In horticultural circles, new varieties are released with a fanfare of publicity. But we all make mistakes, even plant breeders.
Lilies are often grown for cutting but their ample pollen has an unfortunate way (from a human-centric viewpoint) of staining paintwork and wedding dresses. In double lilies, the pollen-bearing parts (anthers) have mutated to extra petals, removing the problem. So in the last few years, several companies have been marketing double forms of Lilium orientalis as Roselilies, Lotus lilies or Double Orientals.
When I photographed Lilium ‘Roselily Samantha’ a couple of years ago, I noticed that some of the blooms had a curious blunt look before they were fully open, caused by incurved petals at the centre. I liked the effect, although it reminded me more of a bromeliad than a rose. The upper petals had a tendency to open over the tops of the previous layer rather than to overlap as a double rose would. Continue reading “Not All Plants That Glitter Are Gold”
A plant breeder has the unenviable task of deciding which hybrids to keep and which to discard. The nearest a photographer comes to that experience is when we are in a garden exploring a collection of hybrid plants, deciding which forms to capture.
The nodding habit of most hellebore hybrids forces us to bend and balance as we make our deliberations, lifting each flower head and looking inside. As a general rule, the more regular a pattern, the more photogenic the flower if we are aiming for a fresh look rather than artistic decay, but there are exceptions. Continue reading “Assessing The Beauty Of Hellebore Hybrids”
After writing my last post it occurred to me that I might have the chance to realise my long-held ambition and go to an auricula show. It was a timely thought: the N.A.P.S.’s Northern Section’s auricula show was held at Kingsway School in Cheadle on Saturday. Visitors were ‘warmly welcomed’ from 2 o’clock onwards, so I headed on down. Bargain hunters may like to note there was no admission fee and a whole table of cakes were being offered at the knockdown price of £1 per slice.
In the hall, people were peering at rows of circus plants with button shaped flowers in bright, bold colours decorated with rings, stripes, powder, and fancy edges.
Heyrick Greatorex, our first known snowdrop breeder, was responsible for a series of hybrids known as the Greatorex doubles. Unlike the common, bee-made, short, dumpling-style nivalis doubles, Greatorex’s doubles dangle large, skirted flowers from tall scapes. Introduced during the 1940s and 50s (Heyrick Greatorex died in 1954), their vigour has carried most of them through to today… or so we think!
Many of the plants that most catch my eye have something majestic about them. In this case it’s the rich yellow flowers held horizontally along single-sided stems that taper down in a showy arc. Each individual floret is unmistakably a lily with its stamens and stigmas flung out in invocation. Buds tier beneath, patiently await their turn in the spotlight. Continue reading “Crocosmia masoniorum ‘Rowallane Yellow’ AGM”
At the UK flower shows, you might find me hovering, hypnotised, iPhone in hand, before an offering of cape primroses. Dibleys Nurseries (awarded Master Grower status by the RHS at this year’s Cardiff Flower Show) can be relied upon to showcase a wonderful collection in tip top condition, as 150 coveted RHS gold medals can testify.
After many decades of breeding, a fashion parade would seem the perfect collective noun for them. If you want your flowers to have fancy netting, streaks, veins, lines or edging, different coloured lobes or throats, or frilly petals, these are the ones to audition. Let’s face it, just one cultivar can pretty much do it all. Continue reading “A Streptocarpus Fashion Parade (Cape Primroses)”