Monday 29 November 2010

Eskay Verglo - pretty and unusual Angel pelargonium

Angel Pelargonium Eskay Verglo
A  most unusual Angel Pelargonium, Eskay Verglo was hybridised by Des Glover and introduced in 2006.  I love the veined lower petals with the plainer upper two petals. The crinkley leaves look a bit like parsley, and it does seem to like to be watered more often.

Pride of place in my house at this time of year has to go to my Paphiopedilum Orchid.    I found this plant on the bargain shelf at a garden centre two years ago.  It had one dead flower and green leaves.   I can never resist a poorly plant in a garden centre if the price is knocked down, and I paid just £2.00 for the 'dead' orchid..   Today it is flowering for the second time and has two flowers.   I understand if it is re-potted each year it will produce one more flower than the previous year.   I saw one a week ago in a garden centre with two flowers priced at £14.99 - wasn't I lucky?

Saturday 27 November 2010

Stellar Pelargonium 'Edward's Finn'

Stellar Pelargonium Edward's Finn
I first saw Edward's Finn in Australia several years ago.  It is a double stellar pelargonium with the most beautiful pink flowers on a compact plant.  It was hybridised by Marj. Edwards of Victoria, Australia.  She has a pelargonium nursery and has hybridised many lovely plants.  Sadly not many of them are available here in the U.K.  Marj. said that this is the only double flowered stellar she has produced, and she named it for Jill Finn who used to own a pelargonium nursery in Australia.  I did bring a cutting back of this one, so maybe one day it will be available for sale here. Four years ago I attended the South Australia Pelargonium Society show and there was a really good plant of Edward's Finn on display.
South Australia Pelargonium Society Show, 2006

Last summer a friend and I stayed at a B & B in Norfolk, and knowing of my interest in plants, when we left after our four day stay the owner handed me a cutting of a plant she herself had been given.  She said the person who gave it to her did not know what it was, and neither did she.   The cutting rooted, and grew into a really lovely plant - gold leaves with red stems. The leaves are stiff and have a bristly feel to them, but the square stems are quite velvety.  I found out it is Plectranthus ciliatus "Easy Gold" and originates in the southern hemisphere.   It seems to grow sideways, and on a visit to Wisley in the summer I saw it grown as ground cover in the glasshouse.  I think I might try it in a hanging pot next summer.   It does flower - the name Plectranthus is from the Greek, meaning 'spur' which refers to the spur at the end of the flower. You need to look really closely at the small flowers to appreciate their beauty - palest blue and speckled with darker spots.  

Plectranthus ciliatus 'Easy Gold'

I can recommend the Norfolk B & B - you will be given a very warm welcome.  Comfortable rooms and a wonderful breakfast.  It was the second time I have stayed there and will certainly return.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Sweet fragrant Pelargonium sidoides

P. sidoides

Brian and I have been away for the weekend, and on our return I went into the conservatory, which had been closed.   I could not help but notice the sweet fragrance of Pelargonium sidoides which is flowering in the corner.    Although the flowers are a very dark, almost black, red, they are small .  It comes into its own at night when the scent is very noticeable.    I imagine the scent lingered because the conservatory was closed for a few days.
 P. sidoides is closely related to P. reniforne which has bright pink flowers. The leaves of both plants are a silvery grey green, which are soft to the touch.

Leaves of P. sidoides

In the Zulu language Pelargonium sidoides is Umckaloabo and means 'heavy cough'.   
The alcoholic extract of the root can be used to treat acute bronchitis and tonsillitis and can work in three ways:-
1. An expectorant.  2. Anti-bacterial.  3. Anti viral.



Saturday 20 November 2010

Unique Sport and an intruder in the greenhouse.


Phyllis is a spot of Paton's Unique.   Same single salmon pink flowers, but really striking pale green leaves edged in cream.  I have grown this, but it is difficult to propagate.   Like all variagated and coloured leaf pelargoniums cuttings are somewhat easier to strike in the spring rather than the autumn.

I found an intruder has been trying to get inside one of my greenhouses.  A mole (Talpa europaea) has left a small mound of earth just inside the door.  The base of the greenhouse has slabs and the mole hill was between two of them.   I think we may have to take up the slabs and lay a concrete base.  Obviously a job for the summer.   A mole (probably the same one) has been running around the outside of the other greenhouse and I hope it won't try to infiltrate that one.    I have had success with trapping them in the past, but I just cannot find the run for this mole.  

