Friday, 26 July 2019

PAGS Annual Show 2019

PAGS Annual Show 2019

My friend Anne, from Sweden, and I were invited to stay for the weekend at Fibrex Nurseries, where the Pelargonium & Geranium Society (PAGS) were once again holding their Annual National Show.  Anne arrived here on a Wednesday evening, and we travelled up to Fibrex together the next day.  We spent Friday helping the staff at the nursery get ready for the show - setting up tables and chairs, sweeping out glasshouses, and trying not to get in the way.

I had 'volunteered' Anne to Steward at the show.  This is something I like to do and as we were short of Stewards, I volunteered her.  She was very happy to do this and as I thought, felt it was a great experience to see how the judges here judge the plants.  So very early - 8.15 am - we were both in the show tent ready for the judging to start at 8.30.  Basically, a Steward, usually two, goes around with a judge to assist and to take the award tickets to the Show Secretary's desk for the marks to be collated.  I find it very interesting.  You can learn a lot from the judge and I have certainly gained a lot from the experience over the years.

This is Hardy Geranium Orkney Rose which won Best in Show and was exhibited by Robert Barclay and Tom Kirkland

Anne Hammarqvist from Sweden stewarding for the Judge (David Newman)

Anne with two visitors from Norway - Eli and Heidi

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Zonal Pelargonium "Carmel" - and my method of taking cuttings

"Carmel" zonal pelargonium
 There are two zonal pelargoniums named "Carmel" in the International Pelargonium Register. This one was introduced by Schmidt in the USA before 1939 and is a sport from 'Alice of Vincennes'.  The single white flowers are edged in cherry red, making this a most attractive and distinctive flower.

I have been a bit busy this past month.  I did not cut back all of my pelargoniums in the autumn, so I have been catching up now. This does mean I will miss out on some early flowers this year, but they should catch up later in the year. 

So having cut back the plants means I have also been taking cuttings and I wanted to show you what
I have been using quite successfully for the past year. 

The cutting medium I use is more or less 50/50 coir and vermiculite.  I use a coir brick which I soak in water and when it has soaked up the water and looks just dampish I add vermiculite and mix to together.  If I don't use it all and it dries out I can reconstitute it easily with some more water.

The containers I use are 2" Net Pots - mainly used for hydroponics or aquatics. The pots are very cheap and easy to obtain on eBay.   I find these easy to fill and they come with a tray to hold them in the propagator.  The advantage for me is that I can see when the cuttings are rooted.  If you look at the photo you can see the roots that are searching for water.

Whether I use any hormone on the cutting really depends on what I am taking a cutting of, and time of year.   In summer for zonals I rarely use anything - just pop them in the pots.  I sometimes use Clonex, but most often I use White Willow Bark Powder, which can be ordered online.

Please let me know in the comments your own tried and tested method of taking cuttings.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Regal Pelargonium "Anne Hoystead"

The dark red upper petals and slightly deeper red lower petals of regal pelargonium "Anne Hoystead" look stunning with the sun shining on them.     "Anne Hoystead" was raised in Australia in 1982 by the late Des Saddington.

I've been potting on rooted cuttings and taking more cuttings.   Time ran out for me at the end of last summer and I didn't cut back as many plants as I should have.  So, I am ashamed to say I have a lot, yes a lot, of very leggy plants. So these are the ones I have been taking cuttings from.   I might get flowers on them later in the year.   I'll let you now.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Gold leaf Stellar Pelargonium "Staplers"

Gold leaf Stellar pelargonium "Staplers"

My friend Anne in Sweden gave me this a couple of years ago and it flowered for the first time last year.   It really is very attractive.  Raised by Brian West, Staplers is across between "Sandown" and "Golden Glitter" and was introduced by Warrenorth Nursery.

I have been busy potting on the cuttings I took late last year and some I took earlier this year.   This is the time of year I always feel I should get another greenhouse (I have two).  Plants are packed far too closely and I long for warmer days when I can put some of them outside or into one or both of the small plastic greenhouses.

