A blustery summer’s day

Pelargonium Marchioness of Bute

Pelargonium Marchioness of Bute

We’ve had restless blustery winds for 3 or 4 days now, the seeds from the birch trees are still swirling into the house through doorways and windows.

We’re part-way through my pelargonium and fuchsia year (I mainly forswore dahlias this year but loads made it through the winter in the ground anyway!). Both pelargoniums and fuchsias have yet to fully hit their stride.

I lost Pelargonium Lord Bute this year as the cuttings from last year hadn’t taken. He’s one of the ‘good taste’ pelargoniums, a rather smart single rich maroon with a fine pale pinkish edging to the petals. I bought quite a few pelargoniums this spring mainly from Fibrex Nurseries. I thought I’d give the Marchioness of Bute a whirl for a change, this regal is rather more flouncy than Lord Bute but I presume possibly wrongly they both were bred around the same time i.e. 1910 ish? Or at least have a relationship given the similar colouring.

I’ve also paired (for fun) the single intense red zonal pelargonium Lord Roberts with Heliotrope Lord Roberts presumably again bred in a similar time frame by someone’s head gardener. Although it seems heliotrope nomenclature is a bit confusing. Some say heliotropes Lord Roberts and The Speaker are the same, but Ian Cooke in Tender Perennials suggests The Speaker was bred in Suffolk and named after Lord Ullswater who was speaker of the House of Commons (1905 – 1921). Having just looked up Lord Roberts he was a Field Marshal and last commander-in-chief of the forces, a post abolished in 1901. So the two heliotropes may look the same or similar but it would appear the two gentlemen they are named for are entirely different. (You never know where these blogs will lead!)

Pelargonium Madame Nonin

Pelargonium Madame Nonin

Rather a sweetie dating to around 1870, gangly and tall in growth, the fingered leaves have a sugary medicinal scent. A search on google images shows quite a wide variation in the flower colour, Rix and Phillips in Conservatory Flowers (Vol 1) shows Madame Nonin as very dark pink. On balance I prefer this cleaner colour but again naming issues have seemingly crept in over the years.

Fuchsia Delicate White

Fuchsia Delicate White

This fuchsia from Other Fellow Fuchsias was introduced in 1994. The skirts are a pale dove grey which this photo doesn’t do justice to. The flowers are much larger than fuchsia Hawkshead which it resembles in passing if you can’t see them side-by-side. It’s said to be hardy to -15C.

Fuchsia Jester

Fuchsia Jester

I’m rather liking this one as well, Jester (1968) it’s still building up bush size and flower power, the colours are richer than the image shows here. The leaves are fine and the growth slender rather than blobby.

Night bloomers

I missed the first two side plate sized Queen of the Night, Epiphyllum oxypetalum flowering, caught 3 on Friday night the scent filling the greenhouse, I’ll have to wait a bit for a couple more buds to mature. They seem to be closing faster than they did last year, as in closed by 8:00AM rather than lingering. My Queen of the Night cactus (Selenecereus I think) has a bud for the first time this year – bet I miss it!

One of the new pelargonims, P laurencianum is night scented, similar in fragrance to Zaluzianskya capensis. I just caught Cestrum parqui on the cusp the other evening as the scent of the green flowers went from rank to sweet. I’m still trying and failing to find a happy place for tropical Cestrum nocturnum.

And finally – spot the snoozing cat!

Cat in Carex

Cat in Carex

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