Miss. Information and Mr. Knott-Bothered

My Grandmother always said,  “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Gentle reader as you know, normally I try to talk positively about the places I’ve been and the plants and gardens I’ve seen. I note however, that the cute bunny topic has, this month, been snaffled by somebody more erudite than myself. So I fear at the end of this blog post I may need to apologise to my Granny.

My Grandmother’s pearls of wisdom have stood me in good stead for much of my life, however something happened today which brought to the surface an irritation which has been vexing me for sometime. Perhaps it is my advancing years, which is causing me to become a pedant however I feel that perhaps it should now be “If you don’t know, don’t say anything at all”.

I’m often asked all sorts of questions by clients, I have almost come to relish the jam jar wafted under my nose followed by,  “what d’you think that is?”. Most often I can identify said creature, leaf or flower but, on occasions,  where entomological or horticultural  knowledge lets me down, I am quite happy to admit that I am no Dr George McGavin or Geoffrey Smith. So rather than say in a knowledgeable tone, “ahh yes the Lesser Spotted Velouté Bug, so named for the sauce it was discovered floating in”,  rather I simply say, “I don’t know, but I will find out”.

So, what has prompted this irritation? Today as I was queuing patiently I listened to a Plant Centre Manager explaining why the customer’s Hellebore looked so sick. Apparently it was not a problem with plant itself, rather the fact that they (the customer) had watered it incorrectly. Evidently the heat of the sun had scorched the leaves because it had been watered it in the heat of the day. TOSH it had a rather bad case of Leaf Spot. Also when was the last time we had sufficient Sun to scorch said leaf?

So far this year I have witnessed misinformation in Blogs, TV garden programs (on both sides it has to be said) and in Garden Centers.

So to conclude.

Scientific research has concluded that water droplets do not create a lens effect and lead to scorching of leaves and petals. Therefore,  if your plants are wilting at mid-day,  water them. You will however,  get better results if you aim the water at the soil rather than the leaves.

If you were confused by the voice over on a recent TV gardening show talking about the division of primroses, while  the camera showed a hellebore being dropping into a bucket, here’s what each one looks like.

Primula Vulgaris and Helleborus Foetidus

The fruit set on an apple tree is not, to my knowledge, dependent on its rootstock but whether it is pollinated, so look at its pollination group.

This is what a British Bluebell looks like, not the Spanish Bluebell as pictured on 90% of bulbs sold at garden centers. Although to be fair they are selling Spanish Bluebells even if they are labeled as British.

British Bluebell – Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Also bracts are not in fact the same as petals.

I could go on, however I sense, gentle reader you tire of my tirade (I know I do) and I fear for my raised blood pressure.

So until next time when normal service will be resumed.

Families

Families

Funny how things run in families, freckles, blue eyes, an overwhelming love of cake etc etc.

Now don’t tell anyone, but when I was younger and Botanists talked about plant classification I was never terribly interested. I could see the sense in Latin names, its very useful when you find a plant on the internet, on say a Dutch or French website. I am not fluent in either French or Dutch so for me, if I see the Latin name I know at least we should be talking about the same plant.

The RHS say “Although families may appear at first to be of only academic interest, knowledge of the family to which an unknown plant belongs is the springboard to identifying it, and for the gardener, it can give an indication of the conditions required for successful cultivation.”

However, funnily enough, I have had a bit of a light bulb moment, (not an LED moment more of a 20watt moment) when it comes to plant families today.

I thought I would take my camera into the garden and take a few photo`s of what’s in or coming into flower as a bit of a pictorial diary.

Prunus spinosa

It struck me that some of them shared more than the odd similarity and so I did a bit of “Who Do You Think You Are” research and yes they do belong to the same family.*

So as the year progresses I have decided to continue my photo diary and see how many different family groups I actually have in my garden.

* In case you were wondering, the family group here are Asparagaceae.