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Latest post from MARKSVEGPLOT – a blog about food and gardening in England”

I have a famous plant in my garden. It is a Libertia. This particular specimen was one of those used in a display at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago. Jane won it along with two others, in a competition. We gave away two, but the third one lives with us still. If you want to read about the garden in which this plant featured, you can find the details HERE.

The beautiful, three-petalled, bright white flowers of this plant look almost like orchids:

They grow on thin stems about 3 feet tall, which shoot up from the midst of an unruly clump of spiky leaves:

This year the plant has at least 25 flower-stalks.

In the past it has only produced about 5 or 6 each year. I put this improved performance down to the maintenance I did on it last year – I pulled out all the old dead brown leaves. If you tug them sharply they detach right from the base. Previously I had pulled out a few of the leaves (mainly for aesthetic purposes), but this time I was thorough, and it seems to have completely re-invigorated the plant.

Indoors we have a genuine orchid – well, two actually, planted at opposite sides of an oval pot. These were given to Jane last year by our daughter Emma as a Mother’s Day present. At that time they were flowering, and they looked lovely. They had white flowers. When the flowers died (and the plants officially became mine as opposed to Jane’s!) I cut the stalks down to ground level and put the plants on a windowsill in a spare room. Every so often I watered them and misted the leaves with a fine spray. Now some more flower-stalks are growing, so I have moved the plants into a more prominent position, in our Living Room.

The orchids are the ones with the broad leaves. I’m not sure what the other plants are. They seem to have been intended just to contribute foliage. They certainly didn’t have any flowers last year. The orchid flower-stems are growing very rapidly. This is what they look like at present:

Those look to me like flower-buds, so hopefully we will soon have another fine display.

To read more articles like this, on Gardening and Gastronomy, please visit * *


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