Also, I have been putting edging around one of the vegetable beds.  The previous edging rotted away and needed replacing.    I find I have far too much soil in these two beds so I have been slowly distributing around the rest of the garden.   I am looking forward to growing vegetables this year now that the dreaded Leylandii are gone.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Scented Pelargonium "Welling" and trip to Sweden

"Welling" Scented leaf pelargonium
I grow "Welling" in a large pot outside in the summer.   As she grows quite large she is ideally suited to this with her large cerise-pink flowers with dark feathering on the upper petals.  The leaves have a dark blotch and have an unusual scent which is not unpleasant.     Raised in the UK by Mrs Popperwell.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Sweden with Ursula Key-Davis, of  Fibrex Nurseries and President of The Pelargonium & GeraniumSociety    We had been invited by our friend Anne to stay for the weekend and to visit the Sune Trygg nursery.   Sune Trygg is a large pelargonium nursery in Sweden and is open early in the year especially for members of the Swedish pelargonium societies and groups.   After making our purchases at the nursery, we visited another pelargonium enthusiast who had invited local pelargonium society members for a light lunch.  She also had some plants for sale,

Sadly we had to leave early afternoon on the Sunday, but Ursula and I had a wonderful time.  All our purchases arrived home in good condition and are now growing away in our greenhouses.

Note:  At the present time it is perfectly permissible to freely carry plants between all European borders.  However, this is likely to change after the UK leaves the European Union. 

Sales area - just look at all those "Excaliburs" - 

Sales area

Growing area

First Love
Growing area

Growing area

Growing area

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Angel Pelargonium "Darmsden"

Angel Pelargonium "Darmsden" raised by Ray Bidwell and introduced before 1983.  I don't grow many Angel Pelargoniums and this is one I photographed in the National Collection of Pelargoniums at Fibrex Nurseries.

This last week I have been potting on the cuttings taken at the end of last summer.  I guess there is about a 90% success rate, so not bad.  I have, though, lost one plant I did not want to lose, but that happens.  I also took some cuttings of a few angel pelargoniums and coloured leaf zonals, and they are in the propagator with heat.

I am going to visit a pelargonium nursery in Sweden this weekend.   Last time I went I brought back a suitcase full of plants, albeit a small carry-on suitcase    I don't anticipate bringing back as many - I really don't have a lot of space in the greenhouse.

I will report on my trip to Sweden next time.

Monday, 4 February 2019

"Deerwood Darling" - Miniature Zonal Pelargonium

"Deerwood Darling" is a miniature zonal pelargonium with flowers of an unusual shade of pink - a sort of apricot, salmon and pink, depending on the light.   The growth is compact and dense and makes a good show plant as it blooms profusely.  

Hybridised by Faye Brawner and introduced in the USA in 1992.

This is one of my absolute favourite miniature pelargoniums and I last posted this at the end of 2011 -gosh! I didn't realise I had been running this Blog that long.  The photo has disappeared so I thought I would re-post it. 

If anyone has not seen Liga's excellent videos of her visit to Fibrex Nurseries 60th anniversary weekend last year, here are the links to Parts 2 and 3

Sunday, 27 January 2019

"Alex Kitson" Dwarf Zonal Pelargonium

Dwarf zonal pelargonium "Alex Kitson"

I think I got this last year at the plant sale held each year at ThePelargonium & Geranium Society Annual General Meeting.  As most of the plants are, it was a good size and soon flowered in my greenhouse.   It very quickly because last year's favourite and I am looking forward to it flowering this year.

Raised by Keith Kitson and introduced c1990, the large flower heads have semi-double flowers of a beautiful soft pink with slightly darker feathering to the centre of the petals.  The plant is short-jointed and compact.

I am not sure that I shared the link to Liga's YouTube video of her visit to Fibrex Nurseries Weekend show last year.     Do take a look.   

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Angel Pelargonium "Billie Barnes"

I have very few Angel Pelargoniums just now, but of the few I do have "Billie Barnes" is one of my favourites.   Raised by Jim Zemcik, USA.    The flowers have three lower petals of white with very pale feathering, and the top petals are a deep pink lightly edged with white.    I find this has a lax growing habit, which makes it ideal for a hanging pot.

The latest magazine, Pelargonium & Geranium News, from The Pelargonium & Geranium Society, has now been published.     This edition features articles by Ursula Key-Davis of Fibrex Nurseries on growing Ivy Leaf Pelargoniums.  Another interesting article by Fibrex Nurseries is about Genetics.  Plus articles about Regal pelargonium hybridist Nicola Stemp, and a member tells us how he grows his pelargoniums 'cold'.