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Display Gardens: A Wet Autumn Wednesday at Wisley

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by Jon Evans, 14 October 2012, 21:28. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 14 October 2012, 21:28top / bottom of page

Just before the end of September, on the Wednesday after the deluge, I had an assignation at Wisley to hand over the artistic entries for the Autumn South Show. After dealing with one or two errands, I decided to take a quick walk down to the Alpine House and back. I didn't have my usual camera, only the compact which lives in my pocket. I nearly didn't go - it was still damp and overcast, and had rained heavily for about five days; I figured the garden wouldn't be at its best. In the end, I was very glad I did.

Caryopteris x. clandonensis Longwood Blue

When I mounted the steps up through the rock garden, and crossed the terrace to reach the paved area around the Alpine House, I came across this blue shrub I didn't recognise / don't grow. A lovely colour at this time of year, and catching the light even though the sun wasn't out.

Caryopteris x. clandonensis Longwood Blue
Origanum Barbara Tingey

Since it wasn't *actually* raining, I thought I would take a quick tour of the crevice garden. This familiar origanum looked very effective tumbling down the steep face at the back of the rocks.

Origanum Barbara Tingey
Cyclamen intaminatum

I wasn't expecting to find Cyclamen intaminatum planted out in pockets in amongst the crevices; it looked perfectly at home there.

Cyclamen intaminatum
Erigeron aureus Canary Bird

Another late bloom on the crevice garden.

Erigeron aureus Canary Bird
Daphne jasminea

Under the lee of the alpine house, Daphne jasminea was carrying a fairly full flush of late summer flowers. Although the main blooming is in spring, it often produces some flowers on and off through the summer.

Daphne jasminea
Brunsvigia bosmaniae

When I turned the corner into the alpine house I was stopped in my tracks. Wow! I have grown a few brunsvigias from seeds, or seedlings from others, for a few years now, but they get bigger very slowly, and have never flowered. I had almost got to the point of wondering why I was growing them. Well, this is why you grow them. If you can get them big enough to flower, these plants are fabulous. This is Brunsvigia bosmaniae, probably the best known of the genus, because when it flowers in the wild in the Western Cape, these footballs of pink and white can dominate the landscape. It is surprisingly difficult to obtain seed of, and hence one that I don't grow.

Brunsvigia bosmaniae
Brunsvigia striata "Minor" from Vanrhynsberg

The smaller plant, in deeper pink, was labelled B. striata "Minor" (Vanrhynsberg). What a fantastic colour. My plants of B. striata have never flowered.

Brunsvigia striata
Brunsvigia gregaria Jeffreys Bay

A third brunsvigia species (another one I do grow, but haven't flowered) was just coming out.

Brunsvigia gregaria Jeffreys Bay
Eriogonum allenii "Little Rascal"

Next to the brunsvigias was this attractive eriogonum. It is hard to understand why it is called "Little Rascal" when beside any of the eriogonums I am familiar with (dwarf rock garden species) this is huge. But it looked good as a specimen in the alpine house.

Eriogonum allenii
Cyclamen graecum

Something more familiar, and more what I was expecting to find in the house at this time of year.

Cyclamen graecum
Brunsvigia orientalis

Past the eriogonum, there was another brunsvigia. This one is quite different, and the flowers are zygomorphic, which probably means it is pollinated by birds.

Brunsvigia orientalis

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