Summer has finally arrived and the garden is full of blooms especially the Pelargonium species, with many butterflies, bees, lizards and our latest visitor a slow worm who remains hidden in our stone wall.
P. peltatum (pink form & pale purplish pink form) are flowering well this year, a lovely trailing pelargonium which grows in hanging baskets, they have rounded fleshy leaves and can range in colour from white, pink or pale purple.
Pelargonium australe has also just started to flower with its lovely long flowering stems and white blooms, native to Australia. This plant grows well in a pot or planted in the garden in full sun to part shade.
Another is Pelargonium odoratissimum which has soft velverty heart shaped apple scented leaves and small white flowers.
Pelargonium mollicomum has recently opened its creamy white flowers with thin purple lines, it is another pelargonium which grows well in hanging baskets and beneath taller shrubs
Unfortunately Pelargonium hispdum has not flowered yet, maybe because it was suffered in the harsh winter weather. But possibly it will flower a little later in Summer hopefully.
We try to leave in as much wild flowers as possible for bees and butterflies which come from neighbouring land, the milk thistle which has light purple flowers especially attracts many types of butterflies. The swallowtail butterflies prefer fennel and lay their eggs on the leaves. The many lizards like to hide under shrubs such as the rosemary and other herbs.
Others include Pelargonium abrotanifolium, P. greytonense, P. scabrum & P. quercifolium.
we now have fresh seeds of P. odoratissmum- apple scented leaf & P. grossularioides- fruit scented leaf
We wish all our customers and followers a happy Easter. Or to celebrate the arrival of spring with the growth of plants, flowers and the spouting of new seedlings. Greek Orthodox Easter is from April 22nd to the 25th The postal service will remain closed during this time and all orders will be kept back until they can be dispatched.
This week we have been planting and re-potting Pelargoniums, giving them fresh soil and organic fertiliser to encourage growth as they are coming up to flower. A few have just began to bloom such as the P. denticulatum which has balsam scented triangular finely divided leaves and pinkish purple flowers, this plant is a bushy like shrub which grows fairly large when planted in the garden usually under tall trees.
Unfortunately one of P. denticulatum plants which we have had for several years has died after the harsh snowy weather, but luckily it has naturally produced new ones next to it which are growing well, we also have a few in pots which have been re-potted.
The young plant Pelargonium grandiflorum has also just been re-potted and is growing well, it has not flowered yet, but when mature it has beautiful large creamy white flowers which can also vary in colour from purple to pink with dark markings.
Another is Pelargonium cucullatum, this form is believed to have baby pink flowers which was grown from seed from South Africa and has just been planted under a very old olive tree.
Other pelargoniums include
Pelargonium mollicomum- pineapple scented leaf grown in a pot
The new plant Pelargonium multibracteatum is doing well and has some new leaf growth on its thick stems.
It has spreading branches and slightly scented light green circular leaves, lobed with rounded margins and purple zoned. When in bloom the flowers are white with a slight shade of pink at the center, and each flowering stalk bears up to 10 flowers.
The name multibracteatum refers to the numerous bracts of this plant and is native to East Africa, Tanzania to Ethiopia where it grows to about 30 cm in height under the section Cironium.
There may be a delay with the dispatch of orders at this time due to temporary suspension of the Elta Hellenic post (problem with the IT system.) But hopefully it will be resolved in the coming days.
We are currently working on seed packet designs of all pelargonium species available in our store. They contain a small but detailed description of each plant with a outline drawing of the flower & leaves.
The Sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, commonly grown in fields throughout the country & facing east towards the sun, as its intensifying light illuminates the golden flowers and projects its powerful energy. In traditional folklore it is a symbol of warmth & the sun’s healing power, a highly cherished flower by the Ukrainian people who often wore or embroidered them into their clothing to deter negative energies and bring good health & luck. Sunflower designs were also added to furniture, fabric and wall paintings. The bright golden sunflowers against the blue sky is also said to represent the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Sunflowers are tall upright annuals which grow to about 300 cm/120 inches in height and are member of the daisy family believed to make your day a happy one. Its large yellow flower represents the sun and the disk in the center contains lots of small flowers which attract many insects for pollination because of its warmth as it tilts towards the sun.
Sunflowers were introduced to Ukraine during the 18th century by Peter the Great and they have adjusted well to the hot dry conditions, especially with the creation of the cultivar ‘sunny’. The country is now one of the leading suppliers of sunflower oil from around the globe. Sunflower seeds are also extremely popular in food during lent, and were accepted by the Orthodox church during this fast.
But now as war rages in Ukraine, sunflowers are now being used as a symbol of peace and resistance, worn, planted or used as a symbol of protest in honour to the people of Ukraine, to the thousands of people who have lost their homes, family members, those fighting in war, or for whose who have left their country as refugees.
