Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Arisaema murrayi

Arisaema is a large genus containing many superb plants. Some are widely grown whilst others are very rare in cultivation and infrequently seen. For years, Arisaema murrayi most definitely fell into the latter category. It is a stunningly beautiful plant, and yet frustratingly, did not appear to be in cultivation and was impossible to source.

Thankfully the situation is slowly changing and now Arisaema murrayi can look forward to a bright future among Arisaema growers and more conventional gardeners alike. My small mail order nursery was the first UK source for material of this species, as far as I'm aware. I imagine that ultimately, this species will find its way into tissue culture or large scale commercial cultivation of some sort. Virtually all (if not all) of the plants in cultivation in the West today originate thanks to wild  seed collections made by Pascal Bruggeman. 

Greens, browns, reds and numerous shades of maroon are common colours within the Arisaema genus. Arisaema murrayi is remarkable in having a fuchsia pink band between the white spathe limb and the green spathe tube. This bright splash of colour combined with the elegant shape of the spathe tube and the thin spadix make a superb display. 

Arisaema murrayi grows in the Western Ghats - a long mountain range running along the Western side of the Indian peninsular. The whole region is renowned for its plant life and high biodiversity, along with it's intense monsoon rains! It is the start of these rains that stirs Arisaema murrayi out of its dormancy and into rapid growth. Flowering occurs in June. 

Sadly I failed to pollinate my two flowering sized plants last year, something I am very keen to achieve this year. Inflorescence's are bisexual, and originating from wild seed collections, they should carry the full range of genetic variation. The pink banding is actually quite a variable characteristic, being much more intense in some specimens than in others and pure white spathes are not unheard of, reminding me of the variation seen between different forms of Arisaema candidissimum. 

This year I have been fortunate enough to acquire some very small tubers of Arisaema murrayi var. sonubeniae - a form with a lilac spathe limb instead of the white of the normal form and a scarlet band between the limb and green spathe tube. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tim Andrews Solo / Solar Garden Exhibition

2014 is proving to be quite a year. From the word go, things have been non-stop. This has been a mixed blessing, as being busy is always a good thing, but sometimes it is kind of nice to stop and catch your breath for a while. Hence why I am writing this post - reflecting on a garden that I've been involved with for around 3 years.

This is the garden of Tim Andews - a world renowned ceramicist and potter, who just happens to live right in the centre of Woodbury. The garden is a combined effort between myself and Tim. For the past 2 summers, Tim has held his 'Solo / Solar' exhibition of garden sculpture in his garden, running alongside a solo cermaic exhibition in his studio. The exhibition features numerous renowned artists.

The first exhibition back in 2013 was a great success. This year's show also went down well and both the garden and the exhibits have been well received. In 2015, the garden will be open as part of the NGS Open Garden Scheme, as well as the Solo / Solar exhibition.

The garden is the culmination of around 3 years hard work. Tim originally asked for assistance and input in designing and building a series of railway sleeper edged ponds, as well as general planting and maintenance. The result is a team effort, and this year the planting is really starting to fill out nicely.

All the photos shown here were taken at the beginning of the show, back at the start of June. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I have enjoyed helping put the garden together!

The third Solo / Solar exhibition will be held late May / early June 2015. See you there!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Social Media - Aroids on Pinterest

Just a quick heads up to say that I have just signed up to Pinterest. For anyone not familiar with the site, it's a kind of virtual photo noticeboard which allows the user to 'pin' images to their personal page.

I thought it might be a nice way to spread the word about the Arisaema and other aroids that are growing here. I have today added over 35 photos to the site, and have just about had enough of messing around with photos for one day! Over the years I have amassed a large collection of photos, and it seems a shame to keep them hidden on my hard drive.

I plan to upload plenty more images over the coming weeks, and the various noticeboards will eventually show many more photos than can sensibly be listed on my main website. Please do take a look, and if you already happen to be signed up to Pinterest and have an interest in these plants, please follow my postings there.

Click here to visit mu Pinterest page

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Arisaema engleri

Just before Christmas, I bought a new camera - a swanky Canon 600D. For too long I had been frustrated by the limitations of various point and shoot cameras I'd tried in the past. Whilst being fine for general use, they just won't capable of taking the kind of photos I had been wanting.

The new 600D has been a wonderful improvement, and whilst I am still learning how best to take photos with it, I am enjoying the results achieved so far. I'm sure that this newly resurrected blog will feature many of my new photographic efforts!

Now that Arisaema season is well underway here (the first species having been in flower now for several weeks or more), I spent an enjoyable half an hour unwinding in the garden with the new camera photographing Arisaema engleri in the warm evening light.

Arisaema engleri is a lovely species from China , first described back in 1910. My plants have a sinister appearance with a deep  maroon spathe with creamy white vertical stripes. The spadix does not protrude from the spathe mouth, and remains hidden inside, terminating in a pale grey, almost white tip. All my specimens have produced male flowers, so no chance of seeds this year. Here's hoping that they have a good season's growth and are able to bulk up for the next.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Germination (take two)

This blog originally germinated back in 2010. 

Like a seed bursting into life, it's fragile shoot slowly developed with each post. Then came neglect from the gardener. The posts faded away, and the shoot withered and died. Gardeners often have good intentions, but good intentions are nothing without action. And so it proved in this case. 

The time has come to plant another seed. Not so much a new blog, but a second attempt at growing something interesting on these same pages. There will be some changes to the focus of the posts, and also in time some visual changes to the physical page too. 

Hopefully the shoot will grow again, stronger and healthier than before. My adventures with plants, gardens and the continuing developments with my mail order Aroid nursery will all be recorded here. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New website is live!

The will to blog has been strong, but time has not been so easy to come by. But just as the garden is finally springing into life with the gradual onset of spring, so will the blog fire into life again this season. I hope!
Part of the reason for my slackness on the computer keyboard is this:
I'm pleased to announce that my brand new website is now live!

It has taken a long time to put the content together, sort photos and generally get ready, but the wait has been worth it. It is now possible to purchase my aroid tubers in one easy online transaction rather than pinging emails back and forth. Much better for all concerned! There is a growing range of Arisaema for sale, along with various Amorphophallus tubers available in season.

Please do take a look at the website. If anyone wants to add any feedback on the design etc then it would be gratefully received - either positive or negative! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post.

In the meantime, I leave you with the shot of the dark coloured form of Arisaeam concinnum. Just so you have something to look at! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taccarum weddellianum

I've just been sorting through a couple of boxes of assorted aroid tubers - I tend to store many of them completely dry and out of their pots whilst dormant. There is less risk of rotting that way and it saves a load of space!

It was nice to see that one or two are showing signs of life, hopefully signalling a promising start to the coming growing season. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing what this large Taccarum weddellianum tuber produces. It is flowering sized, and at 11cm in diameter and weighing 280g I'm hoping for a decent display!

In common with other Taccarum species, Taccarum weddellianum is a pretty crazy plant. Both the leaf and inflorescence should be spectacular, and I'll make sure I update this blog with some shots, along with other notable aroid flowers as and when they come along.

I can't wait!
Taccarum weddellianum tuber. Just starting into life!