Thursday 18 November 2010

Pelargonium named for the Chairman

Richard Upward
Double salmon pink flowers on a dwarf growing plant.  Green and cream bi-coloured leaves.   Hybridised by Steve Pollard and introduced in 2008, so fairly new.

Steve named his plant  for the late Richard Upward who was a well respected Chairman of Farnborough Fuchsia & Pelargonium Society for many years.

A strange thing happens in my garden each autumn.  My greenhouses shrink.  In fact, they get even smaller by spring.  I wonder why this is?

Wednesday 17 November 2010

A real honey of a pelargonium

Honeywood Suzanne
Flowering in my conservatory for the past few weeks, Honeywood Suzanne just seems to go on and on.   Hybridised and introduced by John Thorpe in 1981, this is another frutetorum type zonal.  Very pale pink semi double flowers with a slightly darker 'eye', and light green zoned leaves on a short jointed dwarf plant.

I took advantage of a dry morning to go outside and tidy up.  Brian has been clearing the leaves from the lawn and border edges.  We keep these in large plastic sacks behind the summerhouse to rot down over the next year.    This afternoon I potted on some of the cuttings.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Pelargonium Angelique

Pelargonium Angelique
Introduced by a Mr Maudsley in the U.K. in 1987.  Angeleque is a dwarf pelargonium with double carmine pink flowers and well zoned green leaf. 

Dwarf pelargoniums should not grow higher than 8" (20cm).   I've grown this for several years and it grows well in a 4 1/2" pot (115 mm). 

We woke to another frost this morning, with drifting fog.

Monday 15 November 2010

A Red Pelargonium and seedlings update

P. Redondo

I've had this plant a long time; it's bright double red flowers always cheer me up.  It is a dwarf growing pelargonium with very dark green foliage. It was introduced in America in 1965, apparently from seed sent there by Frank Read of Norfolk, U.K. to a Mrs James Lumsden of Redondo Beach, California.    I have some lovely memories of a short visit I made to Redondo Beach a few years ago.

You may remember the seedlings Sue found when we tidied up her pelargoniums in France about a month ago.  She brought them back to the U.K. and here is a photo of them now that she has potted them up individually.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Pelargonium oblongatum hybrid

P. oblongatum x P. punctatum
One of my posts last month was of P. oblongatum.  Browsing some of my pelargonium photographs today I came across this one of P. oblongatum x P. punctatum.  I took the photograph at the Geelong Botanical Gardens when I attended the Pelargonium Conference held there in 2006.   The display of flowers on this one plant is just amazing.  Both plants are from the Horea section of Pelargoniums and Diana Miller in her book says the plants are similar, although the flowers of P. punctatum are rather narrower.  Both plants flower prolifically and grow from underground tubers.

Nerine bowdenii
I took this photo of Nerine bowdenii flowering in the garden yesterday.   It grows from a bulb which needs to be planted with the neck of the bulb at ground level and needs full sun to flower well.   Leaves appear in spring, which then die down.   The flowers appear in late October to November and last well.    Common names which Nerine bowdenii is known by are Guernsey Lily, Cape Flower and Japanese Spider Lily.

A poppy for Remembrance

Saturday 13 November 2010

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
I'm not quite sure why this Stellar Pelargonium is named Purple Heart, since the single flowers are orange.   However, it is a lovely plant.  The typical star shaped stellar leaves have a deep zone with green to the centre and edge.
Purple Heart leaves
Purple Heart was hybridised by Frances Parmenter and introduced in 2001.    I have been told this is difficult to grow, but I have not found it so.  It easily makes a good well branched plant.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Pelargonium acetosum

Pelargonium acetosum
 A shrubby short jointed species with narrow pale pink flowers and blue green succulent leaves. Found  growing in the Eastern Cape Province.  It is easy to grow but it needs very dry conditions and can be easily propagated from cuttings.  There is a variegated type available that has a cream coloured edge to the leaves.    I have seen both these types growing in hanging baskets.

