Monday 27 December 2010

In the beginning.....

....was Pelargonium zonale.

Pelargonium Zonale
 Commonly found growing in the coastal areas of the Southern Cape.  Although an erect shrubby type, P. zonale can often be found scrambling through bushes or down rocky embankments.  The single flowers are usually pink, but white or red forms can be found.   The name zonale is from the Latin 'zona', which refers to the distinctive horse-shoe shaped dark zone on each leaf.

P. zonale leaves showing typical dark zone

P. zonale arrived in  Europe in 1700, having been sent to Holland as seed by the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.   A few years later it was recorded as growing in the gardens of the Duchess of Beaufort and has been grown by gardeners ever since.

Almost certainly P. zonale, together with P. inquinans, is the parent of the zonal pelargoniums we know today.

I fear I have a few losses in the greenhouses.  It has been bitterly cold over Christmas with a temperature of  -10C when we got up yesterday morning.  Three plants have been brought inside to my 'hospital' ledge in the conservatory for extra cossetting.   We are promised some very mild days later in the week.

1 comment:

  1. Terrible with the cold! I am not aware of any losses yet. My por watering rewards me in these times! It has probably been more than -5 this year, but still ok. Now we have about -5 outdoors and +10 in the greenhouse. I do not like these changes, and neither does the plants I believe.


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