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Graham Rice
Pennyslvania USA, and Nothamptonshire, UK
I'm a garden writer, plantsman and photographer.
Interests: Apart from plants and gardens? Wildlife, reading just about anything, music of all kinds from Stravinsky to punk, my music radio show (The BritMix), fishing, movies, ceramics and glass of the 1950s and 1960s, art...
Recent Activity
Thanks so much, Jean, I appreciate it. And if there's anything you'd like me to discuss here - just ask...
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Where to find Graham Rice's writing on plants and gardens online. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Transatlantic Gardener
And here's a little something on 'Sungold'. Not sure if it's still the case, but it once held the record for the tallest tomato plant grown in Britain - 19.8m/65ft - and also the record for the most tomatoes harvested from one plant - 1000. The plant took fifteen months to grow so big.
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My dad used to grow 'Moneymaker' too. I always thought it was called 'Moneymaker' because the skins were so tough they were never damaged on the journey from the farm to the shop. They were certainly a little chewy, and didn't taste of much. But hardly anyone grows 'Moneymaker' any more although one or two UK seed companies still sell it.
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Tomato taste testing results for 2014 from California and from Oxfordshire. Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Doing ebooks for different countries is a great idea. The one problem with ebooks about plants is that the color pictures are important but everyone has their monitors set on different settings. The result is that the pictures look slightly different on different monitors and screens.
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So, Paula, are you implying that it's a really bad idea to grow 'Nekkid Woman Frying Bacon' because it's not a very good variety? Or just remarking on the inadvisability of breakfast culinary nudity? It certainly looks extraordinary (the daylily, that is)... https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/9249817831/
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I see what you mean about Tom Burseen's irises, Carolyn. Some of their names are just, well, strange... Here's a selection: ‘And Kyler Too’, ‘Awful Purdy’, ‘Bad Bob’ Judy’ (yes, with the single quote in the middle), ‘Bingo Bango Bongo’, 'Cause For Pause', ‘Clearly Dearly Done’, ‘Coalignition’, ‘Cuz Ur Myon’, ‘Dewuc Whatic’ and then comes the very traditional ‘ Dorothy Parker’! You can see a huge range, and some are simply gorgeous, at http://tinyurl.com/BurseenIris
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Yes, Ian, that's fine. Thank you for asking. For those who don't know, The Sport is the twice-a-year journal of the Variegated Plants Group of the British Hardy Plant Society (http://www.hardy-plant.org.uk/variegated/index.php) and well worth joining for anyone with the slightest interest in variegated plants.
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Four plant books from Timber Press on Dahlias, Snowdrops, Salvias and Sedums. The verdict? Good but flawed. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Thanks, Martyn. When my American relatives first visited us in England, there was a certain amount of hilarity at the sight of a pack in the supermarket freezer labeled "Faggots". A faggot is "traditionally made from pig's heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring and sometimes bread crumbs" says Wikipedia. Sounds ghastly, doesn't it! Meanwhile, back in the world of plants, here's a couple more odd variety names from my ever-lengthening list. There's a rose called 'Tipsy Imperial Concubine', a well scented, lemony pink Tea rose imported from China in the 1980s, and there's a pale pink rhododendron with the baffling name of 'Woody's Friggin Riggin'!
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And here's a whole load of daylilies I just come across: 'Lavender Panties', 'Pink Panties', 'Pantie Raid', 'Panties in a Knot', 'Panties in the Wind', 'Don't Touch Me There', 'Long Legged Lap Dancer', 'Nude Yoga', 'We Dare to Bare'. Hmmm... All, apparently, introduced by Curt Hansen from Ohio...
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Yes, and there's also 'Brazen Child' and 'Brazen Daughter' but they don't have the same to them do they. There was also once a variety of Ranunculus ficaria that was named because it has especially small (yes, small) flowers. If only I could remember what the name was... Ranunculus ficaria is now Ficaria verna, by the way...
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Someone once told me that Burdung was the province in Tibet where the plant was found! In fact it turns out to be one of nurseryman Joe Sharman's little jokes. He also used to sell a plant called Cardamine pratensis 'Improperly Dressed' - named because it has no petals. That Paphiopedilum is great - another long one that I like is the daylily 'How Beautiful Heaven Must Be' with 28 characters, including spaces. Do the spaces count?
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Actually, it's 'Outhouse Delight' and it was raised by Tony Avent at Plant Delights nursery. He described it as "the ugliest hosta in the history of hostas" and it did indeed once grow by the outhouse. It has strange white, green-veined leaves and is generally noted as being a "collectors' plant"! 'Elvis Lives' comes from the same source, but is more widely appreciated for its rippled blue leaves and vase-like shape.
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I’ve been working on a piece for Amateur Gardening, Britain’s long established weekly magazine (Yes, Britain has two weekly gardeing magazines), about plants with names suited to special occasions. You know… ‘Golden Wedding’ rose, that sort of thing. There are... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
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‘Birchwood Parky’s Gold’, ‘Gold Regal’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Spilt Milk’ all have good fall color, Chad, although it can vary from year to year. These varieties have also been recommended for their autumn colour - but I've not grown them myself or seen them in autumn: ‘Alex Summers’ (a sport of ‘Gold Regal’), ‘Crusader’, ‘Gold Standard’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’.
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Choose varieties well and you can have hostas that develop lovely fall color to transform the autumn garden. Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
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Chrysanthemums as footstools or chrysanthemums in perennial borders? Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
They do, eventually. The leaves usually seem to develop pinkish tones then fall, leaving the fruits on the bare branches. I've sometimes seen a chipmunk up there, filling up, and they're very pretty when iced over but if a flock of grackles (like big starlings) come through they quickly vanish or the finches eat them but there are often still fruits present in the new year.
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Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus, is rarely used for cutting but its fiery autumn foliage look as good in a vase as it does in the garden. Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Transatlantic Gardener
Yes, I was just reading that too (my copy of The Garden has just arrived here in the US). Frankly, I'm not sure that we should worry too much about Impatiens balsamina which is hardly a top rank annual - almost no one grows it, these days, I can understand why, and few seed companies list it now. I'd be more worried about all the species which are now being used to develop new patio plants and replacements for the cvs of I. walleriana which are being laid low by downy mildew. There must be approaching a thousand Impatiens species and many of the showier ones are being investigated.
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Fair and balanced, that's us, fair and balanced. And being fair means saying "never plant Japanese knotweed" and being balanced means saying "not even the variegated form". OK?! But the fact is, TP, that the science shows that Himalayan balsam is not as bad as it's thought to be be. Just ask if you'd like the references to the scientific papers that set this out.
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I'm not surprised: even if you're not familiar with the birds the text is so interesting and the images so appealing - what's not to enjoy?
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Thanks, Jean, it would be interesting to see how far east it's spread.
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