Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Members flowering plants out in the middle of Winter.


Jon's Crocus imperati from Lambley Nursery, that David says he received from Otto +30 years ago. Jon is a beautiful grower, every plant is researched and positioned so that it looks and grows perfectly, his photography is pretty good too. Summer dormancy is given to all his bulbs that require a summer drying out, in the garage. Crocus imperati is from W. Italy, a large flowered Crocus suitable for the rock garden, rich violet on the inside and biscuit-coloured outside, with violet stripes. There is also a white form available. It is very impressive, Jon has read it will tolerate a little dampness in the summer and will try some corms in the garden next year. These flowers are laden with pollen, and there is an ant deep in the flower so Jon may get seed set too.


A new Cyclamen for sale in the largest garden stores, the hybrid Petticoat Cyclamen.



Morea ciliata another of Jon bulbs out in flower so beautifully marked. Approximately 20cm high, the leaves are 3 to 5 and overlapping, they are sparsely to densely hairy usually grey. Flowers are enclosed in large, lightly hairy spathes similar to the leaves, where it gets its name ciliata from (cilia-hair like bodies. -te with fine projecting hairs). Flowering July to September in sand clay slopes Namaqualand and Karoo to Riversdale, Southern Africa.
From Cynthia? on the Bunfight.



Otto's Iris nicolai approx 12-15cm tall North-eastern Afganistan and adjacent Asian Russia, on clayey slopes at 1,000-2,000m. Alpine house in the UK keeping the foliage dry at all times. Otto's grows in his garden, he shrugs his shoulders and says "if they grow they grow if they don't they don't". He has no more room in his glass house now, so they have to grow outside, and it is growing well, and course gravel is always mixed in his soil where bulbs require sharp drainage. The marking's are exquisite.


Otto's other Iris out in flower is Iris planifolia 10 -15cm in height flowering late winter to spring, but in the wild sometimes late autumn. Mediterranean region Crete to Southern Spain, Portugal and Morocco growing out in the weather in Otto's garden.


Late Winter to early Spring flowering Colchicum doerfleri now under Colchicum hungaricum. From Hungary, Yugoslavia Albania, Bulgaria in dry stony and sandy habitats, sometimes at the back of the sea shore. Another bulb with very hairy leaf margins almost pure silver to the naked eye. In Otto's garden.


My Oxalis truncatum from the Beefy Boy's Nursery no longer selling plants, a lovely hairy Oxalis too, covered in hairs as it comes through the soil, but as it ages the hairs disappear. No information anywhere on this Oxalis in any of my books or the web. Oxalis truncatum likes a dry summer but kept in a cool position. I grow it in a good potting mix with a course sand mixed through and topped dressed to keep the leaves clean (above and below).


Friday, July 7, 2017

The home of Galanthus woronowii Elizabeth Harrison


Galanthus woronowii Elizabeth Harrison (photo from the web
all three photo's)




Another of our Scottish Gardens the Harrison's Garden.
When visiting Australia Ian Christie had told me about the yellow Galanthus selling on ebay for 725pounds, its a bit hard to believe when you hear someone paid that much for one bulb. So when we visited The Harrisons garden, it wasn't hard to believe that anything so beautiful could be found in this  peaceful garden, with its lush growth and many blue Meconopsis. When visiting, I asked Elizabeth about the Galanthus and she pointed to where it had been found, perfect for growing Galanthus.
Ian Christie a Scottish nursery man and also ex president of the Scottish Rock Garden Soc. was in charge of propagating Galanthus woronowii Elizabeth Harrison, I'm not sure if Elizabeth asked Ian to come to their garden to show him the yellow Galanthus or if Ian saw it when he was visiting, but whatever way it was we are certainly lucky to see it, even if it is only in pictures. Some of the yellow Galanthus have yellow stems but it is quite rare to have a yellow ovary and it certainly is a stunning Galanthus. Galanthus woronowii do well in Australia, so if ever anyone is feeling very financial.  


The garden pictures speak for them selves.







Sunday, July 2, 2017

Books to help with the identification of Marcus's seed



 A field guide to the Bulbs of Greece by Chris Grey Wilson published by the Alpine Garden Society is out of print now but is still available as a second hand copy. It has a lot of reference for us to help identify Marcus Harvey's seed that has been distributed at each of our last 3 or 4 meetings. As most of the seed was collected in Greece and Marcus own garden seed. There is good reference to the Colchicums, Galanthus, Fritillaria, Allium's and Tulipa.
I am sure that the Ferny Creek Horticultural Soc. Library would have copies for hire also.



