Six on Saturday

Over here in the Cotswolds, we are enjoying unseasonably warm weather which is extending the gardening year well beyond what we would normally expect. Yesterday, we took some friends to visit Bourton House Garden near Moreton-in-Marsh on a sunny, warm afternoon and we were in short sleeves!

Amongst the many unusual plants they display there, my favourite was ‘Poor Man’s Rhododendron’, Impatiens sodenii, the dramatic but frost tender perennial relative of Busy Lizzie, but huge, up to 8′ tall. Bourton House Garden was full of them in all colours.

The chrysanthemum I retrieved from my Grandad’s garden when he died in 1991 is still going strong and is now immortalised by a local nursery which propagates and sells it as Chrysanthemum ‘George Simons’. As tough as any hardy chrysanthemum can be, this very tall cultivar survived the attentions of my Grandad’s chickens during the second world war and is now spread around friends and family to keep it going.

I am the Plant Guardian of Chrysanthemum ‘Romantica’, a button chrysanth which went out of fashion many years ago but which is worth saving if only for its sheer exuberance at this time of year. It is smothered with hundreds of small pinky white flowers which shine through the gloom of an autumn day.

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ is beginning to open for her winter show. She will carry on flowering until February draping the arch with her waxy bells and shrugging off anything the weather throws at her.

Another Chrysanthemum local to the area is ‘Bretforton Road’ which, I believe, was found by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers literally growing on the roadside and named accordingly by him.

Finally for this weekend, a tray of self-sown Delphinium requienii seedlings dug out and potted up ready for next year. I have had a lot of interest in this plant since my friend Yvonne introduced it to me earlier this year. A biennial form which does not get eaten by slugs and snails. Tall spires of pinky mauve flowers in May and June make this a real winner.

Have a great weekend.


7 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. I love the Grandad’s Chrysanthemum, and remember what chickens can do to plants. So you have Romantica and I have Picasso as Guardians, mine in its first year is doing very well.

  2. I happened to have Judy Barker’s HPS booklet on chrysanthemums out because I’d put one in my six, so I looked up ‘Bretforton Road’, which she describes as cerise pink. Bob Brown on Cotswold Garden Flowers website describes it as bright purple alongside a picture of it which I would describe as pink. He also says it is a variety that was grown outside for generations in Badsey. I spent half of yesterday having similar discussions around the (mis)identities of sasanqua Camellias with a national collection holder. What a thing to take on, being a plant guardian for a few varieties is responsibility enough.

    • Hi Jim.
      Yes, I suppose it is a big responsibility but I enjoy the thought that I am helping to conserve species and cultivars from disappearing. I am a Plant Guardian for 5 endangered plants and also the National Plant Collection Holder of Tradescantia Andersoniana Group and Tradescantia virginiana cvrs.
      I have found that Chrysanths have a habit of changing colour over the years. They usually fade and can become quite washed out. I am not surprised that ‘Bretforton Road’ is different in appearance in different parts of the country and different soils. However, one variety I have had for 20 years never varies and is still as dark and gorgeous as ever.

    • Hi Piglet!
      Thanks for commenting on my post and for following my blog. This Delphinium requienii is commonly called ‘Requin’s Larkspur’ and is apparently quite rare although I don’t know why, it seeds itself everywhere! In fact, as well as the dozens of seedlings I am going to give away to unsuspecting friends, I still have some seeds I collected and I am sure they would grow well in Portugal if you would like some?
      Let me know if you want some seeds and I will figure out a way to get them to you.

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