I spent many years working on a retail nursery where plants exchanging hands for money was pretty much what life was all about. Times have changed and this week was a classic example of a rather different way of doing things.
On Wednesday I was at Trewithen Garden for an away day organised by the Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group, a specialist organisation within the RHS. I took a tray of a dozen Camellias, of which two came back, along with four other plants. Three were from a lady to whom I had given some camellias a while back, one was in exchange for two of the camellias I had taken with me. No money was involved.
When I arrived home it was to find more plant swaps from another gardening friend, who had gone away with a couple of trays of succulents in exchange.
My six from two weeks ago featured three plants I had been given by the lady who owns Moyclare Garden in Liskeard; today I took her three young hydrangeas. I told her I’d blogged about plants she’d given me and she asked that I mention her garden, which she opens during the summer.
I like this way of doing things, it feels very appropriate to the world of gardening. I have no doubt the rest of the world does it all the time, but it’s new to me, at least as my main source of new things. I am better off by seven plants only one of which I chose myself and all of which I am delighted to have. So much so they’re going to be my six for the week.
Pteris umbrosa. Jungle Brake fern. James Treseder was the speaker at the away day, talking about the convoluted history of his family’s involvement in the nursery trade. His nursery, Wall Cottage, at Lockengate, is producing an ever improving range of plants and there was much on his sales table I’d have liked but few I had room for. Ferns I can always find room for. He swapped it for a couple of Camellias which will hopefully be added to his range in a few years time. It hails from eastern Australia but is reported to be fairly hardy outside in the UK.
Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’. This was moved into a terracotta pot as soon as I got it home. Being border line hardy, I will move it under cover in winter and try to keep it alive.
Verbena officinalis ‘Bampton’. Totally new to me, this is like Verbena bonariensis in small format, with glossy purple leaves and small pink flowers. Gets to 80 cm and needs full sun and sharp drainage. I think we can provide that.
Pelargonium ‘Radula’. Very finely divided leaves that smell powerfully of lemon; rose lemon according to one website. It will have small pale mauve flowers. Can be used in cooking too, according to my benefactor. Sue practically snatched it out of my hands, she regards Pelargoniums as her territory.
Plectranthus zuluensis. Very nice to get something back that you’ve had and lost, like this one. I’ve experimented this year with bedding out in the ground a couple of the easily propagated tender perennials that we have and next year will do the same with this.
Time to cheat methinks. The goodies box included two unlabelled seedling plants, one of which looked familiar, in a worryingly spiny way. Solanum was all I had to go on and I’m pretty sure I’ve correctly identified them as Solanum pyracanthos and Solanum quitoense. I’ve had them two days and they’re noticeably bigger already. There may be trouble ahead.
I had thought that this was the week I really started featuring Dahlias. They’ll keep. Now it’s off to The Propagator’s Saturday six to pick up on what the rest of the world is looking like on this
drizzly, sunny, drizzly Saturday.