Saturday 31 December 2011

Abba - Beautiful Zonal Pelargonium

Abba - Zonal pelargonium
Hybridised by the late Mrs Monica Bennett of the UK. the beautiful zonal pelargonium Abba is a quite stunning plant.  The double dark rose pink flowers in large umbels contrast well with the light green leaves.   Abba flowers profusely on strong stems and does not shatter easily.    A cross between Debbie and Blue Spring, Abba was introduced in 1976 and quite likely named after the popular singing group Abba.

This will be my last Blog for 2011 and I wish you all a very happy, and healthy 2012.

Saturday 24 December 2011

A Darling Pelargonium

"Deerwood Darling" - miniature zonal pelargonium
"Deerwood Darling" is a miniature zonal pelargonium with flowers of an unusual shade of pink - a sort of apricot, salmon and pink, depending on the light.   The growth is compact and dense and makes a good show plant as it blooms profusely. 

Hybridised by Faye Brawner and introduced in the USA in 1992.

I wish you all a very.........

Sunday 11 December 2011

Sunspot Petit Pierre - unusual zonal pelargonium

Sunspot Petit Pierre
Sunspot Petit Pierre is, surprisingly, flowering well in my conservatory just now considering we are now into December and the recent days have not been exactly bright.  However, this is one very bright plant, even the leaves are bright.   The flowers are small and single, but of a brilliant pink with the top two petals fading to white at the centre.  The plant is short jointed and the small leaves are a wonderful butterfly lime green with a darker centre.  Miniature zonal Sunspot Petit Pierre was introduced in 1990 by Swanland Nurseries.

I tend to keep this plant in the conservatory rather than the greenhouse.   It is a sport of Kleine Leibling, a very old variety from Germany and was certainly around in the 1890's.  This also is a miniature with single bright pink flowers and small bright green leaves.   It has sported several varieties and over the years I have grown some of them.

Kleine Leibling is a haploid - meaning it has only half the normal chromosomes.  It does not set seed, therefore it cannot be hybridised by pollen.  The only way to increase these plants is vegetatively, i.e. by taking cuttings.  It does sport very freely.   Indeed, I have heard of some people having this plant with all the different sports on the same plant.  I would imagine it would have to be a very large plant, and would be a wondrous sight!

Here in the UK, Kleine Leibling is sometimes referred to as Petit Pierre.  It is known in the USA as Kleine Leibling or Little Darling, the translation from German.

Friday 11 November 2011

Placerville Surprise - a new scented leaf pelargonium

Scented Pelargonium "Placerville Surprise"

With not many flowers open in the greenhouses now, the scented leaf varieties really come into their own.  Non more so than Placerville Surprise.   It has a really strong lemon scent, with fairly large bright pink flowers with dark blotch and well marked feathering on the top two petals.   It is a strongly growing plant as well.

As many of you will know, I have two greenhouses.  One in the back garden and one in my vegetable garden at the side of the house.  Both greenhouses have pelargoniums in them - I don't use the greenhouses for anything else.  Last month I put up the bubble wrap to keep frost out.  This means the automatic shutters don't open, but I always make a point of opening each of the glasshouse doors every day.  Even on the coldest of days the doors will be opened for maybe just half an hour to move the air around.  However, we are now into November, with dreary dull and damp days.   It should not have been a surprise to me to find that one of the greenhouses had botrytis.   Not much, but enough that I spent a morning removing dead grey mouldy flowers and a few leaves.  I should know better, as I did remove all flowers and buds from the plants in the second greenhouse and there is no botrytis in there. But this greenhouses is the one I see from the house and I like to see a few flowers in there when the door is opened.   Will I remember next year?  Probably not.

Botrytis on Pelargonium "Angelique"
 Pelargonium "Bold Cherub" badly affected with Botrytis


Thursday 3 November 2011

Auntie Billie - Angel Pelargonium

Angel Pelargonium - Auntie Billie

"Auntie Billie" is another angel pelargonium that I find grows well in a hanging pot, having a fairly lax growing habit.   The petals are a pale pink with dark red veining, almost like a blotch, on the upper two petals and the lower three having a white throat.   The leaves are small and a very bright green.

Hybridised by Malcolm Harris, "Auntie Billie", was introduced in 2003. 

