually handle some less than splendid temperatures but they will just sprout a bit later.