Wednesday 22 September 2010

Seeing double

Caroline Plumridge

Pelargonium Caroline Plumridge is another of my purchases this year. I bought it at Sulmans sale in June.  Caroline Plumridge is listed as a dwarf zonal with single pale pink flowers and a deeper centre.  It has golden leaves with a faint zone, which can be seen in the photograph.   It was introduced by Sulmans in their 2002 catalogue.    The double is also a plant I bought at Sulmans this year and is named Chattisham.  This was hybridised by Ray Bidwell and introduced in the 1980s.  Sulmans describe it as a miniature with single pale pink flowers and salmon eye, gold leaves with fine bronze zone.   At first glance these two appear to be one and the same, but Chattisham, despite being described as a miniature does have very slightly larger flowers.    I have to admit the reason for buying the two plants was to see if there is any difference in them - they were not growing side by side at the nursery sales area, but I do have them side by side in my greenhouse, and it will be interesting to see if there is any difference in their growth habit next year.  They are both very pretty.  

I picked all the green tomatoes this morning and have stored them in the garage until we get back from France.   Also made some tomato sauce for the freezer from the glut of ripe tomatoes we have.  Some will go to France with us.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Trailing treasure

Pelargonium trfidum
This is a new plant for me this year - I spotted Pelargonium trifidum growing in a hanging pot at Woottens of Wenhaston Nursery when I was there in June.  It was most attractive and I could not resist one for myself!   This is a tuberous-rooted species from the eastern region of Cape Province in South Africa.   The leaves, which are trifoliate, have a pungent scent when touched, some find it unpleasant, but I have not found it so.  The flowers are a delicate cream colour with veining on the top two petals, and always three to each stem.

P. trfidum in hanging pot

It's a busy week this week - we will be away on Friday for two weeks, so there is much to do both indoors, in the garden and in the greenhouse.  I am beginning to panic about leaving the greenhouses!

Monday 20 September 2010

Lavender Beauty

Deerwood Lavender Lass

With small magenta flowers that have feathering on the top two petals and a spreading habit, this is a plant that I would not be without growing in a hanging pot during the summer.    The leaves do smell very faintly of lavender, most noticeable in the morning if the pot has been hanging in the greenhouse.  Deerwood Lavender Lass was hybridised as a species derived (i.e. from two species pelargoniums) by Faye Brawner, well known American hybridiser, and introduced in 1993.   

The photo was taken over the weekend.  The plant is beginning to 'go over' but it has been covered in flowers all summer.

Mrs Brawner also introduced another species derived plant, Deerwood Lavender Lad in the same year.  The flowers are somewhat darker, but the plant is much more untidy and sprawly and not suited to a hanging pot on its own.

This morning I removed all the flowers in one greenhouse. Heartbreaking, but I am going to be away for two weeks and as I have already spotted botrytis  on one or two plants, I need to remove the flowers to stop it spreading. I put some of them in a small vase and you can see the result in the new header photo. It was also a good opportunity to go over the plants to check for rust (I did not find any thankfully) and remove all yellowing leaves, even those with the slightest edging of yellow.  They won't recover, so best to remove them, and it helps with opening up the plant for better air circulation during the winter months.

Thursday 16 September 2010

The crimson beauty and the rusty stork

Crimson Unique

This beauty was also growing in a planter outside the glasshouse at Wisley when I visited last month.   It was introduced by Cannell & Sons of Swanley in 1880, so has been around for a very long time.   Crimson Unique  has a fairly compact growth habit and the leaves have a faint aromatic scent, as do many of the Uniques.  The flowers are a beautiful crimson colour with a dark blotch to the top two petal and dark veining to the lower three petals.   

There was a sculpture exhibition at Wisley when we were there last week - some of them were quite lovely, some rather bizarre, and this was just wonderful!   Can you guess what implements made up this stork?  Note:  The line across the back of the sculpture is part of the rope roping off the exhibit.

I went to the allotment this morning  with my younger son - we share half a plot - to dig up the main crop potatoes.   We were a bit apprehensive as the earlies and second earlies were a complete disaster this year- either very scabby or only the size of golf balls.   We were very impressed with our crop of Cara potatoes and each of us has plenty to last until Christmas.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Unique Unique

Uniques belong to a very old section of the pelargonium family.  Sweet listed over 60 in the first volume of his Geraniaceae books in 1820. They were known then as 'Hybrid Bedding Pelargoniums' and the R.H.S. trialled them at their Chiswick Gardens.  Unfortunately the trials were not a success because of the wet summer that year and the flowers did not open.  The trials were repeated the following year, but the plants proved to be useless for bedding.   At this time the name of the plants was changed to 'Uniques'   There are far fewer Uniques available today.  The ancestor of the Uniques is thought to be Pelargonium fulgidum.

I don't have any of the Uniques in my collection, having lost White Unique in the damp winter we had last year.  However, I spotted Rollinson's Unique at Wisley when I was there last month.  

