Saturday, 17 August 2019

Garden goodies

The approach of autumn has seen more interesting plants come into bloom, some large and spectacular, other smaller and more delicate.

The most diminutive of these is the delightful Acis autumnalis. I have often looked for flowers around the western Mediterranean but Chris and I usually visit these areas in spring, too early for the Autumn Snowflake, as it is called, to be in bloom. 

Acis autumnalis, the Autumn Snowflake, seems very happy in our sink
garden. 17 August, 2019
I grow it in our sink garden where it is thriving in a gritty mix. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, a complex group over which botanists have argues for decades, and certainly I intend to say nothing more about it.

Our Myrtle, Myrtus communis, is now in flower. I am at a loss to know why it is not  grown more widely. Perhaps at one time it was regarded as borderline hardy but, providing it is not planted on an exposed, windy hillside or a very wet site, it is easy. 

Our myrtle is becoming smothered in bloom. 17 August, 2019
The white flowers are very attractive, the aromatic foliage is evergreen (as are its relatives, Eucalyptus) and, if you are so inclined, the purple-black berries are edible. Myrtle jam is often seen for sale on the continent. What's not to like?

The most spectacular of the three plants considered in this blog was given to us by our friend Linda Talmadge, whose lovely B and B we visited a few days ago. It is a Clerodendron and is almost certainly Clerodendron bungei.  There seems to be confusion about the name, for in some books it is 'Clerodendrum' bungei.

Although Clerodendron bungei hails from China, it is clearly happy in
Daventry. 17 August, 2019

A native of China, this woody plant may be cut down in a hard winter but, as such weather conditions are increasingly rare, I'm sure it will be fine against our garage wall. Any disadvantages? Well yes, there are two.

The first concerns the foliage, which has an unpleasant smell when rubbed - so don't rub it. Simple. The other potential problem is more serious: it can be invasive, getting into places where it can be a nuisance, but I am growing our specimen in a tub. Again, simple.

The flowers are reputed to be very attractive to Humming Bird Hawkmoths. A visit from one of these would be lovely - but I won't hold my breath.

Late summer/early autumn, can be a lovely season in the garden.

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