Sunday, 27 July 2014

Nearly all my spare plastic pots and 3 sacks of compost but all this years Meconopsis are now potted on. There has been exceptional growth this year and I have added inorganic fertilizer to my usual leaf mould, peat and grit compost. I just hope the growth will not be too soft to over winter properly. This should give me an opportuntity to give a lot of these plants back to both professional organisations as well as to a group plant stall and get them safely back into cultivation. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The first of the big blue poppies flowering in a garden in Cumbria. This is the one named Marit. I find the growing number of named forms difficult since they vary in colour and stature depending on the growing season in a particular year. I have suggested we need a proper botanical key if we are going to identify accurately the exact clone. However they are mostly really lovely, robust and very perennial if happy and will usually divide after a year or two. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dactylilorhiza O'kellyii. A plant from the Burren many years ago and much propagated since as it multiplies well. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

I have a very green fingered friend down the road to whom same years ago I gave plants of M. punicea - this is the unique bright scarlet species.  I do have a little seed this year which I sowed a month ago and hope this will germinate next spring when brought into the warmth from the  dark damp site where the pan now lies. HOWEVER my friend has several hundred well grown plants of this and gave me a pot of seedlings which I have carefully nurtured and now have 250 plants for distribution to various public gardens who may want them. M. punicea in cultivation has been very much rescued, which only goes to show that passing rare plants on is a good long term strategy!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Have just returned from the Auvergne in France and fulfilled a 40 year ambition as I imagined it would be countryside like my childhood in rural Sussex. There are  wonderful old farm buildings, many of which have been beautifully restored by wealthy people from elsewhere in Europe as holiday homes and very often including a swimming pool. This last is a wonderful asset when one takes grandchildren! The actual farmed land mostly consists of small fields, often as clearings in the extensive woodlands - the tractors used were mostly very old. This is strikingly different from the intensive farming here in the east of Scotland with huge fields and equally huge farm equipment and high input of both artificial fertilizers and weed and pest chemicals. The flora was however a little disappointing and I failed to find any orchids to photograph. There were however lots of interesting birds and we were serenaded day and night by nightingales all round the house. Red kites ad black kites as well as honey buzzards drifted over for much of the day.