Sunday, 12 September 2021

"Charmay Baccarole" - Angel Pelargonium and visit to Fibrex Nurseries

 


I have had this in my collection for several years now.   As many of you know, I m not a great fan of Angel Pelargoniums (or Regals), but I do like this one, so it has a place in the greenhouse.     The flowers are quite large and I love the frilled look of the petals.   I don't know a much about this Angel, except it was raised by Ken Attfield of Australia.   

Many of you will know that the National Collection of Pelargoniums has been held at Fibrex Nurseries, near Stratford upon Avon for 34 years.   Sadly a decision was made to give up the collection, manly due to the health, of the family who own and run the nursery, and the fact that the collection house, along with others on the nursery,  is very old and becoming dangerous.   The collection has been given to the R.H.S. and has been distributed among the five RHS Gardens.   Having handed over the collection at the end of last year, Fibrex kept it going on the nursery for this year for members' of the public to see it in its entirety for one more year.  

Fibrex very kindly opened the nursery at the end of August specially for members of The Pelargonium and Geranium Society to see the collection one last time.  We were able to purchase sales plants in the sales house. After we had tea and cake we were able to buy many of the plants that had been in the  Collection House.   This was a great opportunity to purchase plants that had not been offered for sale previously.   We all had a grand day and I am sure I was not the only member to go home with far too many plants.   As well as being able to purchase plants, it was lovely to meet and chat  with so many of our members.  















 


Thursday, 26 August 2021

"Downlands" - Dwarf zonal pelargonium

 


This stunning flower stopped me in my tracks one morning recently when I enterered the greenhouse.  It is much paler than I expected but so beautiful.  Palest pink flowers, which darken as the flower ages.  Light green leaves with no zone.  "Downlands" was new for me this year, from Allwoods and was raised by Jack Cox, grandfather of the present owner of Allwoods.    I have now cut it back in the hope it will be a larger plant next year.  Naturally, I am rooting the cuttings and hope to get more.  

August has been busy, with the Village Gardening  Club Flower Show to help organise - After ten years as Show Secretary I don't have quite so much to do now, but I am pretty much busy for the day before the show taking entries and also busy on the day. 



It was a good show with entries down a bit, but the standard was as high as usual.   We were going to open to the Village last year, but Covid put a stop to that (no show, obviously) and this year we thought it best to stick to what we know and not open our doors to the village.  Hopefully, next year, we can.

I'm off to Fibrex Nurseries this weekend.  The National Collection they have held for the last 34 years has been broken up and distributed between all the RHS Gardens. This weekend will be the final opportunity to see the collection all in one place.   It was a hard decision for Fibrex to make, but the owners are not getting any younger, and the glasshouses are becoming dangerous and very expensive to repair or replace.  So, although we are very sad at the Collection going, the nursery will still be there, and we can still buy our favourite plants.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

"Stenbury" Miniature tri-coloured leaf zonal

 


The miniature tri-coloured zonal "Stenbury" was raised by the late Brian West and introduced through Denmead Nursery.  The leaves are tri-coloured and unusual in that they are not bright, but 'dusky. The flowers are double reddish-pink.   I haven't gown "Stenbury" for several years and I was lucky to get a plant when I visited Fibrex earlier this year.

Well, it's been a while since I was on this Blog.  Nineteen months in fact.  A lot has happened in that time and everything in the world has changed completely.   Covid-19 has taken its toll on everyone, and it still is.  Here in the UK, we are due to have an easing of lockdown on Monday, but numbers are rising again, so it is possible we will be back in another lockdown.   Brian and I have both had our two 'jabs', but we will still be cautious when we are out and about.    

Since I last wrote I have retired as Membership Secretary of The Pelargonium & Geranium Society, although I am still managing the Direct Debit payments.    I am still on the committee, and we have had several meetings via Zoom.   We seem to have achieved far more than we would have with our usual three meetings and AGM.  I would be happy to continue with Zoom. It saves us a lot of money in room hire, not to mention the time each of us individually takes to drive to the meetings.  Sadly we had to cancel our two National shows, last year and this, because of the restrictions.  We did hold two Virtual Shows online, which were a great success.   You can see this year's show here.

