Unexpected joys and miracles of the garden
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Unexpected joys and miracles of the garden

TO find a flower that exhibits pristine whiteness at this time of the year is an unexpected joy.

And when you take account of our (mainly) disappointing summer it speaks volumes for Japanese anemones.

OK so all varieties invade somewhat, but if you plant them in an old plastic bucket (which has had its bottom taken out and then sunk to its rim in the ground) they will appear in restricted numbers each year with a kind of disdainful nod of their beautiful heads.

These anemones grow to about three feet in height and remain unsullied and in bloom for many weeks.

I recommend the garden worthy white variety sold as Honorine Jobert and it can be sourced and bought now (in flower) if you would like to try their lofty charms.

Where flowers are in question, it is strange and interesting how tastes change and develop in one direction - if they do not remain forever static, that is.

One static I simply must remind readers of now is the miniature Tete-a-Tete daffodil once again about to go on sale at garden centres.

This variety is foolproof, having great poise and distinction, ideal for use in gravel, outdoors in general, or in pots on patio, balcony, or decking.

In recent years it has surpassed the expectations of the most demanding (given the cold and wetness of our recent winters) both indoors and out.

They are utterly rewarding. For best effect, plant these in groups of seven, nine and eleven.

Thirteen will look wonderful but whatever the number they bulk up year after year. Enrich the planting holes with the likes of fish, blood and bone meal or any kind of granular preparation.

The arrival of cyclamen hederifolium from late August is one of the recurring miracles of my gardening year.

Like nasal hairs, they appear suddenly.

One day there is nothing to be seen beneath the spreading branches of maples and azaleas, the next the ground is dotted with these tiny replicas of the potted cyclamen.

There is no doubt whatsoever that I will be outlived by these, and long after my genes have disappeared the cyclamen will still be producing seedlings by the hundred.

What a return I get each September from these flattened, wizen, and wrinkled corms.

They look so featureless when sold as dry corms that many find difficulty in determining which way is up and which goes down.

Most of the flowers are pink but dotted here and there are some with a pure white colouring, plants so fragile and precious looking that they arouse my concern for their eventual well-being.