Sunday, 28 September 2014

The national pelargonium collection 2/2

This is the second part of a long blog post. Please click here to read Part 1.

Pelargonium 'Shannon', hybridissed in Califonia by Jay Kapac
Crossing two species results in a species (or primary) hybrid. This category contains two of my absolute favourite pelargoniums, Pelargonium'Shannon', which I’ve waffled on about before (here). It’s quite a relaxed, almost straggly plant, with bright green foliage and small flowers of a colour often described as salmon pink, although I think the pink is a shade or two cooler than that would suggest. The markings in a deeper pink at the base of each petal are quite a feature. A great choice for containers.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The national pelargonium collection 1/2

To Fibrex Nurseries today, the home of a the national pelargonium collection, which I’ve been intending to visit for some time. It could be argued that it’s a bit late in the year to visit a collection comprising largely summer flowering perennials but, like most people, I’m at the mercy of my diary and today was the first opportunity in a long while that I’ve had to make the trip. To tell the truth, it wasn’t a source of bother to me; I’m such an enthusiastic fan of this particular genus that the foliage and the growth habit of the individual specimens promised to hold as much fascination for me as the flowers – more, if I’m honest.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Covered in bees*

The alliterative first line of Keats’ ode To Autumn gets bandied about with predicatable regularity at this time of year. And quite rightly too; it may be bordering upon cliché, but were there a more apt, evocative or economic description of the time of year now being ushered in than “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, I’m sure we’d all be using it. But, for the past week or so, it’s the passage at the end of the first stanza that I keep thinking of, those lines that describe the bees making the absolute most of the late-season flowers, drunk on nectar and basking in the late sun before returning to hives dripping with honey after the summer’s generosity.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The daily barrow

Imagine if your wheelbarrow could talk. What stories would it have to tell? Mine gets thrown about, wheeled up and down planks and onto heaps and bonfires, and filled with everything from tools to compost, large rocks to loads of sand, steaming horse manure to the windblown petals from the rose garden. As my ever-present companion, I think it’s well placed to be able to give a fairly accurate and detailed account of how I go about the daily business of gardening.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Big daisies

Early September; sun-warmed days, cooler nights, and moisty mornings of mists and plants dripping with dew. This is the month when the romantic notion of the gardener you wish to be can collide head-on with the stark reality of the gardener you are. Having occupied myself over the past few months fighting a series of losing battles against foes including greedy molluscs, disappointing compost (I really must sort that out – too much unrotted wood in a lot of the peat free jobbies, locking up all the nitrogen) and a general inability to make the most of limited time, it’s now getting a bit too late in the year for even the most heroic of my efforts to make much difference to this year’s garden. I find myself on the brink of thinking that, with the growth rate now slowing markedly, the most I can hope for is to make the place look a bit tidier and, having concluded that such a dour state of mind is neither helpful nor particularly enjoyable, I opt instead for a course of retail therapy.