P. capitatum is a beautiful elegant pelargonium with delicate trailing stems which can look stunning in large pots. The attractive leaves are soft ovate & crinkled with a rose scent and bears lovely 10-12 mauve-pink flowers. The highly scented perfume of rose released from its soft ovate leaves is simply beautiful when added to potpourri, fragrant pillows, or to add flavour to food & beverages such as cakes, desserts, pastry, sugar, bread, chocolates, jelly, jam, ice cream, ice cubes, rice pudding, syrup, salads tea, cocktails, lemonade, fruit drinks and much more. Finger bowls with scented leaves were placed on the table during meals by the Victorians to keep their hand clean during each course. The Victorian sponge cake was also very popular during the 1800’s when scented leaves were added to the base of a tin with the mix added on top before baking, then removed when cool. Rose or graveolens leaves were added to a regular sponge mix and P. tomentosum- peppermint-scented leaves to the chocolate flavoured sponge. The flowers can be candied and used to decorate cakes, they are edible and can look very attractive.
Other scented leaf pelargoniums such as P. crispum, P. quercifolium, P. graveolens, P. tomentosum & P. citronellum which all have their own unique scented leaf fragrance can also be added to food & drinks as well as a several hybrids that are related to these species. They can also be added to towels to keep its freshness and help to deter moths. Essential oil is extracted from its leaves and is often used in aromatherapy, candles, soap, perfume and skincare products. The soft leaves can also be applied to the hands to soften hard skin and scratches.
Attar of roses is a popular cultivar of P. capitatum, the pinnately lobed leaves have a stronger rose scent and are rougher in texture with fine hairs, the flowers are also smaller & pinker in colour. Attar means highly perfumed in Persian and refers to its strong rose-like scent on the leaves, essential oil is extracted from its leaves and are used as a substitute for rose essential because it is less expressive to produce.
Rober’s lemon rose has large lemony rose-scented triangular irregular three-lobed leaves which are grey-green and soft to the touch, the origins of this hybrid are unclear, possibly a cultivar of P. graveolens or a hybrid of P. capitatum x P. x limoneum, The flowers are purple-pink with darker markings and is also known as the tomato geranium because its leaves resemble that of a tomato plant.
P. ‘pink capitatum’ is a variety of P. Capitatum but with larger striking flowers of pale pink with shades of darker pink around the edges of the petals. The leaves look similar to that of P. capitatum which are lobed but the scent differs and has a sweet rose lemon elder flower fragrance. This plant is also said to bloom for many months of the year.
P. ‘round leaf rose’ is another capitatum variety, a sprawling plant with pink reddish flowers and darker red veins, the leaves are rounded, ruffled and slightly toothed with lemon rose scent.
P. x asperum is a hybrid between P. capitatum and P. radens, it is used commercially for its essential oil which is obtained from its leaves. It has white to pale pink flowers with darker markings and has deeply divided leaves with soft hairs with a mint rose scent.
P. ‘Atomic snowflake’ has pungent scented leaves which are three-lobed and edged with white, the flowers bear striking mauve colour flowers with darker markings and is great as a container plant or for a flower border.
At the beginning of February, we had a few days of heavy snow that caused some damage to trees and shrubs in the garden. The large acacia tree, native to Australia in the centre of the garden has delicate branches which were unfortunately damaged during this bad weather and parts of the tree have been removed, but is coming up to flower in Spring. This tree is particularly popular with the greenfinch, a tame bird that often takes pollen or seeds from its branches and at times sings in the tree its delightful long twittering notes & trills.
The snow also covered most of Greece, Turkey and some of the Aegean islands, while in Athens the thickness of the snow reached about 80-85 cm and residents were advised to stay at home. An extreme snowstorm caused road disruption in the Capital leaving people to abandon their cars and walk home or take public transport.
A few pelargoniums have also been weakened a little in the harsh weather, Pelargonium vitifolium which is quite a tough plant has drooping leaves, I have given it a good dose of compost and also recycled organic matter (leaves, food scraps etc) to enrich the soil. Pelargonium quercifolium was protected by the large rosemary bushes in the garden which covers most of this plant, apart from a few long branches so it wasn’t affected that much, also two of the pelargoniums after the snow may have died but it is too early to say for sure, they may hopefully start to produce new leaves again in spring. Pelargonium hispidum & P . radens were sheltered by a wall & other plants, and so should began to recover in Spring. The only plant that is in bloom at the moment is the rose, a delicate pink shade that hasn’t stopped most of the year, a stem has been made into an arch over the steps to the garden. It is now slowly getting warmer with longer days so this should give more light to the plants which they lack during the winter months
The graceful long-stemmed species pelargoniums can look just as stunning as any hybrid or cultivar with their long elegant flowers stalks which holds the beautiful delicate flowers and the dainty long leaf stalks that display their aromatic or decorative leaves.
P. capillare is a lovely pelargonium species with very thin petioles which are about 2-6 cm in length. The name Capillare means like thread, most likely because of its very thin leaf stems. The flowers are reddish-pink with raised patches of dark red on the upper petals also with markings of red on both the lower & upper petals, the underside is also darker in colour. This plant shows some similarities to P. tricolor but its leaves are more deeply divided and the flowers differ slightly. It is native to the South Western Cape of South Africa where it grows on mountainsides.
