Thursday, 27 February 2014

One of the lovely thing about plants and gardens is how generous people are in sharing things. Fred Hunt from Invergowrie (near Dundee)- an immaculate gardener with a host of rare and beautiful plants - collected a large assembly of snowdrop cultivars. They too, grow well with me here and multiply wonderfully. Here again in beds under shrubs that provide summer shade -  in this case hazel cultivars for a nut crop. He has given me very many and they now form large clumps. One currently out now has simply huge flowers and the accompanying photograph shows this flower next to a standard snowdrop. To be honest, while quite fascinating,  it is not really my idea of the most delicate flower of spring! Again nothing really to do with Meconopsis but they like the rich acid soil and provide things to enjoy when the only sign of Meconopsis is over wintering rosettes. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

       Many years ago, when I first used to show at Scottish Rock Garden Club shows, Harold Esslemont from Aberdeen used to show (and very often win!). He was generous and gave me a number of plants, one of which was Crocus gargaricus ssp gargaricus. This subspecies is not stoloniferous unlike the better known form  - ssp. herbertii and has multiplied up by seed to form really large (and extremely beautiful) colonies. Mice are a major problem, especially in a mild winters like this one, and I wage constant warfare on them. 

      What is very interesting about this is that it comes from damp meadows in parts of Turkey and grows extremely well in my peat beds under summer shade unlike nearly any other species of Crocus

The top image, with the pot, shows both the sub species gargaricus and herbertii (in pot). I had totally forgotten this pot sown some years ago with seed from the Gothenberg Botanic Gardens and discovered flowering for the first time today -  but with no sun to open the flowers!.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Really only just practising again but there is a message with this image. I was sowing seed of this today from my own collecting. Nomocharis are the most beautiful of all the bulbs I have. They run from deep pink to white with a wide range of spotting from none to very heavily spotted. There are about 6 species. This sort of seed is not easy to come by and even with seed exchanges you might well only get 2 or 3 seeds, so establishing your own plants, preferably with a small colony to ensure cross pollination and fertile seed, is vital in the long term. Such a population also gives you rare and desirable seed to exchange. I sow a modest potful in my standard way but I also line out a row in a part of the garden where they can be protected both up to germination and as seedlings. I grow both on unthinned for two or three years until there are reasonably sized bulbs to transplant to the garden or individually pot up, say two bulbs, as gifts. I use the same technique with all my lilies. Renewing from seed of even common species is desirable to avoid the build up of virus

Saturday, 15 February 2014

It is probably obvious to everyone but me but this site not only presents posts on my blog but also has the whole of the original Meconopsis World website. 'VIEW BLOG' gives you both. I shall probably not add material to the old website again but add everything including new species - if they are found or split from current ones on the BLOG part. 

Nothing to do with Meconopsis but in this dreary winter something that flowers is a great gift. This used to be called Iris unguicularis but is now known as Iris stylosa. After last years hot summer they have flowered wonderfully from late November. They are a really large flower with long stems and travel well in the post as cut flowers to my family. A good creamy white form does well for me. There is a wonderful large flowered variety called Walter Butt (shown) and, a dark blue and a very dark blue that I have seen described as a different species - Iris lazica. To me the last is just a really nice dark blue. Here in Scotland they need it hot in summer and are planted against a south facing wall. I have never seen any sign that they are not hardy but the biggest problems is slugs and particularly snails. They need constant slug pellets worked in among the thick clumps of leaves. I should add at this point that I am not very competent with computers and have had trouble lately with this programme. Yesterday an extremely good professional computer expert who devised and set up the website and Blog sorted out all my problems - and long may this last!

                                    MECONOPSIS LUDLOWII

These four pictures were taken by Margaret and David Thorne in Arunachal Pradesh last summer. Clearly a very lovely dwarf plant with deep blue stamens and what looks like a yellow stigma but maybe the stigma is coloured and it is covered with yellow pollen. There is a very distintive leaf. This is some ways a mysterious plant and found by earlier European explorers but was first properly recorded  by the great team of Ludlow and Sherriff  on the ORKA LA on 10th June 1934 and also later on the MILAKATONG LA and elsewhere. Seed was collected as Meconopsis lancifolia concinna.   Currently Dr. Grey-Wilson is going to describe it as a new species called Meconopsis ludlowii

All this information has been passed to me by David and Margaret Thorne and any mistakes are mine. 

Rather unusual foliage  with seemingly two leaf types with later leaves partially pinnate.

Clearly a highly desirable plant if ever seed could  be collected