I hope to be back again soon.



Saturday, 11 January 2020

Dwarf Zonal Pelargonium "Diane Louise"



Raised by the late well known Brian West, Diane Louise was introduced in the UK by Denmead Nurseries.  I cannot find which year.  This is across between Holly West, a zonal,  and Golden Glitter, a stellar.   When I met Brian West in 2005 he told me that he named this for a little girl who lived locally to him and who had died in a road accident.   Brian very kindly gave me another zonal that he said was from the same seed as Diane Louise.   The flowers are double and deep pink with a paler reverse.  I have not given it an official name, but call it Diane Louise Pink.

Not a lot going on in the greenhouse just now.   I am hoping to sow some seed shortly and also take some cuttings.    Due to the continuous rain we had in December I have had to battle botrytis in one of the greenhouses.  Oddly the other greenhouse seems to be more or less clear of it.   It has also been extraordinarily mild this winter, and I have not yet had to use the heaters.  A couple of nights when the temperature dipped to freezing I spread fleece over the plants, which keeps them warm.




Thursday, 12 December 2019

Zonal Pelargonium "Sammi Brougham"


Sammi Brougham

This is another superb pelargonium raised by the late BrianWest.   "Sammi Brougham" is a silver bi-coloured leaf single pelargonium with red and white speckled and splashed petals.  It is across between "Chelsea Star" and "Quest" and was released through Fibrex Nurseries.    Unfortunately, I do not have a date for when it was released.




David Taylor trained "Sammi Brougham" into a Standard which won Best in Show when he entered it in the 2018 Pelargonium & Geranium Society National Pelargonium Show at Fibrex Nurseries



The Greenhouses have now been bubble-wrapped, apart from the very top, which I will leave for a few weeks to see if the weather turns very cold.  This usually happens after Christmas here in the UK, so I like to leave as much light through into the greenhouse for as long as possible.    We have had a couple of light frosts, and I just covered the plants over with fleece for the night.   

The cuttings are OK so far, but I find they usually are until we get the cold weather.   I have lost two or three to botrytis.   Most of the seedlings are indoors in the spare bedroom. 

It is nearly the winter solstice when the sun is at its lowest here.  After that, there will be an 'oh so slow' return to more daylight hours.  We have had such a lot of rain here this past six weeks or so - almost every day it has rained, or been damp and dull.  We do need some bright crisp days before spring.

I will wish you all a very happy Christmas and all good wishes for a peaceful year in 2020.



Saturday, 26 October 2019

Species pelargonium P. mutans


P. mutans

One unusual pelargonium I have is P. mutans.  It is a sprawling plant, but quite mannerly.  The flowers are palest pink to cream and quite small.  The leaves are light green with a tan coloured zone and have an odd peppery scent.  Indeed, the plant is sometimes called "Pepper".  The plant can be propagated by cuttings or seed.


Diana Miller, in her book "Pelargoniums" says that the plant was sold and grown incorrectly for many years as P. grandiflorum and was once included within the species P. alchemilloides.  She goes on to say that it is not certain how it came to be in cultivation in Europe, but it was grown in European gardens for many years before it was collected in the wild in northern Natal in 1987 and accepted as a distinct species.

I have now completed the bubble-wrapping of my greenhouses.   Each one takes almost a day to complete as I remove all the plants, sweep through and wash down the benches before putting up the bubblewrap and replacing the plants.  This does take longer than it should because I tend to spend a lot of time grooming the plants.  I also take the opportunity to throw out any plants that do not look their best.  At this time of year I don't do the very top of the greenhouses or the fronts.   I keep the bubblewrap to hand ready to put up as soon as the weather turns much colder and hard frosts are forecast. 

The Uniques that are growing in large pots outside the conservatory all summer have now been taken inside the greenhouse.  I have about fifteen largish pots, but this year I have only kept four in the greenhouse. They have been in the pots for a couple of years now and were looking quite woody.   I have taken cuttings from all of them.  Hopefully I can grow the cuttings on to replace the woody ones.