Thursday 19 May 2011

Scented pelargonium 'Filicifolium'

Scented Pelargonium 'Filicifolium'

Leaves of Scented Pelargonium 'Filicifolium'

One of the most unusual members of scented family of pelargoniums is P. Filicifolium.  Striking because of it's unusual leaves which are large and very incised, almost fern-like.  It has a tacky feel when touched and the scent is of balsam. Some say this is unpleasant, but I don't find it so.   It has few flowers, and those it does have are smallish and pale mauve with the usual feathering on the top two petals.  The plant grows tall on a woody stem.  Pelargonium 'Filicifolium' has been in cultivation since around 1805-1809.

I am told that P. Filicifolium is much sought after by florists for its fern-like leaves, and also because the stems do not  need wiring.

I had the most wonderful day at Fibrex Nursery, Nr Straford upon Avon, on Sunday.   A few pelargonium enthusiasts gather there each year to chat about our favourite plants.   It is a really enjoyable day.   The National Collection of Pelargoniums, which is housed at Fibrex Nursery, was looking particularly good and Fibrex Nursery are to be congratulated for the wonderful care they take of the collection.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Pelargonium cotyledonis

The flowers on my plant of P. cotyledonis are just going over, but it has been in flower for the past month.    Pure white flowers with regular shaped petals, and heart shaped leaves which are glossy and heavily veined.    The stem and branches are thick, stubby and covered in brown stipules.  The last picture shows my plant two years ago last August.  You will see some of the lower leaves beginning to die off.  Eventually they all turn a reddish brown and fall.  The plant is dormant over the winter months, just a stem with branches.  About six weeks ago I noticed buds on the ends of the branches.  Now the flowers are going over, I can see signs of new leaves.

P. cotyledonis was introduced to Kew in 1765 by John Bush.  It is endemic to the rocky cliffs on the island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic.   It was, at one time, almost lost due to wild goats roaming the island.  Fortunately Kew Conservation unit is halting this decline.   Known as 'old man live forever' P. cotyledonis is unique, having been separated geographically from the rest of the genus and has had to adapt to the conditions on the isolated St. Helena.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Birdbush Eleanor - you either like her or you don't!

Birdbush Eleanor

Personally, I am not keen on the spotted pelargoniums, but Birdbush Eleanor is quite striking with bright red spotted and striped petals.  There are many who really like these types.  Birdbush Eleanor is a semi-double dwarf pelargonium with attractively zoned green leaves on a strong growing plant.

Birdbush is the prefix for plants hybridised by Brian White of Barnfield Pelargoniums, Tamworth in Staffordshire.  The nursery specialises in scented pelargoniums and Brian has introduced many scented types.  Unfortunately the nursery does not have a website,  but details of how to contact the nursery can be found on the side of this page.

Friday 6 May 2011

Pelargonium Petite Blanche and a Dorset garden visit

Zonal Pelargonium Petite Blanche
Petite Blanche is not seen much these days, but I love it for its femininity.  Very unusual and pretty double flower heads of both pink and white on the same stem.  This is a zonal pelargonium, with a very feint zone on the green leaves. Petite Blanche was introduced by Greybridge Nurseries in the UK in 1978.

We went to Bournemouth for a few days earlier in the week to celebrate the wedding anniversary of Brian's cousin Sue and her husband Malcolm.   One of the places we visited was Compton Acres.  This is a privately owned garden, open to the public, which was created by Thomas William Simpson in the 1920's.    

The Grand Italian Garden

The Rock Garden

A great combination of tightly packed Bellis with Tulips
View to the Heather Garden
Views across to Brownsea Island on right and Purbeck Hills on left
I loved this cheeky Dragon 'guarding' the Japanese Garden