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.