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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Autumn 2001

Sex In The Garden
by John Cushnie

Nowhere is immune and the ornamental garden sees more than its share of the goings on. Many of the occupants cast off their clothing in the autumn and bare all to the elements. Rose leaves nothing to the imagination resulting in a thorny problem not to be resolved for many months. There are enough sex problems in the garden to tax an army of agony “ants”.

I’m not one to gossip but did you hear about Skimmia japonica? It simply refuses to perform without a male partner resulting in yet another year without any berries.

Its cousin Skimmia reevesiana is a bit funny, it has turned out to be hermaphrodite. Enough said, but it has male and female flowers on the same plant so it unashamedly bears berries and it isn’t even in a relationship! Gaultheria mucronata (she used to be called Pernettya mucronata), also needs a partner but is happy to share him with her friends.

You have heard of Holly and Ivy? Well, don’t you believe everything that you hear. As far as I can find out most holly prefer another holly for company, although J C van Tol is one that has plenty of time for ivy as it is also hermaphrodite.

No garden would be complete without its propagation and fertilisation and Violet, Heather and Daphne are all good at it but occasionally Jack Frost puts his foot down and cools their ardour.

I blame the birds and the bees.


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