18 May, 2012

The Fifth in Dozen for Diana - shocking pink Pelargonium

In 2015 my pelargoniums at False Bay sadly no longer include this pickable shocking pink.

Looking back after five years of gardening at Elephant’s Eye, I am choosing my way to 12 plants. Building a virtual garden in a Picasa collage using the plants I have learnt to treasure. Not the must have, shiny new, love at first sight. But the enduring contentment of same old same old. Stays green or at least hangs in there thru the summer.  Returns each year, if it goes dormant. Blooms reliably for me each year.

Five in Dozen for Diana's virtual garden


Choosing with my gardener’s head, not my heart, I have a tree for shade, a pioneer to fill the baked empty spaces, a tough groundcover (with flowers), a sense of place vigorous shrub. Now my heart says I need flowers, colour, something to pick. There are peaceful gentle blue flowers on the sage and the Plectranthus. Today I’m adding a shocking pink Pelargonium.

This is a passalong from a neighbour so I’m unsure of the species, perhaps Pelargonium inquinans? 270 species of Pelargonium in Africa, Asia, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand. 219 species in southern Africa. 135 species between Nieuwoudtville and Port Elizabeth - from PlantZAfrica

Pink Pelargonium
with Mexican feather grass and Festuca glauca 

In my first dozen I chose a white Pelargonium. That one is so vigorous, that even the prunings I’ve left as mulch are now covered in proud bunches of flowers. Enough moisture at this time of year in the succulent stems to sustain, without any roots, simply lying on or near the ground! On my wish list is the red Pelargonium fulgidum.

Pelargonium leaf

The velvety leaves perfume your hands as you work. Each sparkling fibre a little scent bubble. I was whining about my camera, and its macro function. But he said yours can actually go quite close. Try again. I forget, until I trim with my virtual scissors, quite how much detail is in these digital pictures.

Detail of a scented Pelargonium leaf

For instance, this is garnered from the previous picture.

Pelargonium buds

Altho the individual flowers don’t last long, they grow in a cluster opening in turn. Enough colour for contentment in the garden and the vase.

Scented Pelargonium

Again, a detail from the previous picture.

Pink Pelargonium

Rewarding plants which can be spread around. When I prune the straggly older plants, I trim off hand-sized pieces with happy leaves, discard the dead flower stalks, and tuck them in. A few nodes deep in the ground to encourage lots of roots. Water until they settle and grow.

Detail of a shocking pink hearted Pelargonium

This is a macro in a Mason jar (I miss the GGW photo contests!) Using a small glass vase to rest the camera on, as a tiny tripod to focus on the flower positioned at the bottom. Plush pistil and packets of pollen, nectar guides on the petals.

In your virtual garden, a place to sit quietly with your tea/coffee, listening to birds, watching butterflies – what is your first flower? That lets your heart be at peace while you both give back to nature. Remember Wildflower Wednesday!

--~~~0-0-0-0-0~~~--

b a g near London of  experiments-with-plants has a dilemma. A volunteer lawn daisy, or a more exotic one from South Africa. Formerly Osteospermum, the taxonomists have renamed it Dimorphotheca jucunda.

Donna in NY state of 
gardenseyeview has chosen Goat's Beard with finely pleated and filigreed leaves

Beth in Wisconsin of plantpostings brings us the 'citrusy or Jasmine-like. I also note a hint of Rose, but it’s a very subtle, not overpowering, scent' of mock orange.

From Pennsylvania Pam's English Cottage Garden sings the siren song of roses. Which echo back from mine to hers.

(May 2014 blocking backlinks against referrer spam)



Pictures and words by Diana of  Elephant's Eye 
- wildlife gardening in Porterville, 
near Cape Town in South Africa
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. 
Those are my links.)

43 comments:

  1. I love that photo of your Pelargonium!

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  2. Your selections are very well thought through. I'm enjoying following your choices and your reasons. Christina

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    1. Glad the series resonates with you in Italy. I lean towards plants popular in horticulture, but from South Africa.

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  3. Your pelargonium shots and wonderful description make me want to put some back into our garden. I had some for a while until we had a construction project that required their removal. I think I need to go find some again. I drove by a hedge of them in someone's garden yesterday and their scarlet blooms were so brilliant. Maybe red is what I need.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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    1. I've never seen a blooming Pelargonium hedge. Might have to make that happen in my garden!

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  4. I wish I had a proper macro lens for our camera and constantly whine about it too. But you're right, you can capture quite a lot of detail in a regular photo and crop. Just as easy.

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    1. would love to see what you can find in your photos from Anne of Green Gables land. http://canoecorner.blogspot.com/2010/07/anne-who.html

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  5. Nice! We think the same when it comes to plants. I am so done putting something into the landscape that requires too much work. I have one plant that I treat with complete reverence....the Jacaranda and it, along with the Mexican Bird of Paradise are my preferred plants in our little oasis. But I now stick with what I know will perform well over and over again every year. And it looks good. The difficult part for many is that compulsive plant shopping. Your garden is a little piece of paradise and looks great. Have a great rest of your weekend.

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    1. Changing our garden mindset from Shiny New Must Have to contentment, harmony, serenity. (Formerly known as repetition).

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  6. Diana, I love your photos. One plant I have growing here, which somehow you've reminded me of, is Ipheion uniflorum, the blue star flower, from Argentina. Since we are both Gondwanan...

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    1. I'm waiting for my Frutang to flower. Then I'll see if it is related and we still see a similarity.
      with Gondwanan greetings.

