I’m not going to the mat for Nemesias. They are pretty little things; my life would be a desolate, echoing empty place without them, if you’ll forgive the hyperbole but if they have a perfume it is usually elusive and detection risks inhalation of bees going about their lawful business. To provide for the missing or dangerous dimension I use scented leaved Pelargoniums, having garnered a collection of P. tomentosum (peppermint), “Attar Of Roses” (Turkish delight) and an un-named apple fragranced variety. I take cuttings every year, as well as nursing the parent plants through the vagaries of an English winter. Although propagation is relatively easy, I find every year that passes increases my chances of success. Another decade and I’ll be pressing plants into your hands, whether you want them or not. Recently Botanical Barbara presented me with a sturdy P. tomentosum “Chocolate Peppermint”, which has a similar fresh aroma and a striking leafy blotch. I’ve been lusting after it for a very long time and would have considered a number of immoral, possibly illegal pursuits to get one, so my gratis gift takes pride of place on a sunny windowsill.
Paeonia lactiflora “Bowl of Beauty” (Japanese peony)
Osteospermum “Violet Ice” was a handsome and eye-catching part of last year’s show, a discreet tinge of lilac froth to leaven the swath of well dressed white. I managed to strike some but they are strange, bent looking specimens, best relegated to the side of a mixed container full of other annuals, where they may straighten up and fly right, or be subsumed by Petunias. This year’s crop from my local nursery includes O. “Voltage White” which looks daisyish enough during the day, then closes in twilight to reveal the back of petals of a glowing, fascinating shade of delicious, delicate yellow. If I have to bust my buns in the effort and end up sleeping with them on my bedside table, I’m going to keep some of these going for the future. Clearly, I need more practice.
This year’s annuals
The Auriculas have been demoted to a verdant sideshow around Grandma’s antique oval trough. They gave me a wonderful display of lustrous spring colour, strange green blooms and flowers dusted with floury white farina. I’ve rewarded good behaviour with a sprinkling of fish, blood and bone fertiliser. Until autumn they will spend their vacation soaking up the sun, with weekly watering to keep them plump. Much like my honoured ancestor, they are little trouble as long as they are irrigated correctly. I’ll re-pot next spring, to encourage them in their efforts.
Zantedeschia aethiopica (arum lily) & bee
In the vegetable plot, Cineraria germinated every pip in her packet of courgettes. She’s planning to supply the zucchini needs of the whole of her city and has kindly donated some seedlings for my hot box. I’ve planted them in a heaping helping of well rotted compost, where I hope that they will simmer in the rising heat of decomposing weeds beneath. My daughter has also provided some patty pan squash, which I should have been expecting but wasn’t. I’m alarmed at the size of the damned things and the speed with which the stems are growing. I fear that I shall have to take up some more lawn in order to accommodate them and can only hope that the internet has a few recipes and my freezer is big enough to hold them. If there is no blog next week, you’ll know that I can no longer get in my own door.