Another book that you may be able to find secondhand is this book on Galanthus by Gunter Waldorf not too much information just enough for quick reference, with a coloured photo to help with identification.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Eranthis known as The Winter Aconite


Eranthis cilicica (above & below) is the first aconite to flower for me, it comes from the Cilician Taurus Mountains in S Turkey which is probably why it does much better for me than Eranthis hyemalis. The leaves are tinged with a bronze colour and are more dissected than E. hyemalis. We need to raise all Eranthis from seed, as I do not think any Nursery is selling Eranthis in Australia. Eranthis when grown from seed acclimatises much better for us, because it has been raised in our climate, which can be difficult at the best of times. Seed needs to be kept moist during germination, when seed arrives from seed exchanges soak in a drop of detergent and luke warm water, the luke warm water helps dissolve the detergent, soak overnight. Sow seed in a good potting mix with leaf mulch mixed through it, cover seed with a good layer of fine gravel 1/4 minus is best. When seed germinates do not pot up for 2 to 3 years just leave it in its pot, feed with a granular fertiliser as soon as it germinates and transplant when it has leaves, so that you can distinguish the tiny brown bulbs, that look for all the world like a dark piece of tan bark, in the potting mix. Place pots out in the rain away from slugs and snails, in a cool shady position and cross your fingers.




Eranthis hyemalis Pauline from Winton seed United kingdom, a hybrid Eranthis a light straw yellow coloured flower (above) comes through the ground very pale and gradually changes colour.


Eranthis hyemalis Pauline above and below.


Eranthis hyemalis Schwefelglanze (below) is another very pale coloured Eranthis, although saying that, my son Aarons is much darker so there is variation in flower colour when raising from seed. Eranthis hyemalis  Schwefelglanze is often offered on the SRGC and the AGS seed exchanges so it is available.



Eranthis hyemalis from the European woodlands and is found growing extensively in large gardens under deciduous trees in the UK along with snowdrops causing quite a sensation.


Eranthis sp. (below) from New Zealand seed exchange I think it is E. hyemalis, I struggle with E. hyemalis in the garden here I'm not sure why, but it does so much better for me in pots, so I will just keep saving my seed and multiply my stocks until I have enough to plant out in the garden, sow your own seed as soon as it is ripe and it will germinate the very next year. You wouldn't want to be in a hurry with this seed raising business would you, it requires hugh patience.


Eranthis pinnatifida (below) photographed in Lynn Mc Goughs garden in Olinda. A native of Japan in mountain woods, it needs a moist position in a peaty soil. The flowers are about 2cm wide so the flowers are smaller than other Eranthis. I have never seen the seed of Eranthis pinnatifida offered on seed exchanges. Sometimes a nursery in Japan www.yuzawa-engei.net has Eranthis pinnatifida for sale, they do sell moist packeted seed if you request it.


There is a very good Article in the SRG E magazine. International Rock Gardener and you can see what they are able to grow and buy over there.
http://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/logdir/2014Jan291391022895IRG49.pdf

Monday, June 26, 2017

 The Young's Garden



Even though many of us belong to the Scottish Rock Garden Forum and view Ian & Maggi's garden regularly, there are many who have not seen this magnificent garden, that is just filled with the most choicest of plants. The minute you walk up the path into the garden you are greeted with a drive way planted full of Fritillaria meleagris, you know you are in for a treat.


Troughs are positioned strategically, old stone troughs, the famous fish box troughs of polystyrene that are moulded with a heat gun and very large trough made from concrete slabs joined with long bolts going from side to side holding them together, filled with slabs of stone to create crevice garden conditions. This brings the tiny plants closer to the eye and provides growing conditions to suit the plants that are growing in them.


The large concrete slab trough.


Bonsai tree's add height and lead the eye into the garden beyond.


The edging on the pond is under construction again, allowing more planting to take place, as you can see at the bottom of this photo below, Erythronium's are a large part of the garden, some that Ian and Maggi have bred them selves, separating the very best and giving them names such as Erythronium 'Craigton Cover Girl'. They have beautiful markings and the flowerers seemed very large to me.


Looking towards the house and garden.


Ian's garden sculpture.


 Two gorgeous well behaved little girls, considering all the strangers in their garden.









Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Arisaema's "The day of the triffids".


This is a collection of Arisaema photos that I have taken, most have been grown in Australia but others were from over sea's, some are easy to grow other not so, finding the right position is the key to keep Arisaema's alive and multiplying, so a little research as to where they grow and come from needs to be done before planting.
Our first Arisaema was photographed in Ken and Leslie Gillanders garden in Tasmania, prior to them moving to a smaller property. Ken did not know its name, but it is certainly interesting.