Rollinson's Unique
Introduced by the old London nursery of Rollinson's of Tooting prior to 1880, Rollinson's Unique is a well branched, medium tall vigorous grower.  The leaves have a spicy scent, and the flowers are a rich magenta colour with typical veined markings on the top two petals.  It looked very attractive in a large mixed planter outside the new glasshouse at Wisley and did not seem any the worse for being outside all summer.   It has been drier this year.

We were out this morning, and I worked on PAGS business this afternoon with just a short time left before the sun went down to take a few more cuttings. 

Tuesday 14 September 2010


Mrs Eve Scott

Another by Steve Pollard - introduced this year by Gosbrook Pelargoniums ( this lovely pelargonium was named by Mick Scott, MBE, Chairman of The Pelargonium & Geranium Society*, in honour of his late wife, Eve.  Pelargonium Mrs Eve Scott is a smashing dwarf zonal pelargonium, very compact and with lovely soft pink double flowers.   It was first shown at The Pelargonium & Geranium Society National Show at Hinckley last year and can be purchased from Gosbrook Pelargoniums.  

 A quiet day today - I've been pottering in the greehouses and gardens.  Potted on a few plants that needed to go into larger pots and watered the outside tomatoes, which are very slowly ripening.  I think we will have a lot to take to France with us.

*The Pelargonium & Geranium Society:


Monday 13 September 2010

Rhapsody in Pink

  Rushmoor Rhapsody

This beautiful stellar pelargonium is still in flower in my greenhouse.   Rhushmoor Rhapsody has semi double salmon pink flowers with a slightly darker centre, which is most attractive.  The leaves have a dark zone in mid green leaves, and is a fairly compact dwarf plant.

 Rushmoor Rhapsody was hybridised by Steve Pollard, another of our new hybridisers, and introduced by Gosbrook Pelargoniums in 2008.     Steve has introduced several new plants over the past few years and I will feature them in future blogs.  Many of his introductions have the pre-fix Rushmoor, all of them are strong growers and worthy of adding to any collection. 

I've been taking more cuttings today, despite saying I wouldn't due to our holiday in France later this month.   The propagator was empty, and I just could not help myself.

I have a question - When is a gooseberry bush not a gooseberry bush?   When it is a gooseberry bush purchased from the £1 store!   I bought two of them earlier this year, one red and one white; I did not want anything special, just a couple of gooseberry bushes to pop in a spare corner of the vegetable garden.  When I got them they had no leaves, just a couple of brown twigs with root balls, but the sleeve definitely stated "Gooseberry plant".  I popped them in the ground and anxiously watched them grow leaves, but I did not think they looked like gooseberry bush leaves, and they developed round buds in mid-for a gooseberry bush at summer, most unusual for that time of year.  The round buds have now opened and I have two beautiful pink hibiscus shrubs.  Not bad for £2, but I think I will get a couple of gooseberry bushes from the garden centre next year!

Sunday 12 September 2010

First catch your hippopotamus, or a python

Had a great day on Friday - Brian and I met up with Ken and Babs at RHS Wisley Gardens for the annual flower show and plant sales. The weather was good - not too hot, and we had a lovely time looking around the new glasshouse and then the plant sales.

P. luridum

We spotted Pelargonium luridum on the display of one of the plant stands. Luridum is from the Latin 'luridus' meaning smoky, or drab and in this case refers to the colour of the flowers. I would hardly call this one drab! It is a most beautiful and delicate peach/pink colour. However, in its native Africa, the colour can vary from white to pink, yellow to greenish-yellow and even red flowers have been recorded in Mozambique and Angola. It is a remarkable plant in that the leaf shape varies on the plant as it grows. At the beginning of the season the leaves are shallowly lobed - successive leaves become larger with narrower segments. This can be seen in the second photograph. The plant grows from a woody subterranean tuber and is found widely growing in damp grass veld in South Africa and also in Lesotho Swaziland, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, D.R.Congo and Tanzania.

Apparently the Zulu people use an infusion of the roots of P. luridum as a cure for diarrhoea.  They also treat dysentry by mixing the dried and powdered root in porridge, or other food.  Young Zulu men rub a mixture of the root powder and fat of hippopotamus or python on their faces to charm the opposite sex.

Both Ken and I were tempted to purchase one of these from the stand (not for the reasons in the last papragraph I hasten to add!), but they only had one and it was not a very good plant so we have decided to see if we can obtain some seed. I hope we can get one this same colour. It was certainly eye catching.

We had to leave Ken and Babs early afternoon because Brian and I were looking after two of our granddaughters after school - they stayed for supper and it was lovely to spend some time with them on their own.

On Saturday we had lunch with Brian's cousin Sue and her husband Malcolm and Sue and Brian's cousin John and his wife Maureen who have been here on holday from Australia. It was their last day so good to spend some time with them. Thank you Sue for a lovely lunch. Sue's family were over in the afternoon so we were quite a crowd. Fortunately the children were all able to play outside. Mary, 3 years old, was telling me that she had new shoes on which she had chosen hereself. I told her they were very smart and that she had good taste. She looked very serious and explained quietly to me that they were not for eating. Silly me!