 I have been taking cuttings in the past couple of weeks.  Due to family ill health, I was not able to take many in last August and September, which is when I normally take them.  I have taken mainly zonals, ivy leaf and scented pelargoniums.   Luckily the weather in October here in the UK has been very mild and fairly bright, and I think I will be lucky this year.   So far they are all looking quite healthy.   I have some in the conservatory and some in one of the greenhouses in propagators.   Once I have some well rooted and potted on I will take cuttings from the Angel pelargoniums.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Miniature Pelargonium - "Barking"

"Barking" Miniature zonal pelargonium
No, not mad dogs, nor the London Borough, although this is probably why I bought the plant in the first place. I spotted this at Fir Trees Nursery on a visit a few years ago and bought it on a whim.  I had no idea who the hybridiser was, but I liked the peach pink flowers with the darker centre, which contrasted well against the darker leaves on a miniature zonal plant. The name "Barking" was also  a deciding factor in my purchase, being a London Borough near to where my husband grew up in Barkingside.   As you may remember reading on a previous post, I am a sucker for pelargoniums with names that have some sort of meaning for me, being names of relatives and friends or, as in the case of "Barking" a sort of significant place. 

Pelargonium "Barking" was hybridised by the late Ray Bidwell and introduced in 1981.  Ray Bidwell named many of his introductions after Suffolk villages and "Barking" is one of these.   Actually, when I think of it, Suffolk is one County that I love to visit, so there is another significance for me!

I have to say that I have not been disappointed in this miniature pelargonium. "Barking" flowers almost non-stop, and the single flowers do not shatter easily.  Well worth adding to your collection.

Friday 21 October 2011

Stellar Pelargonium "Lotta Lundberg", and bubble wrapping

Stellar Pelargonium "Lotta Lundberg"
Pelargonium "Lotta Lundberg" is a new plant in my collection this year.  It was a small cutting when I bought it in May and is already a beautiful zonal stellar.   Hybridised by the late Brian West and named for a Swedish visitor to his home on the Isle of Wight.   Pelargonium "Lotta Lundberg" has the most beautiful magenta purple double flowers.   The leaves are also quite striking - a bright green with dark zone.
Leaves Pelargonium "Lotta Lundberg"
We woke up to a frost last Friday morning - the first of this season.  I was completely caught out because the weather has been so mild and dry.   Fortunately, not quite so cold to cause damage to the plants but the next night, as a precaution, I covered all the plants over with fleece.  On Sunday I set to and removed all the plants from one greenhouse, gave it a clean out and put up bubble wrap.  I then groomed all the plants, taking off most of the flowers (I should take them all off, but I like to leave a few for a bit of colour).  The plants were then all replaced in the greenhouse.  This took most of the day, so the next day I set to and did the same for the second greenhouse. This is larger, so took longer. 

I know a lot of people don't use bubble wrap, but I never have a problem, despite using a paraffin  heater in the larger greenhouse.  I open the doors of the greenhouses each day - even on the coldest day the doors are open for maybe just half an hour in the middle of the day to move the air round.  

The smaller greenhouse has an electric heater and I got my husband to check it over and make sure it was working.   Actually, I really wanted him to make sure the electrics were working.  One year I fused all the power in our house when I plugged the heater in to test it.  We found the culprits were ants that had decided the double power point made a nice high-rise home.   It took an age to clean it all out and dry it.   All well this year though as I make a point of sprinkling ant powder around the base of the enclosed power cable.

Friday 14 October 2011

Attar of Roses - Scented leaf pelargonium

Scented Pelargonium "Attar of Roses"

Many pelargoniums have been around for many years, and Attar of Roses is no exception. It was first recorded in the UK in Cannell's catalogue in 1900, but was probably here before then.   The flowers, which grow on short stems, are small, pale mauve and single with light feathery markings on the upper two petals.  The leaves are tri-lobed and have a strong rose scent.    Pelargonium Attar of Roses can grow quite large, but if kept in a smallish pot and well pinched, makes a nice plant for the kitchen windowsill. Ideal as the leaves of this plant can be used for culinary purposes.

Monday 10 October 2011

Pink Capitatum - A rose scented reminder of summer

Pink Capitatum

Only mildly smelling of roses, but stunning single pink flowers.  Beautifully marked top petals of pink with the lower three petals of a paler pink shading to white in the centre. Pink Capitatum flowers profusely all summer and is still flowering now due to the mild and sometimes sunny autumn we are having this year.  A very well behaved scented pelargonium which grows well in a large pot, Pink Capitatum is  apparently from Australia and sometimes known as Pink Capricorn.   Pink Capitatum is not to be confused with the species P. capitatum which is a rather sprawling plant.

Pink Capitatum

Saturday 1 October 2011

"Brunswick" Scented Pelargonium, and a barn owl

Scented Pelargonium "Brunswick"
Scented Pelargonium "Brunswick" has stunning large coral pink flowers with oak leaf type flowers. It was hybridised by Annie Popperwell (now Annie Holmes) and introduced in the UK in 1987. This is another scented pelargonium that grows quite large and would look lovely planted in a pot (note to self - try to obtain a plant next year!).   

