Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Plants for free!

Have you ever agonised, shall I buy one plant or three? Here's a money saving way to but at least three plants for the price of one!!

First - buy from a reputable nurseryman and look for a well filled (but not pot bound and suffering) pot! I'm using a Primula vulgaris cultivar as an example here. Most can be torn apart and potted up in this way from late winter until early summer!

Knock the plant out.

Carefully tease the rootball apart.

Separate into individual plants for potting up.....

Job done!! You got your three plants plus an insurance pot!

An example of the tips and tricks covered in the popular talk  'Propagation - a matter of life and death'

Monday, 18 February 2013

One or two juno Iris

The Plant Heritage juno Iris collection I hold is a 'little sister' collection to Kew and this winter has been very good for them (hopefully seed will be sprouting like cress soon too!) They are relatively 'late' given the performance in recent years but the temperatures have allowed them to have a typical rather than forced growth cycle! With day temps in low single figures, the flowers are seemingly lasting for ever - that's always good news!!

The garden junos are now peeking above the soil but it is in the pot collection that the main display is starting! The flowers may be lasting but the light is dreadful for photography!

Iris rosenbachina is understandably very popular and quite variable. Here are three fine examples.....

The 'Varzob' clone was the first juno to flower this year, seen here on 4th Feb.

The 'Harangon' clone is widely available and first flower opened fully today.

I don't know whether this next Iris rosenbachiana should have a clonal name - it was meant to be the red purple Tovil dara clone but it's one of the nicest I've grown with lovely rich colours! Never complain!!!!

A touch of the blues from Iris willmottiana, a seed raised example.

More buds peeking through and more images will follow....

Saturday, 16 February 2013

South Wales AGS show

South Wales AGS show, the first show and always one of my favourite shows! The emphasis is usually on bulbous plants but a number of early Primulaceae are at their best then.  I've let the PC sort the plants into alphabetical order and the sequence looks good and saves agonising on how to group the plants....

A simply gorgeous panful of Colchicum hungaricum from Jim Mcgregor to start off with. I can't believe this didn't win an award or prize!

Moving on to Corydalis and Bob & Rannveig Wallis are responsible for these unless specified otherwise...

Corydalis angustifolius 'Gemini' - a real freak with 'twin' flowers uniformly fused together. It's altogether interesting and attractive!

The twins in close up!

Corydalis popovii in this kind of condition was not surprisingly a contender for major awards. Robert Rolfe was rewarded with a Certificate of Merit.

Keeping the flower racemes bolt upright needs good light -  the worst place for this is often  the alpine house!

A nice pinkish  form of Corydalis triternata 

 Flowers are normally 'nodding' in this species but the foliage isn't right for the closely related C. henrikii.

You will normally need to visit the Southern Zagros maountains of Iran to see Corydalis verticillaris ssp parviflora but Carleon was making the experience much easier today!

You get more flowers on this subspecies than any of the others, quite colourful too!

My favourite species amongst section Leontocoides, Corydalis nariniana, sadly departed in the grim cold of 2010/11. I hope to be repatriated with it later this year? :-)

Short stocky stems, grown to perfection here, the carmine spur is what gives the appeal - absolutely gorgeous!

And finally, Corydalis oppositifolia. Pot cultivation is obligatory for the last three species to give them the dry summer rest they will need.

White flowers with contrasting deeply coloured nose....

Crocus come next and this is probably the best show of the year to see them! The Lake Abant area in NW Turkey is home to Crocus abantensis with flowers normally in shades of blue with a yellow throat.

Lovely indeed, it doesn't have to be grown in a pot and is just as content outside.....

The same can be said for Crocus baytopiorum which flowers very early and can get quite leggy under glass! Jim McGregor's exhibit.

The pale blue flowers with darker stripes are one of the joys of late Winter!

Of all the subspecies within the Crocus biflorus complex, Crocus biflorum ssp nubigena is one of the most worthwhile - it has a very floriferous habit, just needing some warmth to open the flowers

Robert Rolfe's pan demonstrated this to perfection with flowers jostling for space, black anthers adding to the spectacle!

From Jim McGregor, this lovely pan of Crocus etruscus gained a Certificate of Merit and cultural commendation!

Crocus herbertii shown by Don Peace. From the Ulu Dag mountains of NW Turkey and now separated as a species from C. gargaricus.

Now that's what I call bright orange!

