Sunday, 20 March 2016

Repairing Winter's ravages

Several plants have succumbed to winter frosts so I've grubbed them out and will take the opportunity to make a few alterations. A rose has been given the heave-ho; it was planted last spring and turned out to be unscented and very thorny. Not the sort of rose I would choose, so was it mis-labelled I wonder? I have replaced it with the ferny-leaved Rosa 'Canary Bird'. I have also planted a specimen of 'Variegata di Bologna', rather a spectacular rose which I may also train as a climber.
Tristagma uniflorum in our garden at Stefen Hill,
Daventry. 24 March, 2016

We are plagued in our front garden by Tristagma uniflorum. I certainly didn't introduce it and it must have been a component of the weedy turf which covered this area when we moved in some eighteen months ago. A combination of grubbing out with a trowel and the judicious application of a weedkiller has removed most of it but I suspect it hasn't been completely eradicated. A distinct onion smell to the bruised leaves shows its relationship to Alliums.

Common Stork's Bill? If so it is certainly a robust
specimen. Stefen Hill, Daventry. 28 March, 2016

I have been puzzled by a species of Erodium which has cropped up in a tub. A careful examination has led me to identify it as Common Stork's Bill, Erodium cicutarium. This is normally found as a rather small plant in dry soil at road sides or in turf but here it is very robust, perhaps because it has found a home in rich compost. It is certainly atypical.

Erodium species nearly always have leaves with some
form of pinnate structure. Stefen Hill. 28 March, 2016 

Erodiums are very closely related to geraniums and indeed often grow in similar areas as the Dove's Foot Cranesbill, Geranium molle. But Erodium species have pinnately compound leaves, here seen sprawling across a paving slab and looking rather fern-like.

Geraniums (and I refer to true Geraniums and not Pelargoniums) have palmate leaves (think Horse Chestnut leaves) but the flowers are very similar.

My Lewisia hybrid has survived! Stefen Hill, Daventry.
29 March, 2016

My Lewisia has come through unscathed. In my copy of Anna Griffith's book, 'Collins Guide to Alpines' I read: 'They show a great tendency to hybridise...' and '...are usually overwintered under glass'. I have the 1985 edition but things have clearly changed. We know our winters are now milder and over the last three decades hardier strains may have been selected. I can now risk growing more.

(I am now getting to grips with my new computer and, after making the air blue on a number of occasions, I can - hopefully - resume regular blogging.)

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