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Welcome Back

  • Apr 24 2016
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It's been a while since we posted anything here. This has been for several reasons mostly because we have moved location. Only just down the road but nonetheless a big wrench and a huge draw on our spare time for the past year and bit.

Despite the move away from Scampton, after 20 odd years of living there we are not yet ready to change our name and will continue with the old name for the foreseeable future. Two things the move has brought us are challenges; Firstly, we no longer have space for 3 greenhouses, so 2 have gone and one is currently stored whilst we work out where we can put it without taking up too much of our smaller garden. Secondly we have a taken on a neglected garden, with overgrown shrubs and borders and we have spent much of our time renovating and removing/replacing these plants as well as restoring a patchy lawn.

As a consequence we have had little time to test seeds other than the germination tests we always conduct, but growing to maturity without a heated greenhouse will not be possible for many species for a time. We are, however, experimenting with tropicals that can be grown outdoors in the UK in the warmer weather and will post regular updates here as we see progress. Our aim is to turn our garden into something a bit more exotic and to this end we have plans to use Hardy exotics alongside tender ones, to create something a bit different. Succulents wont be forgotten either and we currently have 2 Opuntias and a large Agave outside under rain shelter which have passed the winter unscathed.

We have added a new guide to our care sheet page, this one covering the tropicals we are growing from seed and how to consider gardening with borderline species in a temperate garden - we hope you will find it useful - the link to is here.

More Aroids

  • Feb 11 2014
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We are now stocking 7 more Aroids, all Arisaema, to go along with the Arisaema speciosum we stocked earlier this year. These are fascinating plants known as Cobra Lily, Dragon Arum, Whip Cord Lily or Jack-in-the-Pulpit. They all have brooding look about them, with flowers in shades of purple and the curious way the spathe bends at the tip, looking like a fanciful striking cobra. They are gernerally hardy plants, with the leaves dying back each season to an underground rhizome. They require a mulch in the manner of Gunnera or Rhubarb to provide frost protection for the buried rhizomes. Alternatively they may be grown in pots, either singly or in groups, and lifted each year once the foliage has gone (to be stored cool and dry).

The rhizomes of these species command prices for a single example many times what you will pay here for a pack of seeds. We are unsure how long these will be available for, suffice to say the collector has already run out of the first species (Arisaema speciosum), so what we have right now, is all we will have for this season.

Pot of ten seedlings of Arisaema consanguinem - showing how they can be pot grown, albeit in a big pot.

Along with the seeds, we have created a very comprehensive care sheet for the species, probably our most detailed one to date. It is in text format, so is completely compatible with both computers and mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets. The link to the intstructions is here.

Five Arisaema speciosum in a terracotta pot of around 40 cm diameter.

New Seeds Arriving Soon

  • Jan 11 2014
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Whilst we always have a flow of new seeds throughout the year - either to replace sold stock or in some cases old stock that needs replacing, it is always exciting to be able to list new species that we either have never listed before or have returned to stock after a long absence.

Next week keep an eye out for Adenia subsessilifolia, a succulent member of the Passion fruit family, grown for the shape of its swollen base (a caudex). Like most members of this genus, it retains the climbing nature of the stems, whilst growing from a narrow caudex. In this species, the stems remain even when not in leaf and are green and succulent. In this respect it grows rather like a Ceropegia.

Cultivated specimen in the Palmengarten, Frankfurt am Main.

Also due in are new (to us) Cacti species including Echinocactus texensis, Opuntia procumbens and Opuntia tomentosa. Each of these is well worth growing as reliably flowering species. Echinocactus texensis may be more familiar to many as Homalocephala texensis, a small barrel cactus with pink flowers carried whilst still quite young. Very frost hardy provided the roots are dry taking temperatures down to 18 Deg C.

Shown flowering whilst still quite small, a characteristic of this Echinocactus.

The two prickly pears are quite large species, but also very dependable in terms of producing flowers provided they have had a cool winter rest.

Opunita tomentosa, in the Jardin Exotique, Monaco.

Look out for these species and others we are trying to acquire over the next few weeks.

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