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Mike's Blog - Day 219

These West Himalayan/Kashmir birch (Betula utilis var jacquemontii) look so cold and stark compared to the warm golden colours of Sweet Birch the other day and the golden blog yesterday.

Grown for their brilliant white bark they can be stunning, especially if given a wash now and then to remove green algae. They looked amazing when the Lumiere team lit them up but no one seems to have any pictures!

I helped a student yesterday with a dissertation they are working on for their diploma at Kew, I cheekily asked if he would send a few pictures for us, so a treat today, a “trip” to Kew - thank you Michael!

Michael has sent a couple of good views, the Pagoda with two large cedar trees in front, and I’m sure you’ll recognise the huge leaved plant in the foreground of the Palm house picture.

Then a couple of real rare treats, a species of crocus I’ve not met, Crocus tournfortii. It’s from Southern Greece/Northern Crete so probably a choice plant for a cold frame or alpine house, but a lovely thing. It has very decorative stigmas. It reminds me of the Saffron crocus - its stigmas are harvested and used for colouring and flavouring food. It’s reputed to be the most expensive spice in the world, more expensive by weight that gold…

Next a snowdrop I have never met either, although I think these are for the connoisseur as there are 100s of species and varieties and to the un-trained (my) eye look very similar. Galanthus peshmenii from Greece. It too is needing the protection from the wet of a cold frame or alpine house.

These plants are flowering perfectly on time. Both are autumn flowering species and it's natural that they flower at this time of year.

I think if I worked at Kew I could probably keep the blog going easily, but I am running out now but going to try and make it until the end of the month…