I have a bit of a collecting habit, for plants that is. I love plants almost to the exclusion of all else and consequently find myself seeking out those rarities and commoners that I want to grow, and then adding their friends and other finds along the way. Why grow one colour when you can grow 5?
I hold a fairly serious collection of Iris, which until recently was classed a National Collection. After rather too much admin and expense I decided to keep the collection and ditch the title! I have a growing group of Dahlia (around 120 to date) and a few Peony varieties (20) though I’d love more. My latest fetish are scented Pelagoniums. Most of the are tender which in itself immediatley limits how many I can have as there are only so many available windows where they will thrive in the house. So I have 5 varieties and 8 plants – 3 for gifts I keep telling myself. The originals came from two sources, Sarah Raven’s online extravaganza and a Woottens of Wenhaston open day.
The varieties are Attar of Roses, Prince of Orange, Pink Capitatum, Sweet Mimosa and Lara Starshines a mix of citrussy and fragrant rosy. I decided on terracotta pots which may not have been the wisest as they dry out daily and need a constant stream of food and water. Last year I put my Attar of roses outside in the summer, in a large plastic pot, it thrived, grew huge and promptly died after coming inside in late autumn. Luckily I had cuttings. This year they are staying inside all summer and maybe allowed out next summer under very strict supervision and definitley with cuttings taken, just in case.
They bring a soft scent into the house but mostly, when they’re larger plants I use the foliage for flower arranging and sometimes for baking or preserving. Even a single leaf crushed in your fingers releases a heady scent, made all the richer by the heat of the day.