Narcissus ‘Corby Candle’ – Division 2

 I once read an article about the threats posed by bright, modern daffodils encroaching on the traditional more subdued flowers of Ullswater, immortalised in William Wordsworth’s poem. ‘Corby Candle’ is too bright for the Cumbrian lake. A hybrid from the Northamptonshire enthusiast, John Gibson in 2003, this is a vibrant highlight in the Spring border. John is very active in the Daffodil Society. Indeed, should you require a copy of the latest RHS Daffodil, Snowdrop & Tulip yearbook,  John is the port of call. One of my favourite modern narcissus.

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Gloriosa ‘Tomas De Bruyne’

Gloriosa ‘Tomas De Bruyne’ has a great name for a plant. Flemish, or northern France. A touch of class. And judging by the image taken on the 26th August it looks sensational. Of course it was an impulse buy, an addition to a more considered order. And I gave it the prime spot in a huge terracotta pot on a south facing wall. When it arrived it was an untidy cigar shape and size, wrapped up in tasteful brown paper. But this, dear reader, was the solitary bloom. I’d been fascinated by the thin leaf that eventually developed a wire-like tentacle to grasp the trellis. And, by gosh, it gets the full treatment in the publicity campaign. It was named after an international floral designer by its Dutch breeder, Van Ruiten. Gloriosa is a form of Colchicaceae, a tender South African lily and I think that’s the problem with my cultivation. Its natural home is a frost free greenhouse and, despite the warmest outdoor position I can offer, it seems not to have been hot enough. And it arrived a little late to get started properly. It has been stored and insulated for the winter and in the new year I’ll get it started early because that first and only bloom was truly breathtaking. A challenge.

Lilium ‘Lady Alice’ and the enemy

Our garden has been changed over the period of lockdown through Covid 19. Obviously I have had more time for the garden. Shrubs and indeed trees have been cut down to allow in even more light into what was a dark part of the garden. The spur was the removal by our neighbours of a row of towering leylandiis that sapped nutrients from the soil and light from the skies. So new plants can be introduced and it’s been a renaissance and an opportunity. Lilies are spectacular plants and I’m always discovering new varieties. ‘Lady Alice’ is new to me, a bulb grown from seed. But notice the red lily beetle. These pests devastate lilies and indeed fritillarias. If you track them down they drop to the soil. Still, it is a satisfying experience to crunch them between fingernails. However I confess I’ve resorted to insecticides and they work. A nice variety though without the strong perfume that is such a feature of lilies.