Thursday, 7 October 2010

An unexpected (orange) surprise

Just because we're well into October, it doesn't mean things have ground to a halt up here on the roof. In fact, space really is at a premium with seeds germinating, seedlings growing (outrageous!) and cuttings taking all over the place. And I received a totally unexpected surprise when Rhododendron vireya "Saxon Glow" (flowers April-May) decided to chuck out another couple of its remarkable flowers. You can tell it's a Rhody but they really are quite unique.

Rhododendron "Saxon Glow"
There is also about to be a show of red, white and blue on the Clematis tower, which has supassed all expectations, thanks largely to my inspiration (I jest) and Thorncroft Nursery's superb specimens which have doubled in size in little over a month. There are flower buds aplenty on "Niobe" and the Clematis everyone pictures when they hear the genus mentioned, the venerable "Nelly Moser". I've no idea who she was in life but in botanical perpetuity she is a big-hearted and generous lady indeed!

Nelly today getting ready to do her thing

Clematis "Niobe" (just give it a week)

I really am falling over pots and trays of next year's bounty up here, you'd be amazed how much room is taken up by 40 Dianthus knappii seedlings and about 20 Lupins, not to mention to various pots and trays full of choice seed awaiting the winter freeze that, come spring, will unlock the bounty within.

Rooted cutting burtsing with life (and consequently taking up space)

I've already taken care of the next generation of the more, shall we say, prosaic plants such as Salvia patens, Fuchsia (name escapes me and I can't be bothered to climb out the window yet again) and various Penstemons and pelargoniums.

Verbascum phoenicum hybrid anyone? I might have a few spares...

They even look like Lupins now! (That's my compost supply they're sitting on)

The arilbred's are behaving a bit strangely: I've got four, three named, no I'm not climbing out the window again, and one an unnamed seedling given as a gift by the excellent nursery who supplied them, and whose name I have unfortunately forgotten but will endeavour to credit before long. Despite them all being covered and exposed to the same amount of watering, ie none, except what might seep up from below and drip from the roof of their little clear plastic box, two have clearly come out of dormancy about four months too early, with roots sticking out the bottom of the pots! While the other two remain steadfastly barely even anchored in the compost. The un-named seedling is the worst offender with side-shoots flying out everywhere:

Sorry, not the best photo but the schoolkids are out in the playground and I get understandably nervous hanging around near them with a camera lest people get the wrong idea entirely. As you can see this Iris is in robust health and really going for it. If it just means I get an early show then I see no problem, I didn't pay for it after all...
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Well, I can't wait to show you the Clematis when they flower and will keep on keeping you up to date with life up here on the roof, although posts may get a little more sporadic once I return to work the week after next. Thanks for reading, The Plant Boy

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