Members’ gardens, March 2021

Look who has been visiting in Sharon’s garden in Shooters Hill? She says she is so pleased she left part of her garden for the wildlife, and this is her reward! He’s been hibernating in a leaf pile and came out to enjoy the sunshine today. He has been scrubbing around in Sharon’s garden and then wandering through the beech hedge into her neighbours. Oh the advantages of a Wildlife corridor, we should all make one!

Shown below is Angela’s beautiful Clivia in full bloom. Angela says this one is a division from her main plant, and is one of her favourite indoor plants as it needs so little care and attention.

What’s in a name?

Two years ago my daughter bought me a houseplant which she had seen in a shop, but which she had not got a name for. It also didn’t look like anything I had seen before. Despite its rather delicate appearance, through the heat of summer 2020 it did extremely well in a south facing room, even much better than I had expected, but I was still no closer to identifying it.

Then, recently, while trawling through some photos of houseplants, I came across one of my plant!  It is called Asparagus falcatus. Described thus: ‘Often known by the name, Sicklethorn, Asparagus falcatus is a variety of asparagus fern. It is a robust creeper, which is covered with thorns. The roots of this plant form swollen tubers that resemble sweet potatoes. This South African plant climbs rapidly by means of the sharp spines on its stems and is often used in that country as an impenetrable barrier.

Having finally identified the plant, the name now puzzled me. It looks nothing like asparagus and I wondered how it had acquired the designation. 

And now, in March, I find a shoot has come up from the compost. It is brown and quite thin and whippy, with what look like small thorns the length of the stem, but which are not in fact spiky at all. What’s more, the tip looks very much like asparagus!

So there I have it: Asparagus falcatus is named for this tender stem which looks like an asparagus spear and which has ‘thorns’ along its length – ‘falcatus’ means sickle shaped or hooked.

Vija

Members’ gardens, November 2020

This is Harry & Val’s Eucharis amazonica, which is flowering for them for the fourth time this year!

Here is Jean’s rose “Compassion”, still blooming away in November:

Penny has sent in a picture of her Cobea plant, which she says is sited in a cold part of her garden but still insisting on flowering in November. It is beautiful, and usually grows as an annual in this country, so it must love her!

Cobea scandens

Carolyn’s Salvia “Hotlips” is providing late colour and cheer in her garden, having been flowering all summer long.

Salvia Hotlips

Viv has sent in her star performers, Schizostylus coccinea in two colours. Or Hesperantha as I suppose we should call them. Also known as Kaffir Lily or River Lily.