Friday, 29 October 2010

Oxford botanic gardens

I spend many a happy hour in the glasshouses at Oxfords botanic gardens. I think that it's the combination of the heat, humidity and smells. Also helps to have some real exotics to drool over! So I figured that it would be good to share some of them. No way that I'll cover it in one post though, so I'll drip feed them to you over the course of several.
There can only be one way to start; Strongylodon Macrobotrys! Nothing could have prepared me for that day in May when I walked in and came across this! If you don't do it usually, open these pics up in a new tab!

Native to the Phillipines, such beauty is way beyond my reach in my own garden! So until such times as I win the lottery I shall be making my way to the gardens every May!

Thunbergia Myrosorensis (Clock Vine) is considered too invasive by some gardeners in places such as California - to me it would be an absolute treasure!

My last favourite for the moment is Columnea Schiedeana. This one is a native of South America, but from my research it may be a viable proposition to grow here in the UK at home on the understanding that it'll have to come indoors over the winter.

As usual though, I'm struggling to source a plant or seeds here in the UK, so if anyone has any ideas I would be grateful!!!!

Part two can be found here

Penstemon Digitalis "Huskers Red"

Sadly, this wonderful Penstemon is not seen enough.

It may have a messy basal growth habit, but were not looking at the ground! We're looking at the gorgeous small white (with a very slight pink tinge) flowers which are borne on stems of up to one metre. Add the contrasting chocolate coloured foliage and the fact that it's as hardy as they come, and you have to be on to a winner!

It's also very easy to grow from seed, grows into a large clump within a couple of seasons and doesn't require staking! It's just so easy, but also very rewarding!

So, there you have it...... Huskers Red!


Hardly a rare or unusual plant I know, but some of them are just so beautiful!
I usually have one annual alongside my hardy F.magellanica riccartonii, but this year I went mad and had two annuals and added two more hardy examples too!

F.magallenica riccartonii

This has been with us since forever, and is now a rather large and unruly specimen! Who cares though when it's just so perfectly formed! It was very late flowering this year though.

F.Korralle fulgens

I always have a triphylla Fuchsia which is treated as an annual, usually F.thallia, but this year I went for Korralle fulgens instead. The flowers are borne on triphyllas in terminal clusters, so I tend to pinch them out just the once. Full sun is essential, as is good humidity. They do not like to be allowed to dry out - if they are they just dump the flowers!

Fuchsia "Satellite"

This was an impulse buy, for no better reason than the unusual form of the petals! It did however turn out to be a "good bloomer", and took a fair bit of neglect too!

Fuchsia "David"

A small example, the flowers are at most 20mm, it's the most free flowering form that I've ever grown. Despite only growing to about 30cm or so, it's described as fully hardy. I've grown it in a pot though so that it can have some winter protection.

I'll cover my final Fuchsia (F.perscandens) in a separate post. 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Clerodendrum Ugandense

Easily one of the favourite plants that I have!

I bought this plant in August 2009 in the bargain bin at a local garden centre. I almost passed it over, as I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and dismissed it because I thought that someone had stuck naff plastic butterflies on it. So happy that I took a proper look at it now. Clerodendrums can grow very quickly - standing no more than 15 cm when I bought it, the plant stood at about 30cm in April. It was put outdoors at the beginning of May and despite infrequent feeds it has now grown to just over a metre in height. It has however had plenty of water - a must for good growth in a Clerodendrum.

But by far the best thing about it is the fact that it's a prodigious bloomer! Indeed, since coming back into the conservatory it's putting out another large flush of flowers.
If I have one gripe about it, it's the fact that I struggle to get seeds off of it. Despite the vast number of flowers that it's produced, I've only ever harvested six seeds from it (and I lost those). I love to buy plants, but I also like to be able to grow them, even if I just give them away once I've done it!

My first blog!

As this is my first attempt at a blog, I guess it should be about the latest addition to my collection......

Introducing my Ceropegia Sandersonii! AKA, the African Parachute Plant.
I love to have plants that are not seen around too often, and this fits the bill perfectly. Native to the south eastern corner of Africa, this succulent is a great candidate for a houseplant, although I do wonder whether the UK winter will provide enough quality daylight for it to do well.

This looks a healthy enough specimen at the moment.
It will be going into a south facing window, and as long as I don't over water it I should be ok. The preferred temperature range is between 13 and 25 degrees c.
Here's hoping that it'll be happy in its new home.