Monday, 14 February 2011

A pelargonium for Valentine's Day

   Pelargonium echinatum

Pelargonium echinatum was first collected by Francis Masson for Kew Gardens in 1789.  Known as "the sweatheart pelargonium", because of the heart shaped red blotches on the upper petals, Pelargonium echinatum is a native of  the north western regions of Cape Province. It is an erect shrub-like succulent plant with thick thorny stems.  In America it is also known as The Cactus Geranium.   Echinatus or echinate from Latin meaning armed with prickles or spines.   I love this plant when it is in flower - the flowers just seem to shine out so brightly - beautiful.
Pelargonium 'Miss Stapleton'

There is also a purple-pink flowered pelargonium known as 'Miss Stapleton' which is very similar in growth to P. echninatum, apart from the colour of the flowers. It will also be noted that there are blotches on the lower petals and feathering on the top two petals.  In her book, The Pelargonium Species, Diana Miller says 'Miss Stapleton' is the only named hybrid remaining today.  Although it was thought to be a form of P. echninatum, it has been suggested 'Miss Stapleton' is the result of a cross between P. echinatum and P. cortusifolium.  Raised from seed collected at Collvill's nursery and first flowering in 1823, it was named for Miss C Stapleton - a lady much attached to the Geraniaceae'.

Having just got over a very heavy cold it was so nice to be able to get out into the garden this afternoon.  The sun was shining and I have cut back the clematis and given them a feed of blood fish and bone.

A sure sign spring is on the way - it was good to spot these in flower.  I also spotted Cyclamen coum and a Pulmonaria in flower, but the sun had gone in so too dark to take a photograph.

Iris reticulata

Viburnum ferreri

Snowdrops - opened at last

Primrose - just opening

Helleborus foetidus
Winter Jasmine

Pansies in the window box

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