Wednesday 13 May 2020

Wet and dry

Japanese Water Iris - the survivors!

I’ve just come in from the garden with a smile on my face. Six tiny, tiny seedlings – so small that they would not make a decent photograph. They are the progeny of this magnificent specimen on the left. It is a Japanese Water Iris photographed in full bloom last July. The previous winter I thought I had lost them; indeed, some did perish – they gave up and rotted off. Determined to succeed, I rebuilt that part of the water garden and was rewarded by the sight you see. 

It seems they like to grow in soil where their feet can be in water. I suspect that this summer we will see the blooms in June. The new challenge is now to nurture the six seedlings, grown from saved seed, so others can share in my joy (available in the Autumn)

Iris: from wet to dry
The main Iris in our garden is a lovely scented variety (I must check the name). They require very different conditions, indeed - they like their feet to get hot! So, I have them at the front of the border and am careful not to mulch them. They grow from rhizomes that like to bake in the sun. These irises have done well this year so they will soon, literally, be ripe for propagating. More irises available later this summer! (We will tell you when)

Bulbs: from dry to wet
Last Autumn some beautiful late flowers caught our eye in a Shropshire village not far from here. They turned out to be Guernsey Lilies – Nerine Sarniensis – and became a must have. I knocked up a sharp mix and potted up five, but they were not happy. Apart from being repeatedly dug up by a magpie, I could tell they were sad. Upon inspection, I found that they were just about developing roots so still in the land of the living. I decided to give then a sharper mix – using the chicken grit I mentioned last week. I sense they are now happier. We have to wait until the Autumn to be sure

Most bulbs like sharply drained conditions. The exception is camassia. This one bloomed a couple of weeks ago. Its compatriots are more reluctant. Why? There are many mysteries in gardening. Plants are very much like people!

Finding the right place
The Ligularia dominates the bog garden this time of year. It is another of the examples of casualties in Codger’s garden. For twenty years it languished. Then five years ago I moved it to its present damp spot. I must remember to photograph in bloom. But I may need a telephoto lens to reach the flower head! In a future edition, I shall explain how to create these different habitats. Much can be achieved, even in a small garden

We have had very drying winds around here, and it is probably true for you as well. If you have not watered your plants in containers they will probably be gasping by now. Some, in my case chrysanthemums, dry out in a single day so keep the watering can filled and ready to go. Remember, it is not just sunshine and lack of rain that you must be aware of, but that constant drying wind.

Busy tomorrow
I am not planning a blog post tomorrow – I must get my beans in a row! I shall also be more than busy preparing bush tomatoes plants– you can order, now remember. There is also a bit of admin to do …

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece called The Grace of Giving prompted by my reading of 2 Corinthians in the Bible (see here). Having finished that book (actually, it is a letter or epistle) I decided to reread it – just to deepen my understanding and, this morning I got to the same chapter. I am struck by the care taken to be transparently accountable: We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man (vv20-21). 

It is for this reason we are using the public giving platform here. We are very grateful for the support we have received. In addition to donations in lieu of payment for plants, others have given in order to encourage us in our support for BCM. Among these are good folk who normally contribute towards the annual charity plant sale run by Angela and Keith Webb. As I say, we are grateful

Best wishes from the Garden Codger – hopefully see you on Friday

The Ligularia mentioned above. In flower last July

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