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 - www.fibrex.co.uk  

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!