Pelargonium tenuicaule has long spreading rambling stems with five shallow toothed circular leaves. The flowers are cream when they first open but change to white with a dark purple smudge on every petal, The two upper petals are rounded and cupped. This plant can over time look rather bedraggled in appearance, it is native to Namibia and Namaqualand where it grows in rocky places.
Pelargonium spinosum has an unusual spine like petioles, believed to be hard debris from the continuous petioles which give it the appearance of thorns. The leaves are heart-shaped with coarse teeth and are somewhat pungent scented, they also vary in size depending on where they grow on the plant. The smaller leaves are visible on the shorter stems, while the larger are visible on the continuous petioles. The flowers are long ovate large light pink to white in colour with purple veins. It is native to the North-Western Cape and Namibia.
Pelargonium echinatum is another exquisite species, with woody spiny stems and long petioles. The leaves are grey-green ovate with 3-5 shallow lobes. The flowers are usually white but in their native habitat, pink and purple types also exist, followed by a deep red smudge on the upper petals. It is native to Northern Western areas of the Cape in dry conditions and sheltered by rocks or other shrubs, there are a few hybrid forms of this plant such as P. ‘miss Stapleton’.
Pelargonium plurisectum is a low growing shrub with thin branching stems which create a zigzag effect. The leaves are rounded and are divided into five toothed leaflets. The flowers are large orangy red or scarlet in colour with darker markings, to which the lower petals are slightly smaller than the upper petals. It has been discovered growing in Ethiopia and remains dormant for many months, it can also withstand cold conditions more than any other pelargonium.
Others include P. longicaule-has long elegant flower stems with pale pink flowers and dark green deeply divided leaves known as the butterfly bush. P. australe- long branching stems with ovate leaves and up to 12 white flowers native to Australia P. grossulariodes- long reddish stems with fruit scented kidney shaped leaves and small reddish purple flowers. P. Capitatum- long spreading branches with rose scented leaves.
P. peltatum is an attractive pelargonium with beautiful elegant flowers which can vary in colour from pastel shades of pink to pale purple & also white usually with darker veins. The rounded leaves look similar to an ivy leaf which is fleshy and succulent like & has a circular zone in the centre. The sap can be taken orally for a sore throat and when grinded into a paste it can be applied to scratches, light burns and wounds as an antiseptic. It is a slightly succulent climbing or trailing plant that is native to the Eastern & Western Cape of South Africa where it grows in succulent shrubland and coastal areas. It is also a great garden plant for hanging baskets, pots or planted next to trees or trellis. The name ‘peltatum’ is derived from the Latin meaning peltate (shield-shaped, circular) which refers to the leaves of this plant. Many of the modern-day Ivy leaf cultivar and hybrids geraniums are derived from this species, the first was believed to be a cross between P. Peltatum and P. Hotorum and now comes in many forms including miniature ivy leaf, single flower ivy leaf, double flower ivy leaf, rosettes and ones with fancy leaves or bi-colours. The Dwarf ivy leaf geraniums are cultivars that have been altered to be significantly smaller in size than the average ivy leaf pelargoniums which doesn’t require much punning due to their short root system & compact growth. The P. “Millfield rose’ is a hybrid ivy leaf pelargonium which has dwarf double rosebud blooms in a delicate pink shade, which looks like small roses, it has green ivy shaped leaves that show some resemblance to P. Peltatum. Another similar hybrid is the dwarf P. “Millifield Gem which has pale pink flowers with dashes of crimson.
The ivy leaf single-flowered pelargoniums are very popular in Europe and are usually hung up on balconies like that of the Balcon mixed which comes in many colours from white, pink to red and can also grow well in pots and on the patio. The ivy leaf Cascade series have narrower petals and are trailing such as the P. ‘Sofie Cascade’ which has pale pink flowers with darker narrow veins and has a shading of darker pink towards the middle of the flowers. P. ‘bright Cascade’ has very bright reddish flowers and P. ‘Cascade Lila compact’ has bright pale pink/lavender flowers. Others include P.‘Cascade apple blossom’ and P. ‘Cascade white’. The semi-double flower types are more popular in the UK and can come in almost all colours apart from yellow and blue. The ivy leaf ‘Harlequin’ series contains several pelargoniums with striking semi-double flowers, P. Peltatum ‘Harlequin miss liverbird’ is a cultivar that has trusses of white flowers that are flushed with a large area of pink. P. peltatum ‘Harlequin Mahogany’ is very similar but with trusses of white, red, pink flowers, others include P. ‘Harlequin Ted Day” and P. ‘Harlequin Rosy o Day’.
As well as the vast array of ivy leaf geraniums bred for their attractive flowers, They are also admired for their fancy ivy leaves like that of P. ‘L’elegante which has mid-green leaves outlined with white, the edges of the leaves are believed to turn pinkish if left un-watered. Others include Pelargonium x Hortorum ‘Vancouver Centennia’ which has coppery brown-reddish leaves outlined and veined with gold. While Pelargonium x Hortorum ‘Indian Dunes’ has bright yellowish-green leaves with a large coppery brown-reddish zone.