Erodium chrysanthum is bravely showing a flower in a pot at the side of  the house - it normally flowers in the spring.  

Erodium chrysanthum

Also putting on a brave face is summer flowering Geranium 'Ann Folkard' growing under the shelter of an evergreen hedge

Geranium 'Ann Folkard'


Saturday 6 November 2010

An unusual & beautiful scented pelargonium.

Mann's Genevra

This scented pelargonium has typical mauve/pink flowers with darker markings on the top petals.  It really is a beautiful scented pelargonium with an upright growth habit.   However, it is the leaves which give this plant the 'wow' factor.  Apart from the strong lemony scent when the leaves are rubbed, they are a most attractive and eye catching light green with a white edge.  

I grow this in my conservatory for most of the year. It seems to prefer the much drier and hotter conditions and I find it does not like to be watered very much at all.   I keep it just ticking over. When in the greenhouse it just does not seem happy at all.  

Mann's Genevra is a sport from Lara Nomad  and was found about about  20 years ago  (1990) by Nancy Mann on her Nursery at Dubbo, NSW, Australia. 

We went to my  favourite Garden Centre today and came home with tulip, hyacinth and camassia bulbs, all at half price, garlic bulbs (not half price), plus boxes of violas, pansies and cyclamen, an unusual white Christmas cactus, and two rolls of fleece marked down to less than half price.  I was amused at the picture on the label of fleece being thrown over a pelargonium in flower, suggesting that one layer of fleece would keep the plant growing and in flower all winter.   I think not!

I received the sad, but not unexpected, news that Vernon's Geranium Nursery has been sold.   It seems that Thompson & Morgan have purchased the mail order side of the business and the nursery will remain on site, but for how long?   

Try the flower quiz:-

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Thursday 4 November 2010

Simply Beautiful

Barking - Miniature pelargonium

I love this miniature pelargonium - the simple flowers are quite stunning and contrast beautifully with the dark leaves.  Barking is a miniature zonal pelargonium hybridised by Ray Bidwell and introduced in 1961.

Ray Bidwell lived in Suffolk and hybridised many miniature pelargoniums, mostly named after local villages.
He died in December 1989.
This morning Brian and I took advantage of the warm sunny weather and went to Winkworth Arboretum for a walk.  The skies were a clear blue and the trees looked stunning in their autumn colours.  Although we have had quite windy weather for the past couple of days, not all the leaves were down, and I got some good photographs.

We loved this carved seat.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Pale pink Angel

Mrs G H Smith
Introduced in about 1940, this is a compact and bushy angel pelargonium.  The flowers are a pale pink with deeper pink markings. 

Mr Arthur Langley-Smith, a retired headmaster from Catford in London, is credited with producing the early angel pelargoniums. He named and released the first angel variety ‘Catford Belle, in 1935 and this variety is still available today.   Mrs G H Smith was named after his wife and is also still available today.  The scented pelargonium P. crispum,  a lemon scented pelargonium is probably one of the plants he used in his crossings.  Many of the angel pelargoniums have scented leaves.

My photograph was taken at Fibrex Pelargoniums, home of the National Collection  of Pelargoniums.

Cuttings I took when we came back from France now show signs of roots, so I must soon pot them up.   Cuttings potted up at the same time are all looking very good.

I made the most of the very mild weather we are having just now and spent the morning in the garden emptying two of my compost bins.  Some I spread some around the garden and the rest is left in a heap to spread later. 

Monday 1 November 2010

A litle 'toughie'

Pink Needles - Miniature Stellar

This is a wonderful miniature stellar with pink double flowers and dark foliage.  Hybridised by the late Brian West of the Isle of Wight and introduced in 2001.  Brian hybridised so many of the wonderful plants we have available to us today, and he is much missed by many of the growers and nurserymen who knew him.  

Pink Needles is a strong grower. A couple of winters ago I thought I had lost the one growing in my conservatory and put the plant outside the door so that I could throw the plant on the compost heap.  Of course, it is a small plant in a small pot and it was overlooked when dashing in and out, until about four weeks later I spotted a new shoot growing on the side of the dead plant.  We must have had a few degrees of frost, and it was growing against the wall of the conservatory, but still, it would have got very cold out there.    It's a real little 'toughie'.