My photo was taken at the National Collection of Pelargoniums held at Fibrex Nurseries -  

Earlier in the summer I visited a nearby garden with the village gardening club.  The visit was early in the evening and we were fortunate to see this Barn Owl swooping over the field to the rear of the garden. It was a wonderful sight and  I think most of our members spent their time watching the owl! 

Monday 26 September 2011

Charmay Cocky - basic zonal pelargonium

Basic zonal pelargonium "Charmay Cocky"

Although I mainly grow miniature and dwarf zonal pelargoniums, I do grow a few of the basic types.  One I admit to having a very soft spot for is Pelargonium "Charmay Cocky".  The two-tone pink semi double flowers are most unusual.  Each petal is very pale pink, sometimes almost white, but with a darker pink centre and a darker pink narrow edge to each petal.  The leaves are green with a feint zone.  

This is a plant that I brought back from Australia a few years ago when I was attending a Pelargonium Conference and I am thrilled that Gosbrook Pelargoniums in Shrivenham, Near Oxford, have decided to release it this year.  

As those of you who will have read my previous blogs, pelargoniums with the pre-fix "Charmay" were hybridised by Ken Attfield who lives in New South Wales, Australia.  Ken told me that the word "Cocky" is Australian slang for a cowboy or farmer.  

"Charmay Cocky" can be obtained from Gosbrook Pelargoniums -
or e-mail:

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Lady Plymouth - still attractive after 160 years

Scented Pelargonium "Lady Plymouth"
Pelargonium "Lady Plymouth" is one of the most popular and attractive scented pelargoniums.  The pale grey-green leaves have a thin white edging, are deeply divided and have a rose scent when rubbed.    The flowers are single, small and pale mauve in colour with darker feathering on the top two petals and the plant has a compact growth habit. 

The plant is probably a sport of the scented Pelargonium graveolens, which has the same leaf form, but darker and brighter green with no variegation.   Occasionally P. "Lady Plymouth" will produced all green shoots similar to P. graveolens, in which case the green shoots should be removed.

Scented Pelargonium "Lady Plymouth" was first described in the UK in 1852, but had probably been in cultivation well before then.    This is one plant I like to grow indoors as it is a neat and tidy plant, and grows well near a bright window.

Friday 16 September 2011

Scented Pelargonium "Copthorne" flowers at last

Scented Pelargonium "Copthorne"
The scented pelargonium "Copthorne" grows too large for my greenhouse so I like to plant it in a very small bed just outside the second greenhouse.  It quickly grows into a sizeable plant of about 18"high (46cm) with large mauve flowers which have darker 'feathering' on the top two petals. An added bonus is the scent when I brush past it on entering and leaving the greenhouse.   "Copthorne" does not have a sweet scent, but is rather like cedar wood, and not unpleasant. It usually looks quite spectacular as it flowers for most of the summer.  However, this year it has only just come into flower, caused, I think, by the dull days with low light levels we have had here in the UK this year.  
Said to be a cross between the Regal "Aztec" and an oak leaf pelargonium (?"Royal Oak"), "Copthorne" was raised by Annie Popperwell (now Annie Holmes) of Essex and introduced by Thorpe's Nursery in 1985.

Monday 12 September 2011

Black Jubilee - now rarely seen zonal pelargonium and some garden views

Black Jubilee
Last winter was particularly harsh here in the UK and one plant that I lost and have really missed this summer is Black Jubilee.   For me it is a particularly good to plant out in pots in the garden during the summer, being a tall growing plant, which needs quite a lot of pinching out to make a bushy plant.  The single dark rose pink flowers shine brightly against light green leaves with a distinct wide dark zone.    Black Jubilee was hybridised by Fred Bode, U.S.A. and introduced into Australia in 1958.  I cannot find out when it as introduced here in the U.K.

Some photo's of my favourite part of the garden.  Last year I had grasses here, and it did look quite splendid.  However, the harsh winter took its toll on several of them, so I decided to put dahlias here instead this year.  I think I like it better.

I like the combination of Dahlias Bishop of Llandaff and David Howard, but will have to remember to put David Howard behind the Bishop next year.

This tower of Morning Glory is a happy 'change of plan'.  I originally planted sweet peas to grow up the tower of bamboo canes, but in the heat of April and May they did not do well and just flopped about.  I usually grow a few Morning Glory plants to grow up canes in a large pot, but decided to plant them in place of the Sweet Peas.  They have grown so much better than in the pot, and an added bonus is that some of the Sweet Peas also started to grow and mingle.   This planting is something I will repeat next year.

Friday 9 September 2011

Flaming Katy - miniature zonal pelargonium - and early Christmas Cactus

Flaming Katy
Flaming Katy is one of the first miniature pelargoniums I had in my collection and it is has remained a firm favourite.   Semi-double dark pink flowers above dark green foliage, Flaming Katy was introduced in  2000 by Dennis O'Shea.   It flowers almost non-stop all summer and even flowers during the dark winter months - so real value for money.

