It’s always good going to see the parents, granted that I do end up falling asleep most visits because I’m usually so tired from gardening and work. The latest visit saw us come away with a good plant haul. Over-stock from the parents’ garden is what ours is based on. We tend to leave the back seats of the car down as we’ve ferried plants more times than we have rear passengers.
The latest visit was to collect a range of plants, most notably a tropical, ornamental ginger lily, Hedychium Gardnerianum also known as Kahili Ginger. This is a monster plant with thick stems, leathery, succulent leaves and a flower so exotic and fragrant it’s impossible to not obsessively want one. It’s a good job that it grows vigorously as the parents’ one was in a pot, but it had grown so large that it had to be carved up and we’ve ended up with a piece of the rhizome; not only that but we have two seedlings from this plant too that are now sat on the kitchen window sill.
A piece of Kahili Ginger (Hedychium Gardnerianum)
Previously sheltering in the greenhouse to avoid the worst of the cold spring we’ve had, it is now outside and part of the patio pot collection. This ginger is the hardiest and it can actually go in the ground in warmer parts of the UK as long as the soil is free draining and doesn’t get too cold and wet for too long in winter. With the new corner border we are creating this year, I’m hoping that the ginger lily (at least its offshoots) will end up in that border. It grows so vigorously that I might come to regret planting it out if it thrives.
Continuing on the theme of plants that are border-line OK for the UK, the next set of plants are dark-leaved phormiums and Cupressus Sempervirens (the Italian Cypress). The phormium is a very structural plant and one will be planted in the new (to be made) corner border as a counterpart to the one opposite on Judas Rise. The Cypress are also very architectural and a pair will be going in the new front border (along with a pair of phormiums) and the other two will be dotted in the back. Cupressus Sempervirens need milder winters, kind of like the ones we have been having. A long, cold (below zero) period can kill them. I am hoping that by planting them in the front and on the top of the borders in the back, their roots will not rot in the winter wet.
Divisions and catalogue “freebies”
The Cupressus were from an online mail-order firm and were heavily discounted as overstock and the phormium plants are offsets from a larger potted plant that belongs to the parents and which I helped divide last year.
Finally, we have yet more edibles to add to Fruit Avenue, this time in the form of red and black currant bushes. While at the parents I was asked to head inside the fruit cage and help myself to the numerous runners the original, enterprising currant bushes had produced and I eventually came away with nine. I don’t know which are red currants and which are black currants, we’ll have to wait a couple of years for them to fruit. The nine cuttings have been planted along the long length of Fruit Avenue. They had to be pruned hard to just a few shoots as the roots on them were minimal (still being fed by the parent shrub through the runner) but after a couple of days, an “is it dead?” check revealed that no cuttings had wilted so it does look as though we will end up with nine currant bushes, plus their own runners.
Spot the young currant bushes (and the weeds)
It’s not all “take, take, take” though, we occasionally supply the compost, soil and manure as we continually have bulk bags of them on the drive. We’re also beginning to have divisions of our own to pass on. This year, I split each of the three Dicentra (I know their name has changed) into four plus one. Three went back in their original positions, six ended up in the borders and four are potted up. I’m hoping they will successfully establish this year and end up in a good home the next. There may be spare iris and hostas too.
I’m hoping at least two out of four will survive?
This haul of almost 20 plants from the parents took two trips. It’s a good job they only live just around the corner, isn’t it?