Arisaema candidisima does very well in woodland gardens in Australia, photo from my old garden, it was severely affected by our drought we had and high temperatures of over 40deg celsius for days on end. I lost a large group except for one pip, it multiples readily and spreads underground when happy, not too dry but needs to be kept moist in summer months. Available from a lot of the smaller Nurseries.


Arisaema consanguineum taken in Phyll Bears garden, A. consanguineum has a few variants of coloured spathes. Phyll was the queen of Arisaema's. Arisaema speciosum was like a weed in her garden.


Arisaema speciosum coming up like triffids, they used to get up to about a meter tall with big, thick, dark brown, marbled stems and were more of a feature than the flowers they were magnificent so majestic. Phyll grew them under the high shade of a very large old blackwood tree and the tubers were planted shallowly, just virtually on the top of the soil, with a good top dressing of leaf mulch spread around the tubers in a moist soil. Phyll explained to my son then about 18 years old that if you planted the tubers too deep the tubers would rot, goodness knows how they held those tall stems and leaves upright they must have sent out strong surface root's. Arisaema speciosum dies after it flowers, but it usually will set seed and you may get a few pips remaining around the old spent tuber. Apologies for poor photo below, only one I had of Phyll's Arisaema speciosum in flower. (Above and Below)




Arisaema formosanum? taken in Val Popham's garden in New Zealand, so many of the Arisaema names were mixed up, especially the ones that we imported from China.


Arisaema japonicum photographed in Christchurch Botanical Gardens, near the little stream that runs through the Primula and woodland area. Moist, semi shaded position.




Above and below Lynn Mc Gough's Arisaema kiushianum two photo's taken same day at different stages of growth,  just before Lynn and Baz moved to NSW.




I can claim this Arisaema lingyunense with it's very dark almost black cobra head flower, an import from China. The spadix appendage, I used to curl up in the leaf it was so long, but tubers have gone backwards and it has not flowered for quite a few years (Above and Below)




Another Arisaema from Ken and Leslie Gillander's garden, Arisaema nepenthoides, growing in a wooded area with plenty of shade and it was quite moist.
.

This dark photo was taken in the hall at The New Zealand Alpine Garden show. Arisaema peninsulae it could be variety atro-purpureum.


Arisaema propinquum at Wisley Gardens UK.


Arisaema ringens we have two forms of A. ringens growing in Australia the black nose form and a green nose form. All grow extremely well in a large pots that I repot every few years. They flower and look good for a very long time, putting on a beautiful display. They are readily available from Lynn's rare plants, Gary and Sue Reid at Allans Flat Victoria. Lynn grows all her Arisaema's in the garden that is usually heavily mulched and regularly digs them up to sell and I think that keeps the plants multiplying, disturbing them all the time, lifting and dividing. Green nosed Arisaema ringens below photo courtesy Lynn Mc Gough.




Arisaema sikokianum  no makings on the leaf above and below Arisaema sikokianum Takedae with the light green markings on the leaf. Arisaema sikokianum is not easy to keep in cultivation it seems to come and go. Best raised constantly from seed, which it does seem to set when happy in a well drained woodland position, don't dry seed out and plant as soon as it is ready.



We had a group of people go to China specifically to collect Arisaema seed quite a few years ago 1997. It was a subscribed trip and the seed was divided between the donors the collection number of the Arisaema above is GSE 97 9683 3 a soft green and pink flower sadly is no longer with me.
Below a slight variation of the above Arisaema collection number GSE 97 9655 2.




Arisaema taiwanense collection number BSW 200 Wisley Glass house U K taken 2001 



Arisaema thunbergii ssp Urashima taken at the Alpine Garden Society conference.



Arisaema thunbergii ssp Urashima here in my garden, woodland position but not too damp.


An easier Arisaema tortuosum.


A very difficult Arisaema wilsonii, difficult to grow and flower well and more difficult to keep plants from raised seed going for any length of time, but Lynn seems to have this one growing and flowering well from imported plants from China.


I find this Arisaema franchetianum from imported bulbs from China, needs to be repotted every year to keep it multiplying well. Grown in a good potting mix with plenty of leaf mulch added and a course sand mixed through the potting mix, when plants are dormant I repot and place pots in a shaded position open to rain. It grows quite well for me. 
Reference book The Genus Arisaema by Guy & Liliane Gusman