Cambridge University Botanics Mountain Plants Diary
This entry: September 2013 Planting weather by Helen Seal
What a splendid September: warm, gentle weather and moist soil. Perfect planting conditions. In the nursery young plants outgrow their first pot size. Plant or repot? We've opted for a bit of both. In the Rock Garden small new additions can easily be swamped by vigourous, established neighbours: but protected, overwintering space is limited and shared. We have to be careful not to lose new plants by planting them before they have bulked up, and we have to be careful not to make too many demands on that precious overwintering safe haven. I'd hoped to post photos of the plantings we have done - unfortunately they are so discrete they aren't photogenic.
One which is making a bit of a show is Jamesbrittenia microphylla which we grew this year from seed from the South African Silverhill Seeds. It may well prove too tender for Cambridge, but we have surplus plants so we're trialling some in a sheltered, south-facing spot in the South African bed.
In a North American bed we're experimenting with a silver leafed Malvaceae subshrub, Sphaeralcea monroana and a charming, sprawling Asteraceae Melanpodium leucanthum both grown from seed from the North American Alplains seed company. Again we are keeping plants in reserve.
Of course, the growing conditions which favour our new plantings, also favour the weeds. Appropriately in the Eurasian bed a trio of our best weeds are flourishing. Oxalis corniculata var atropurpurea, Geranium molle and Euphorbia peplus spring up from the seed bank.
Successful but unwanted
Oxalis corniculata var atropurpurea
Allium tuberosum grows as intended in the Asian bed, its flowers adding structural interest in later summer. It also masqueraded behind a Tulbaghia label in the South African bed - until Simon's discerning eyes spotted the deception.