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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal

Last Post 58 days 22 hours ago

Jimi Blake's 'Plant Person Course'

15 May 2011 16:06:24


Yesterday I was at Jimi Blake's 'Plant Person Course'. I would just like to say again what an absolutely brilliant course it is. It is for the self-taught, like me, and the RHS qualified, like many others on the course. It is just brilliant and I am not looking forward to next year when I can't go there once a month any more :(

Yesterday we spent the morning at Huntingbrook. The aralias are leafing up and beginning to look great. Rodgersia podophylla is looking fab with swathes of Primula 'Miller's Crimson' but the pièce de résistance was Jimi's placing of Arisaema nepenthoides with Euphorbia 'Fern Cottage'! Our Deborah Begley was mentioned as 'the person' for buying arisaemas from.

In the afternoon we went to Kilmacurragh - the other Botanic Garden - and listened to a packed talk by Seamus O'Brien.

I am not interested in meadows but, before long, I was enthralled by tales of using the semi-parasitic yellow rattle to weaken the grass, in preparation for a more diverse culture. He talked about so much - from the Cromwellian origins of the house to the Robinsonian style of planting and it was all interesting.

I loved the Broadwalk, built in the 1800's to be wide enough for two ladies, in full dress, to walk side by side. Yesterday it was carpeted by rhodo blossom. I marvelled at the single Cryptomeria tree that is as wide as a forest and the Athrotaxus that lives much longer than redwoods. We saw enormous lime trees in rows, clipped into neat Tillia hedging for 150 years but then allowed to do their own thing. I even saw Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, growing outdoors and some Primulas which germinated after 70-80 years when the earth was churned and their seed awakened. And I can't even remember the half of what I was told.

Anyway, it was a great day and I have uploaded two albums of photos. Check out the amazing Rhododendrom vaseyi but shooting right up to the top of my 'wish list' is Podophyllum pleianthum!

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Jacinta D Jacinta D 15 May 2011 16:22:25

Was looking at your photos earlier, Rachel. I must say they are really impressive. Sounds like you are going to have to find an even more interesting course to keep your sharp mind stimulated for longer.

Myrtle Myrtle 15 May 2011 17:31:48

Can just imagine 2 ladies in beautiful flowing dresses walking along there! Liked all your photos but I agree no.19 & 20 in Huntingbrook are just fab. I think the bark with the sun light shining through is just the final wow!

TinaJ TinaJ 15 May 2011 18:11:35

photos are divine,especially the one of primula that lay dormant

fran m fran m 15 May 2011 18:34:48

Rachel, thanks for all the photos. It is great to see Jimi's garden change month to month. We can but live and hope.

You have me thinking about that course, but I think I need a little more self education before I would be ready.

Great photos.

andyf7 andyf7 15 May 2011 18:55:02

that course sounds very good, fair play to you as self education in any aspect of life is the driving force to achieve anything noteworthy. i love the fern walk as it screams natural nature and the restored pond. onwards and upwards.

ladygardener ladygardener 15 May 2011 20:00:57

The two things I googled Rachel from the Huntingbrook photo's before I read your journal were the Polophyllum and the Rhododondron vaseyi.  I could definately find a spot for both.  The google search for the Rhododendron Vaseyi gave a different plant though with a shell pink flower.  Could there be a different spelling?  Thanks for the photos educational and interesting as always.

Cloncaw Cloncaw 15 May 2011 23:38:47

Beautiful photos of both gardens the course sounds very interesting it's great when it suits all levels of experience and knowledge through good presenters or tutors.

Lìga Lìga 16 May 2011 07:07:56

Thanks Rachel for so nice journal and photos,You made wish to see Kilmacurragh and go back to Jim's garden again.I didn't know that he have orchids there too.And dipelta look gorgeous.Thanks for sharing!!!

Rachel Rachel 16 May 2011 22:23:43

Jacinta, you are showering me with compliments. I am feeling embarrassed now.

I can picture them too, Myrtle. But I bet those ladies didn't do any gardening!

Thanks, Tina. Seamus O'Brien was full of great stories.

Fran, you know how I fee about the course. I recommend it highly. 

Thanks, Andy. They get away with tree ferns outdoors there. Lucky them!

Anne, I see what you mean. On page 68 of January's Gardens Illustrated, there is a recent Himalayan introduction listed - R. keysii. It really looks like the plant I saw in Kilmacurragh. I am trying to clarify with Jimi. Thanks for that.

It is a great course. I wouldn't say it's for the amateur, Geraldine but it doesn't require qualifications just keen people.

Liga, the native orchids in the meadows in Kilmacurragh will be flowering in about a month. I plan on a return visit to see them.

Lìga Lìga 16 May 2011 22:30:30

Hope Liam will be at home that weekend:))

Rachel Rachel 17 May 2011 10:16:23

I hope so too, Liga.

Rachel Rachel 17 May 2011 10:18:21

I have amended the Rhododendron label in my album from Rhododendron vaseyi to Rhododendron keysii (?) But hoping for final clarification.

HeadGardener HeadGardener 17 May 2011 11:39:21

Rachel glad your having such a great time, are you going to Bob Brown on Sunday at Jimi's? will try check out the photos now.. internet speed permitting

Rachel Rachel 17 May 2011 14:02:54

It's been cancelled, Bill. No Bob Brown for me. I should have given you a shopping list when you saw him :)

HeadGardener HeadGardener 17 May 2011 14:07:03

awww jesus Rachel thats dissappointing, why was it cancelled? is there anything else cancelled as I was considering doing the course with Chris beardshaw.

Rachel Rachel 17 May 2011 14:08:41

Chris Beardshaw is going ahead but that doesn't impact eh Plants Person course.

HeadGardener HeadGardener 17 May 2011 14:15:55

Thanks Rache;

HeadGardener HeadGardener 17 May 2011 14:16:05

Thanks Rachel


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