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Midland Diary Discussion: 05 April 2009

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Started by: Diane Clement

5 April 2009 - Midland Diary No 10 Hepatica gallery

Go to latest contribution by Diane Clement, 09 March 2011, 16:22. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Diane Clement 06 April 2009, 10:20top / bottom of page

Please add any comments or contributions relating to Midland Diary no 10 here

Contribution from Colin Dolding 07 April 2009, 00:48top / bottom of page

What a great variation in both flower colour and leaf form. Thank you for another interesting entry. My Hepaticas (all outside) have been disappointing this year with only a very dark blue/purple nobilis flowering well. Seedlings in cold greenhouse are coming on well but no flowers this season.

Contribution from Diane Clement 07 April 2009, 10:06top / bottom of page

Some of the early H japonicas can get damaged outside by winter weather. The few I do grow outside are mainly the larger H transsilvanica forms which are very hardy and come through later.

Heptica seedlings will usually take a minimum of 3 years to flower - sown in May, they germinate the following February or March, then another two years for flowers. Occasionally an odd one does it in two. It's nice to sow some every year, then there are always some coming into flower.

Contribution from Cliff Booker 07 April 2009, 11:55top / bottom of page
Excellent thread

Another fascinating discussion and gallery, Diane - keep up the good work please!

Contribution from anne wright 08 April 2009, 12:42top / bottom of page

Excellent blog, Diane. It must have taken ages to crop all those photos! Your hepaticas are beautiful, and the tips are very useful, thanks. I've spent many a long hour with forceps trying to rescue seeds from gravel toppings.

Contribution from Denise Bridges 08 April 2009, 18:27top / bottom of page

Beautiful flowers Diane. Oh, to have a collection like yours! It is a plant I have always struggled with in the garden, but have had more success with them in pots, having got them through this winter, I may be tempted to grow more types. I shall be using your idea of the tea bags, as I never seem to get the seeds at the right time, I think it will be good to use them on Hellebores too.....just got to train my hubby to save the teabags now! Great blog Diane!

Contribution from Diane Clement 09 April 2009, 17:52top / bottom of page

Thanks for all the feedback. It’s nice to know someone is reading it all! Anne, as for cropping all the pictures, I did use a couple of quick shortcuts to get them all the same size. I did have to crop them individually, but instead of resizing them all, I paste them into Word, then resize them on the page by selecting them all together, and altering the size in one go, then I take a screenshot and then post the screenshot. It actually saves a lot of time in the end. Collecting seed – Denise you may have seen the hellebores at Ashwood with bags on to collect the seed - that was where I got my original idea. I think theirs are cotton, but I tried fleece squares but it was a nuisance to tie on and the mice ate through it. The teabags seem to work well for hepaticas but they wouldn’t be big enough for hellebores – you’ll have to experiment and let us know. I don’t actually collect hellebore seed – and therefore I end up with zillions of seedlings around the plants!

Contribution from John Humphries 10 April 2009, 09:06top / bottom of page
Hellebore seed

I mark the blooms I have pollinated by hand with a little tie of wool round the pedicel. A different colour each week. They take about the same time to ripen. So it's then a case of checking every few days for the first of the pods to pop under gentle finger and thumb presure.

Popping the pods in this way beats the mice to the seed and also gives you very slightly underripe seed, light grey. Surface sown immediately and covered by 5mm of grit, then left in a cool shady place will give you 100% germination at christmas. Then its just a case of keeping the young plants away from the predators until ready to prick out in March. immediately and

John H Hampshire

Contribution from Diane Clement 10 April 2009, 09:34top / bottom of page

My hellebores just seed around, I don't really bother to collect them, and I mainly just weed out the seedlings. Occasionally an interesting one will survive the three years needed to flowering size. My guess is that when open pollinated, both hellebores and hepaticas mainly self pollinate as I mainly get offspring that is fairly true to the mother plant. But every so often, interesting things happen which makes it all fun! I would like to do some selective crossing, if I only had the time!

Contribution from David Hoare 15 April 2009, 20:43top / bottom of page

Diane I enjoyed your Hellebores and your Hepatica gallery very well displayed. It must be realy good to have one of the best nurseries/ garden center ( Ashwoods) in the country right on your door step. We visted last year and were very impressed. My Hepatica's are in a trough and I have lots of seedling's self sown from last year's seeds. Would you prick them out now or leave them for while longer? Look forward to more diaries Best Wishes David.

Contribution from Ian McEnery 16 April 2009, 23:43top / bottom of page

Diane I agree with Anne what a lot of work with super pictures - than k you. Have you produced any notable ones from you own seed and have you carried out any deliberate crossing?

Contribution from Diane Clement 23 April 2009, 23:35top / bottom of page

Hello David and Ian and apologies for the delay in replying. The seven last Saturdays have been spent at shows which leaves a tight schedule for all other things! (let alone work?)

David, I greatly appreciate having Ashwood almost on my doorstep. I regard it as a treat to visit at any time of the year, there?s always something to see.

With regard to hepatica seedlings ? I wouldn?t prick out new seedlings in their first year. I?d be inclined to leave them at least until next year and unless they are getting crowded one more after that. You may find a few in flower next year (at 2 years old) but most will be 3 years old before they flower. I don?t think they will come to any harm. A week liquid feed in the autumn may be beneficial.

Thanks Ian for comments on the pictures. So far, I have never done any deliberate crossing. I would love to have the time, but at the moment, I let the bees do the work. I do take note of the seed parent and it is all a slow business as flowering usually takes 3 years, and flowers can develop further in subsequent years ? I don?t understand that process but they sometimes take a couple of flowering years to ?settle down?. I don?t think there are many bees around in February and March when they are in flower, and my findings confirm this as I think on the whole, the plants are self pollinating. H pyrenaica usually comes quite true and is the easiest and fastest to get to flowering size and maturity . It usually retains the marbled leaves and pale pink flowers usually come true, but I would like to have a go at selecting for the darker pinks. H nobilis ? dark blue forms usually come true and so do the whites. H japonica ? the white form with red anthers also breeds true. I have not yet raised a lot of plants from H japonica forma magna.

Here?s a couple of my seedlings that have not come out as expected. The first is a H pyrenaica with blue flowers that arose from a pink flowered parent

Contribution from Diane Clement 24 April 2009, 00:25top / bottom of page

and a H japonica which looks promising with lilac stripes. This plant has a similar sibling from the same pod, but they have so far been different in their two flowering years so are still settling down

Contribution from Lee Tan 05 March 2011, 23:40top / bottom of page

Hi Diane, I have read your threads and wondering if you have any extra named Japanese hepatica to spare for sale?

Lee Tan

Contribution from Diane Clement 09 March 2011, 16:22top / bottom of page

Hi Lee

Thanks for your interest. I may have spare plants later in the year so best if I contact you privately


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