Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Black Primula and a Stinker out of Season

Iris foetidissima "Citrina" blooming in mid-November? Have we all gone mad because that wasn't a one-off, just the nicest and least out of focus (I was bursting for a wee and even auto focus has its limits)
How is it that a plant nursery can be on the phone checking details of your order and have it delivered next day, yet the ones sent, by different nurseries, in August (!) and 17 days ago go missing? I know! It's because the nurseries whose large, cardboard-box-full-of-plants sized parcels, marked "Living plants, please so not leave in warehouse until November" used the Royal Mail. And the tracking number will only be activated in their system when the parcel is delivered. So it's not a tracking number at all, it's proof of delivery. And their website is the most unhelpful maze of shite with their virtual customer services assistant clearly having been trained by Tesco. And don't get me started on the phone, if you can find the number. It's like trying to call Ryanair!

Anyway, this is meant to be about the joys of botany, not the misery of shit customer services from huge, inefficient, need a lot of thinning out, companies. I got a delivery today: Actually, I got three so far. One was a CD/DVD drive for my new Macbook Air, so you don't care about that. In the post came some seeds ordered on ebay yesterday (top marks Plant World of Newton Abbott who included a free packet despite the fact I'd only ordered one other! Iris colchesterensis is not a new species discovered in a rocky ravine in Colchester but a pleasantly black(ish) and white form of laevigata (basically the sort of thing I was slagging off the other day. How true it comes we shall see in a year or three but Plant World Seeds seem like a pretty professional operation so I'm optimistic one of the eight will look like the pic that caught my eye. They are currently soaking in water anyway or we'll never know.

You can see why it caught my eye. A curio rather than a beauty. © Nicky's Nursery

Anyway, the main delivery was from my chums at Kevock Garden Plants. If you grow any of the sorts of things that get me excited you should check them out online. Well packed, as ever, I tore into the box of goodies...

First out was a funky little Iris, ruthenica var . nana.

It should, in a few months, look something like this. Nice!

Next up was a freebie (are there no ends to which these lovely people at this wonderful company will go to please?). It says "Iris chrysographes cf", so I'm assuming it's an unidentified species or hybrid that looks like chrysographes, which with clarkei, bulleyana and probably some I've forgotten (wilsonii, but it's very yellow and the rest are blue or purple but all have a distinctive flower shape with almost no standards and pronounced falls, almost perpendicular to the ground, like so:

I could have gone for the black form but that would have been too easy. Only next summer will tell, or at least provide an indication.
Next out of the box:
Lewisia "Little Peach"

 And for my next trick:
Another! cotyledon "Bright Eyes"
And providing the collar of grit I'm about to put round their necks does its jobs and prevents any rotting they should end up like this:

Nice! I've kind of neglected foot level plants (apart) from copious amounts of bulbs and these should go some way to addressing that little oversight.

Dianths "Annette"

Next up: A dianthus. I used to collect these by the tonne, delighting in my 12-year-old ability to pronounce grationopolitanus (the Cheddar Pink). This is a little hybrid that just grabbed my eye in the catalogue because in the photo you couldn't see any foliage, just bloom. It looked something like this:

In fact, this is the very picture from Kevock!
Next out it's Iris Wilsonii which I've always wanted but never owned, until  now!

That'll do nicely!
Anything else?
A healthy looking Iris graminaea, the Plum Iris. I grew this from seed but never saw it flower, my visits to Scotland never coinciding with it blooming and then when mum died the gardener didn't know it from grass and so...

Worth the 20-year wait. Remind me not to go on holiday in April.

Now this is a weird one: a black primula. Not like an auricula but a recently discovered species (2006!) called Primula euprepes SDR6036. So I thought, I'll have one of those.

Nice to end on a high note, no matter how weird!

Happy gardening folks, and don't forget to register if you like what you see! The Plantboy x


  1. Now that black primula has got me jealous!!!

  2. Iris graminaea is so pretty!

  3. Kinda cool, huh? I just spotted it in the catalogue as I was making up the order to the minimum sum so I slung it in and slung quite a lot out! It was £12 but worth every penny. If it lives

  4. Iris gramineae is gorgeous but has the annoying habit of holding its flowers low in the foliage. But if that's its worst habit I'll be marrying it come spring

  5. Interesting site (I've just checked them out). Hope you're on a commision, as they'll be getting some of my money!
    Had to laugh when I opened your page up - one of the Googleads at the top was, and I quote......"
    Parcel Tracking Your Direct & Efficient Courier Service. Call Interparcel Now"
    Made me chuckle anyway!!!

  6. Woah, fabulous Primula, they may be black but I'm green! Plant World Seeds have some super stuff, ordered from them before, all hardy and I'm sowing them very soon to stratify naturally. Will also sow my I. gramineae seed you advised me about