The next three species constituted a fine three pan of rare Crocus species shown by Robert Rolfe.

Crocus kerdorffianum has only recently been described and grows in the Eastern Taurus Mountains in Southern Turkey where it is a local and rare species.

It is closely related to C. leichtlinii  but as seen here the anthers are yellow rather than blackish.

Crocus nevadensis is quite widespread in nature (Spain, North Africa) but seldom seen in cultivation. The need for a dry summer rest seems paramount, this is a species for the alpine house!

The last of the trio, Crocus reticulatus ssp hittiticus (Crocus hittiticus) is another one for the alpine house. Another seldom seen species from the Turkish Cicilian Taurus.

The black or dark purple anthers are one of this species most striking features.

I always think of Crocus malyi as being one of the latest species to flower but the warmer South meant that Joy Bishop could bring along this nice pan. It is also an easy garden plant.

 Looking inside the flower, the yellow throat distinguishes it from white forms of Crocus vernus.

The final offering and part of Paul and Gill Ranson's six pan is Crocus sieberi 'Firefly'. A Dutch selection but fine easy going garden plant.

From the Cyclamen classes, this large pan of Cyclamen coum forma album won the Cyclamen Salver for Ian Robertson.

 George Elder brought a wide ranging variety of bulbous plants. Here is Daubenya aurea from South Africa.

Some of the showiest Dionysias have D. afghanica blood. Eric Jarrett brought this fine domed cushion of Dionysia 'Mike Bramley' .

Here's the Farrer medal winning plant! A wonderful large pan of Dionysia archibaldii (JLMS 02-87 / PMR1). Yet another medal for Paul and Gill Ranson.

Once I'd managed to get rid of the joker in the pack......

Paul and Gill posed nicely, (if not too enthusiatically) for the camera!

Not too many Fritillaria species were in evidence but this Fritillaria stenanthera was coaxed into bloom by Tim Lever.

There were however, many pots of Galanthus species and cultivars. One of the easiest to obtain is the ever popular Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle' (Don Peace)

Just as popular and one of the neatest from the Greatorex series is Galanthus 'Hippolyta' (Ivor Betteridge)

Galanthus elwesii  'Maidwell L' (Don Peace) remains a very good selection of this species and is a very easy garden plant!

The 'X factor' inner mark which is quite distinctive.

Galanthus plicatus 'Sophie North' is a wonderful stocky and vigorous clone but it still takes a few years to build up a panful like this. (Don Peace)

The flowers in close up and two per bulb are the norm!

One or two species were on display, including Don's Galanthus fosteri 

The flowers always have apical and basal marks, normally quite a deep shade of green.

Galanthus gracilis with the leaves showing the twisting characteristic of this species.(Don Peace)

The  basal mark of Galanthus gracilis can cover much more of the inner segment .

Another hybrid from Don, Galanthus plicatus 'The Pearl' 

Complete with it's solid green mark on the inner segment.

A final species with the late Winter /  Spring flowering G. reginae-olgae ssp vernalis (Bob and Rannveig Wallis)

Giving a little break from bulbous plants, here's a lovely lovely apple blossom pink Hepatica nobilis from elsie Willett

Of course I've got a soft spot for juno Iris and this pan of Iris 'Sindpers' is testimony to years of patient increase (Bob and Rannveig Wallis)

Iris rosenbachiana - a Bondarenko clone.

Iris stenophylla ssp allisonii with it's distinctive spotting and streaking on the falls.

Iris winogradowii has never looked so good (or floriferous) from John Dixon. Joint Rock thought so too and awarded a First Class Certificate.

And how about these two Certificate of Merit winning pans of Narcissus.....

Firstly Narcissus asturiensis shown by Eric Jarrett.

Then Don and Heather Hyde's Narcissus romieuxii

There were not too many European Primulas present and Eric Jarrett's Primula allionii 'Daniel' was one of the most eye catching.

Don Peace ensured the petiolarids maintained a presence with two hybrids....

Primula 'Arduaine' (P. bhutanica x P. whitei)

Primula 'Tantallon'  (P. nana x bhutanica)

Here's one to practice your powers of pronunciation on .... Scilla mischtschenkoana 

The final image, Paul and Gill Ranson's AGS medal winning small six pan.

This is not an official show report, which you can see on the AGS website here from Tim Lever. Also check out Jon Evans's images on the discussion thread  Not been to an AGS show? Check out the main AGS website for a show near to you......