Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pelargonium auritum - Best in Show

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Pelargonium auritum, grown and exhibited by Jan Goodwin  at the South Australia Society Pelargonium Show in 2006.   I was honoured to be asked to help judge this show when I was in Adelaide visiting my sister.  As usual, all the exhibits in the Show were of an exceptional standard, but I had no hesitation in awarding Pelargonium auritum, Best in Show. It was almost perfectly round in shape with plenty of flowers and very healthy, well coloured shiny leaves.  Without a doubt, Jan Goodwin certainly knows how to grow the species pelargoniums

 


Pelargonium auritum grows in the wild in the south-western Cape Province.  It is a tuberous-rooted plant with many small very dark purple-red flowers.   In her book, Pelargoniums, Diana Miller says that the first illustration was in 1697 of something close to the plant known today was of a very dark reddish purple flowered plant., by Commelin in 1697

In the mild spell we have had over the last two days I have watered plants in both greenhouses. I have found a couple more poorly plants which are now in the 'sick bay' in the conservatory.   Yesterday morning I found to my horror that I had left one of the greenhouse doors part way open all night.   Fortunately we did not have a frost, and the heater was on, but this morning I spotted that two plants of Vectis Dazzler on the lower shelf by the door had succumbed to the cold, one of them completely and the other in now in the 'sick bay'. 


The plant outside the window is an Aspidestra.  It has been in this sheltered spot for several years now and does not seem to mind the cold.  I split it and re-potted it about three years ago and found to my amazement it was flowering.   The flowers are at ground level and quite dull and insignificant.  It was thought that snails or slugs pollinated the flowers, but this is now thought not to be the case.   One theory is that fungus gnats pollinate the flowers in this country.








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