Friday, 24 September 2010

From basket case to off my trolley

So, I hobbled off to a garden centre in Camden Town yesterday, ostensibly to by some more seed trays and pots, but was soon seduced by a fine range of plants and had to abandon my little basket for a trolley. Into it went a Cyclamen hederifolium, not the nicest looking specimen but the one with the most action still to come, plenty of buds and leaf shoots trying to burst the pot open.

Next came one of my all-time faves, Gentiana sino-ornata, again one with a ton of flower buds and really healthy growth. My eye was also drawn to a yellow single Dahlia with deep, deep purple foliage called "Clarion".
My photo doesn't do the yellow justice, it's much more vivid but I've wiped Photoshop from my computer for reasons to dull and technical to go into

Gentiana sino-ornata (or litlerally, "Chinese ornamental". Again I've chosen a specimen packed with flower buds (that's what all the stripey thing sticking up © Chris Mackay

I also needed a short window box to plant up the Lathyrus chloranthus as part of my plan to screen the crappy greenhouse and picked up a rickety expandable trellis to screw to it, job done. Then inside for propagation trays, pots (biodegradable plastic!) and clay for the many bulbs calling to me from the next room.

Ended up with the stunning Iris "Katherine Hodgkin", a fairly recent crossing between the soft yellow winogradowii and histroides major, which has finally bulked up enough in nurseries around the world to bring the price down to an affordable £2.49 for 8 bulbs; Iris danfordiae (which will bloom happily in spring and then suddenly disappear. Apparently they tend to break up into tiny rice size bulblets and are often never seen again. At least in a pot I'll be able to investigate in the autumn; Hermodactylis tuberosus, a weird Iris-like green and black thing I've never had success with before; Iris "Bronze beauty", a Dutch iris that is almost brown; and Crocus speciosus which was already sprouting so should be up in and flowering in no time.

I also picked up three bulbs of Lilium "Night Flyer", a deep purple/Brown Asian hybrid which looks intriguing although it's not the sort of thing you'd put in a wedding bouquet!

So I'm now out of clay pots, again, in fact I've nothing for the lilies cos it needs to be quite bottom-heavy as it's a metre or so high. Or will be, if the squirrels don't get to them first.

Everything is as ready as it can be for my holiday, I just have to pray for rain (sorry) and little wind, It's all covered or weighed down or sitting in a bath of water. Hey, they're only plants and if they die, it's an excuse to replace them!

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