Thursday 31 December 2015


The Pelargonium Register lists this as being a cross between “Mabel Grey” and, presumably, an unknown scented pelargonium.   The flowers are mauve with dark feathering on the top petals.   The serrated leaves of lime green colour have a strong lemon scent.  Introduced in the UK before 1979 by Bowie.

We are still experiencing very mild weather here in the South East of the UK.   It is extremely windy and damp.  We all feel for the folk up in the North of England and Scotland experiencing flood after flood.  I cannot imagine how it must be for them.  I can remember how I felt when we had our own garden floods a couple of years ago – I cannot imagine how it must be for your home to be flooded – not once, but three times.  Oh, I do hope these storms are over soon so they can get back to normal. 

I am keeping a sharp eye out in the greenhouses for aphids, having found clusters of greenfly on the primulas planted in an outside window box.   The botrytus seems to have gone – I am just finding the odd plant with a grey looking leaf – but I am being vigilant in removing all yellowing leaves.  

The greenhouses are very green looking g at this time of year, but there are a few with flowers and I thought you would like to see what is out just now

Caliente Fire - Dwarf zonal pelargonium

Charmay Ward - Stellar pelargonium

Win Ellison - Stellar pelargonium

Charmay Omega - Miniature Stellar pelargonium

Charmay Cocky - Basic Zonal pelargonium
Telstar - Miniature zonal pelargonium

Emmi - Stellar pelargonium


Saturday 19 December 2015

Henry Jonquet - Dwarf zonal pelargonium

Henry Jonquet - Dwarf zonal pelargonium

Dwarf zonal with red/purple coloured flowers above green leaves with a white margin.   The Pelargonium Register lists this as being introduced in 1900.  So it's a fairly old variety.
There's been a bit of a battle here so far this winter with damp conditions, although it has been so mild I have only had my heaters on overnight twice.  I do have bubble wrap up, but not on the fronts of the greenhouses.  That bit is so easy to put up that I leave it off as long as I can in order to let more light into the greenhouses.  This year is the latest I have ever left it off.
Every day I am out in the greenhouse picking off mouldy leaves and anything that looks as if it is ‘going over’.   I also had a day recently taking off many of the larger leaves in order to maintain more air space around each plant.  
Watering is also being done  far more frequently at this time of year. Usually I find I can get away with ten days or so, even two weeks, but not this year!    I am watering weekly, sometimes twice a week if I spot a very dry looking plant.  I wonder if this is the way things are going to be in future?

Monday 30 November 2015

Dwarf Zonal Pelargonium "Mary Spink" and "The Potted Guide to Pelargoniums"

Mary Spink - Dwarf Gold leaf zonal pelargonium
This dwarf double zonal pelargonium with light gold foliage and beautiful ball shaped salmon coloured flowers, is named for Mary Spink.    Raised by Roberts c.1977

Mary is a well known nursery woman (now retired) and author of “The Potted Guide to Pelargoniums”.  This is a really informative booklet and well worth getting hold of if you can.  There is a wealth of information inside on growing all varieties of the pelargonium family, from Miniatures to Species.  There are sections on taking cuttings, hygiene, pests and disease and caring for your plants over winter. There is also an excellent chapter on how to grow a standard pelargonium.  My own book is now very well used and I never tire of reading it.  Mary also drew all the illustrations in her book– a talented lady indeed!

Sunday 8 November 2015

Regal Pelargonium "Georgia Peach"

"Georgia Peach" - Regal Pelargonium

 “Georgia Peach”.     Surely there is no one who cannot love the delicate colour of this Regal Pelargonium?    Introduced in the USA by Wm Schmidt in 1969.  There are seven pale peach petals, and is said to look particularly good under electric light for cut flower work.  Dark green leaves.

Here in the UK the weather has been damp and blustery, but still mild, so no need for heaters yet.   I open the greenhouse doors daily, but now we have moved the hour back, it gets darker earlier so the doors are closed mid-afternoon usually.  We had one very wet day with heavy rain and high winds, so the doors remained firmly shut for that day.   

Saturday 31 October 2015

Stellar Pelargonium "Kelly Brougham" and a visit to RHS Gardens, Wisley

A miniature gold leaf stellar raised by Brian West and introduced through Sulman’s Nursery.  The double flowers are a very pale pink, almost white in colour.  This is a cross between Mini Diane and Arctic Glitter.

The following are some photo’s taken at our visit to RHS Gardens, Wisley last weekend.

This is Melasequoia glyptostroboide - a cyprus from Central China -

- which has wonderful and fascinating bark

A view across the pond

Nerine's in the Glasshouse - most were nearly over, but I found these looking good.

Just two pelargoniums in the Glasshouse - P. ionidiflorum

P. transvaalense

Cactus and succulent displays

 Beautiful ferns unfolding


 Some views across the gardens

The Alpine House

Saturday 24 October 2015

Dwarf zonal pelargonium "Milden" - cuttings and bubblewrapping

This striking dwarf zonal was hybridised by Ray Bidwell and introduced in 1981.  The flowers are single, white with red splashes and stripes and look stunning set against gold and zoned foliage.

I have had this bottle of rooting gel for a couple of years now but never used it.   I usually use either the Fertiss plugs – now almost used up and not able to purchase more – coir plugs, or seed and cutting compost.    Just before my sister arrived from Australia in mid September I needed to take some cuttings but worried about striking them in the usual way.  We were also going to be away for several days and my husband would not have a clue as to how to deal with them.    So ….I opened the bottle of rooting gel.   I had some empty bio drink bottles and poured in a small measure of the gel into two. I prepared four zonal pelargoniums in the usual way, just a little longer,  and just inserted them into the gel, two in each bottle.  I left the two bottles in a shaded corner of the conservatory.    Earlier this week I gently pulled the cuttings from the gel and was delighted to find they had roots.  The instructions say they can be left in the gel until ready to pot them, but as soon as the roots are a bit longer I will pot them up in the usual way.    I removed the stipules from the end of the cuttings, but left the ones at the top as I usually do if they are still green.  I noticed they had turned brown which they don’t when rooted as normal.   So, when I took a few more cuttings this week I removed all the stipules.   I will use this gel again - it is useful in situations when going to be absent from home and needing to take just a few cuttings, but it would be expensive if used solely as a means of rooting pelargoniums, or any other plant for that matter.   The bottle of rooting gel was purchased at RHS Wisley Gardens Plant Centre, so when I am next there will see if I can get another bottle.  

Roots after four weeks

Roots a week later - these cuttings are now potted up.

I've also bubble-wrapped the greenhouses in readiness for the cold winter weather.