Today I've been potting on the cuttings I took a couple of weeks ago and also taking a few more - not to many because we are going to France in a couple of weeks time.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Which class?


Ashby is a bit of a puzzle  - it was originally thought of as a scented pelargonium because of the scented leaves, and exhibited as such.   However, the plant is more like an Unique Pelargonium, has a much larger flower than most of the Scented Pelargoniums, and grows quite tall if not pruned back. It does make a very nice bushy plant.   In the Pelargonium Register Ashby is listed as Species Derived i.e. not fitting into any of the main pelargonium family, but 'showing a close relationship to the species from which they have been derived'.   Hybridised by Annie Popperwell and introduced in 2000.

It's been a busy week - and today I have been cleaning, grooming and watering the plants in my second greenhouse.  I've also taken some of the pelargoniums growing in pots outside that I want to keep, back inside the greenhouse.  With the rain we have had this week they are looking quite sad and a bit soggy.   I looked them all over very carefully to make sure there was no sign of rust on them, and will continued to check for several days.  I've been very fortunate not have had rust in the greenhouses for a few years now, although I have noticed it on some new plants that I have bought in.   I always make sure I keep any new plants separate for a few days.

I'm off to Wisley Gardens tomorrow - they have their annual flower show and there will be lots of plant stalls.  Sadly not pelargoniums at this time of year.   It's always nice to visit and I love the new glasshouse.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Show Winner

Oldbury Duet

Oldbury Duet was found as a variegated sport of Tip Top Duet by Oldbury Nurseries.   This stunning plant was grown and exhibited by Ken Abel and won Best in Show at The Pelargonium & Geranium Society First National show at Hinckley in 2009.   

Ken is the U.K.'s top pelargonium exhibitor and grows the most beautiful plants.  He is also very keen and willing to show others how he grows his plants and he has a really good website with lots of growing and showing advice :    Also listed are photographs from most of the shows around the country.  Do take a look.

The Pelargonium & Geranium Society was formed last year, the two previous UK Pelargonium and Geranium Societies having merged to form one society.   UK membership is just £10 per year for single membership.  The Society issues four magazines each year which has interesting articles on growing and showing pelargoniums and geraniums, new varieties, readers letters, and more.  See the website for more information and overseas subscription rates:

Friday 3 September 2010

Tip Top Angel

Tip Top Duet

A strong growing Angel Pelargonium with typical small rounded leaves with a hint of lemon.  This is a smashing Angel Pelargonium  which flowers and flowers and makes a wonderful display.  I love the way the flowers seem to grow in waves across a large plant, or plants, which I've noticed is typical in Angels.   Tip Top Duet was hybridised by Jan Taylor and introduced in 1981. 

On our way to do our weekly food shopping we called at a garden centre.  I can't resist the 'bargain basement' there and today came away with four plants, all reduced.  Not pelargoniums because these days the garden centres only seem to sell F1 hybrids - bedding plants, so I always give those a miss at this time of year.  I got a white Agapanthus, a Stokesia,  Arabis Ferdinandi-Coburgi (alpine plant)  and a Semiaquilegia 'Sugar Plum Fairy'.   Now to find somewhere to put them.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Charming Charmay Marjorie

Charmay Marjorie

Angel pelargoniums always make me smile - they always seem to me to be such happy plants, and this one is no exception.  Charmay Marjorie was hybridised by Ken Attfield of New South Wales, Australia and he told me that he named it for Marjorie Edwards, another well known Australian hybridiser.  Charmay is the prefix used by Ken Attfield on all his introductions.   Charmay Marjorie has typical angel pelargonium flowers of pale pink with a darker centre.  The leaves are what makes this Angel different; they are deeply cut and as is usual with most Angel Pelargoniums, there is a faint lemony scent.   And, like all Angel Pelargoniums, it flowers and flowers all summer if you keep dead heading. 

 I've been tidying up one of the greenhouses today - one down, one to go!   All plants were groomed and watered with a high potash feed.   

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Italian Beauty & an Australian Lady

Having said yesterday that I don't grow Regal Pelargoniums, the one pictured here is one I do grow in my greenhouse and I just love the colour.   It is called Roseto and is from the collection of Riccardo Gallucci.   Not a show plant, Roseto likes to grow tall, and has been flowering on and off all summer in the greenhouse.
The other Regal that I  grow is one that I brought back from a visit to Australia and is named Elaine Ward after a past President of the South Australia Pelargonium Society.  I was visiting Elaine a couple of days before I left to return home and as we we leaving she pulled a cutting from a plant growing by her back door and told me it had been named for her.   Miraculously it survived and I gave a cutting to the National Collection of Pelargoniums at Fibrex Nursery.

We had a visit this morning from our younger son, his daughter and son.   My granddaughter will be doing sewing as part of her school art and design project his year and said she did not find it easy to use a sewing machine.  So, we made pink and lilac cushions for her bedroom.   It was good practice for her.

I am expecting The Pelargonium and Geranium Society magazine to be delivered to me next week to be posted out to all our members, so this afternoon I printed off labels for all the envelopes and made a start on labelling the envelopes.