Tuesday 29 March 2011

Crowfoot Rose - Scented pelargonium, and my garden update

"Crowfoot Rose" - Scented Pelargonium
I have to confess that I have not grown Crowfoot Rose, although I do have quite a few of the scented members of the pelargonium family.   It is, however, one that I would like to get.  I love the brightness of the bright orange pollen on the stamens - and they do rather clash with the lavender pink of the petals, but I think just adds to its charm.   The scented leaves also are fascinating - an interesting very deeply cut shape and, I guess, how the plant got its name. "Crowfoot Rose"was introduced in the USA in 1988 and my photograph was taken at the National Collection of Pelargoniums, Fibrex Nursery, near Stratford upon Avon.

We have had a fine weekend so we took advantage of the warmer weather for a day trip to the coast on Saturday.   On Sunday morning Brian helped me to replace the cover on my plastic walk-in greenhouse.  It wasn't an easy job and took longer than we thought - but it is done down and I can now get lots of seeds started off.   In the afternoon I planted out shallots and potted up lots of plants for the village Garden Club plant stand at the village Fete this year. 

Yesterday I planted out broad beans and cleared the weeds from around the 8 years old walnut tree.  This has not yet fruited, and I have read that they take about ten years to do so.  Can't wait!

Garlic, onions & shallots

Broad beans planted out with plants for Village Fete behind.

Friday 25 March 2011

Stringer's Souvenir

Miniature pelargonium "Stringer's Souvenir'
Sadly I don't have Stringer's Souvenir in my collection just now - it was a victim of last year's cold winter and I have not yet replaced my plant.   

Stringer's Souvenir has light red semi double flowers which are very striking above the light green leaves which are edged in yellow. The leaves have a waxy feel to them.  I find the plant needs a lot of pinching to keep it to a good shape as it does tend to grow straggly.

The plant was hybridised by the late Rev. Stanley Stringer, well known for introducing the Deacon series of dwarf pelargoniums.  

The Pelargonium Register states that the plant had been given to Mary Spink, compiler of the Register, when visiting Rev. Stringer.  Sadly he died before the plant was named and, in consultation with Allan Shellard, "the name was chosen as a celebration for all he (Rev. Stringer) has done in a lifetime of a great breeding programme."

Saturday 19 March 2011

Cy's Sunburst - a bright and scented spot in the greenhouse

Scented Pelargonium 'Cy's Sunburst'

Anyone walking into my Greenhouse on a bright and sunny morning at this time of year cannot fail to notice 'Cy's Sunburst'. This is a pelargonium that certainly lives up to its name. It glows with a brightness quite unlike any of the other pelargoniums, including the coloured leaf ones. Bright green curly leaves edged in yellow, the flowers are pale pink, with the top two petals slightly darker with feathering and blotch. 'Cy's Sunburst' is a sport of Golden Well Sweep and was introduced by Cyril Hyde of Well Sweep Herb Farm, U.S.A.

I have spent a couple of afternoons in the garden catching up with the weeding on the fine sunny days that we have had.

Plants flowering in the garden this week:-


Cyclamen coum



Helleborus foetidus


Miniature daffodils

Pansy - in window box

Viola - in hanging pot


Tuesday 15 March 2011

Angel Madame Layal and sowing vegetable seeds

Angel Pelargonium 'Madame Layal'
First catalogued in France around 1890, Pelargonium ' Madame Layal' was originally regarded as a miniature Regal Pelargonium.  It was introduced into the UK in 1976 and is now regarded as an Angel pelargonium.  This is a pansy type pelargonium, with purple and light mauve flowers, the dark blotch on the upper petals is outlined in white.  It has a short stocky growth habit. 

I have been sowing vegetable seeds over the weekend.   I started parsnips off last year in the cardboard inside of toilet rolls.  Two or three seeds to each filled inner roll and gradually thinned to one to each cardboard roll.  When the plant looked large enough and roots appearing through the cardboard I planted them out at the recommend spacing.  So easy - there was no difficulty thinning the seedlings and the cardboard roll just rotted away as the parsnips grew.  I had a very good crop.    So, no reason not to do the same this year.  I am trying a few carrots this way as well.  I also sowed beetroot seeds in modules as demonstrated by Monty Don on Gardner's World.  However, he put several seeds into each module as he said he liked to pull the beetrrot when very small.  I have sown just one seed to each module and will plant them closer together and use the smaller ones first and let the others grow on.

Friday 11 March 2011

A popular Australian pelargonium, and a rescue mission

Stellar Pelargonium ' Judy Swinbourne'
 Hybridised by the late Ted Both of Adelaide, South Australia, Stellar Pelargonium 'Judy Swinbourne' was introduced in 1962.  He named it for Judy, wife of Robert F G Swinbourne, F.L.S. Botanic Gardens, Adelaide, South Australia.

I have admired this plant on my several visits to my family who live in Adelaide.  It is a good show plant and is often seen on the show bench of the South Australian Geranium & Pelargonium Society Inc annual show. 'Judy Swinbourne' has double salmon pink flowers with typical narrow petals and star shaped leaves.

Not a lot happening in the garden this week. Just a bit of weeding and tidying.  I have been on a mission to rescue elderly pelargoniums!   I should really have done this at the end of last summer, but as always, time gets the better of me and some things just never get done.  So I was determined to take cuttings of plants that are well past their best and now have two trays each holding 24 cuttings in two small propagating units.

This time of year is a good time to take cuttings of coloured leaf pelargoniums - they always seem to root better in the spring.

The three (yes I have failed miserably with the seeds I sowed earlier this year) are looking good and I see they have roots beginning to appear through the Fertiss plug sleeves.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Popular Paton's Unique

 Paton's Unique
Unique pelargoniums are species hybrids. They are shrubby woody stemmed pelargoniums with lobed leaves which are often slightly scented.  As do most Uniques, Paton's Unique can grow quite large, so will need lots of pruning and shaping.   Paton’s Unique was introduced in 1890 and is still popular today.  The plant is very free flowering - my second photo shows the plant exhibited in the last B.P.G.S. Show at Capel Manor in 2008.   Paton's Unique has deep rose pink petals fading to pale pink/white in the centre and paler edges to the petals, which is most attractive.  The leaves are deeply lobed and with a slightly pungent scent.
I find that it grows well in a tub outside in the summer, but as with all the pelargonium family, it must be cut back and moved into frost-free conditions before the cold winter months set in. 

Despite the fine weather we have had recently, I have frustratingly been unable to get out in the garden due to other commitments.  I did spend some time watering and grooming the pelargoniums in the greenhouses on Sunday.  This was a long overdue task and they all look a lot perkier now.  I tend to keep my pelargoniums quite dry during the winter months and at this time of year I forget that the sun warms the greenhouses up quite a lot and the plants dry out much quicker than they would have done a month ago.