Now that the days are getting shorter I have been bringing indoors, or into the greenhouses,  all the plants that have stood outside for the summer.  I keep my two Christmas Cactus and one Easter Cactus together in a shady spot.  When I lifted them to bring them in I found that one was in full flower already.  The second has a few buds, as is usual at this time of year, but this is in full flower. 

Monday 5 September 2011

An Angel Pelargonium - but not as we know it!

Last spring a friend of mine gave me three small cuttings of the first double Angel Pelargonium  Quantock Double Dymond.    Two of the cuttings rooted well and grew into good plants. When I left for my trip to America at the end of June both the cuttings had buds, although one of them, I thought, looked a little strange for angel pelargonium buds, but as this was a new type of Angel, I thought no more of it.  When I got back from America one of the small plants had already bloomed, and I was only able to see the 'tail end' of the flowers.   The other plant still had decidedly odd looking buds which did not seem to have grown very much at all.   As the months have gone by these odd flowers have grown longer and longer with no petals to speak of, and remained a green/brown colour.
Having asked around my pelargonium friends if they had seen anything like this odd plant, without success, I contacted Ken Dymond, whose plant, Quantock Ultimate, was the plant on which the sport Quantock Double Dymond was found at Fir Trees Nursery, Stokesley, North Yorkshire.   Ken told me that this strange sport was also found on Quantock Double Dymond at Fir Trees Nursery.  
I emailed Fir Trees Nursery to ask permission to use their photographs of Quantock Double Dymond and Quantock Ultimate for this Blog, and Helen Bainbridge, Proprietor, told me that they had had many enquiries for this plant and would be releasing it next year as Fir Trees Catkins.

This plant seems to grow exactly as you would expect an Angel Pelargonium to grow, apart from the very strange flowers.  Quite attractive in an odd sort of way, at the moment.  However, I understand the flowers become very elongated in time, as can be seen starting in the second photograph below, and I don't think this will hold much attraction.

Below are photographs of Quantock Double Dymond and Quantock Ultimate which are reproduced by kind permission of Helen and Mark Bainbridge of Fir Trees Nursery, Stokesley, N.Yorkshire,TS9 5LD -
Quantock Double Dymond
Quantock Ultimate
Ken Dymond hybridises many wonderful Angel Pelargonium with the prefix "Quantock" after the hills of the same name in the English County of Somerset where Ken lives. However, Quantock Double Dymond is the only Angel Pelargonium with the pre-fix 'Quantock' not hybridised by Ken. It was found as a sport growing on another of Ken's hybridising ' Quantock Ultimate; and was named by the nursery in Ken's honour.

Ken has written a booklet, entitled "A Personal Guide to Growing and Exhibiting 'Angel' Pelargoniums".  In his book Ken explains how he came to hybridise pelargoniums, with tips on exhibiting and growing pelargoniums, coloured photographs of many of his raisings, and personal anecdotes, as well as the 'family history' of Fir Trees Catkins.  This excellent little publication is available for only £4.00 which includes post and packing (and, Ken tells me, autographed as well!) and can be obtained from Fir Trees Nursery, address as above, or from Ken himself.  If you email me ( I will let you have Ken's address.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Eskay Ruby - celebrating another journey

Last weekend Brian and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, so my second celebratory pelargonium is the Angel, Eskay Ruby, hybridised by Des Glover. This is a fairly recent introduction, but frustratingly I have been unable to establish exactly when Des introduced this one. I love the contrast of the ruby red petals very finely edged in white with the very clearly defined white throat.

Earlier this month the village Gardening Club held their second annual show in the delightful garden of one of our members.  It was a huge success with double the entries we had for our first show last year. 

Thursday 18 August 2011

Pelargonium "Joy" to celebrate a journey

Decorative Regal - "Joy"
Today marks the date of my very first Blog.  The past year has been a very pleasant journey and I have learned a lot.  Hence I am featuring the Decorative Regal Pelargonium "Joy" as I have really enjoyed my Blogging experience. I can't say it has always been 'joyful' as it has been frustrating at times trying to find information on the various plants.  But, this is a cheerful Regal pelargonium and sort of sums up the past year as an experience I have enjoyed and I am amazed at the number of followers I now have, and I have to say you all look a very cheerful bunch.  Thank you for following.

I have to admit I don't have the Decorative Regal Pelargonium "Joy", as you will know, they are not my favourites. My photograph was taken at RHS Wisley where the plant was part of their excellent pelargonium display earlier this year. 

"Joy" was introduced in the U.S.A. by R. Schmidt in the mid 1950's.  The small flowers are most attractive with their white throat and white edged frilled petals.