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  7. Diana I love your choice. We call them geraniums here (not the hardy variety because they are only annuals)...although many folks will bring them in especially if they were a passalong and overwinter them as a house plant...then out in a container they go again in summer...the color and pics are wonderful....I usually have several in containers each summer...I am oing to attempt to grow some from seed next winter

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    1. My nutmeg geranium went from a pot, into this new garden. They grow SO easily from cuttings, why the seed? Will you get a different variety?

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  8. I love this idea. I don't know if I can come with 12 plants just yet. So I will enjoy reading your picks.

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    1. Start with one. Look around your garden. Which plant makes your heart sing?

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  9. I am just drinking in the pink, what is it with pink that captures our hearts so fiercely lately?

    Love the shots.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. I had my pink in mind, when I read your post. And I'm dressed in ice cream pink and shocking pink as I blog ;~)

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  10. The photo entitled 'scented pelargonium' is amazing! I am impressed that you can just crop to get that detailed of a photo. And it seems as if I can see the scent on each of those hairs! Love that bright pink color, too!

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    1. Do share what you can find in the buried detail of your photos?

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  11. I think I like your pelargonium leaf as much as its flower! Great photos! I always appreciate plants that add scent to the garden. And the pop of pink is quite refreshing. I was sitting on my patio just a little while ago, taking in all the colors, scents, and sounds around me, breathing in the fresh air, and thinking this is why I garden. What is my first flower? That is like asking me which child I love most! But just while it is blooming I would say columbine.

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  12. Pelargoniums are popular as houseplants in the UK - I've never seen close-ups of their hairs though.

    Here's my dilemma : http://experiments-with-plants.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/african-daisies-19-may-2012.html

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  13. Gorgeous photography!! So glad I popped by! :o)

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  14. Great choice. They are such easy plants to grow in SA. I have at least 7 different ones and can never resist adding more.

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  15. Had to think, what would I really miss in my garden, came up with Sisyrinchium, the plain ordinary common one. Grows about 18 inches, lovely pale yellow flowers and the sword shaped leaves are with us all year round. This has seeded through most of the borders, via seeds in the compost and forms a linking theme in the garden. It is there all the time and gets taken for granted. Interesting post!

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  16. Beautiful photos as ever!
    I am not sure about plectranthus being edible. I know that Plectranthus esculentus - the wild potoato (Veld & Flora Dec 2011 page 180) is - so I am sure that the others are too.
    The best person to ask would be Phakamani Xaba at Kirstenbosch. His email is .

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    1. December issue is still on my waiting to be read pile. Today!

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  17. to quote: "Each sparkling fibre a little scent bubble" - you use words as easily and beautifully as popping in pelargonium cuttings. What an eye boggling pink and appreciate the mason jar link to macros. (when my camera broke I was looking to buy bigger and better and now its fixed amazed at what it can do!).
    [Expecting to have another 'must have' by the end of the month]

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  18. Oh the macro shot...I have to take my glasses off to be able to tell if my macro is in focus or not. Seeing each individual hair on the pelargonium is amazing. Not sure if I could see that with or without my glasses.

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    1. I live in a slightly blurred short-sighted world, without my glasses. To the eye, as opposed to the camera, the hairs are just velvety sheen.

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  19. Hi! Balls of barley hay are great at controlling pond algae. Because my pond is teensy I use liquid barley extract. If you search "barley for ponds" at Amazon.com you'll see all the options. It's an organic algae control. I hope this helps. :o)

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    1. I've heard of it, but haven't tried it.

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  20. Loving this series of posts. This Pellie is quite stunning. I love Pelargoniums so much but have real trouble getting them through our wet seasons here. They literally rot from the inside because of the moisture in the air. I take cuttings, but even these struggle during the wet. This year I actually did manage to get two of my favourites to survive, but that was a struggle.

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    1. Since my cuttings are growing and flowering as they lie ON the ground, maybe put your overwintering cuttings in fine gravel, and out of the rain. Kirstenbosch has the succulents mostly in the glassed conservatory, to avoid our mediterranean winter rain.

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  21. I can't remember if I've ever seen you mention an Iceream Bush. I have two clumps of them and they are beautiful all year round. So my first flower isn't a flower, but an icecream bush.

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    1. Dear departed. Port Elizabeth has a kinder summer climate. As I watched my plant go into shock and die an agonising slow death, I read up about it. Sub-tropical Euphorbia from Madagascar. NOT happy in our Porterville summer. And I wanted those pink leaves with my pink roses!

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  22. I love the leaf details of the pelargonium. They look so tactile with their tiny hairs: a plant that provides color AND is interesting to the touch. Re the photos: I love my dedicated macro lens but your mason jar substitute gets effects mine never would part with.

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  23. I had a Portulaca a couple of years ago which I loved. It was always an exciting morning, checking the plant to see how many flowers have opened, and they were beautiful shocking pink in color. It was always a surprise as they closed and died the next day, so you could only enjoy the flowers for a limited time, in my case a couple hours before work. :/

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  24. I love what you say about the flower "that lets your heart be at peace while you both give back to nature." It's a whole different approach to gardening than "eye candy," even though eye candy might be a fringe benefit. How nice to find a shocking pink that doesn't also give the camera a migraine!

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  25. Excellent detail on your close-ups and macros. Nifty trick with the mason jar. It's something I've never tried but will definitely keep in mind.
    Your virtual garden looks good too (so far). I don't think I would be able to choose a top 12 easily so I wish you well on your discerning your other 7 plants.

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  26. I love your photos of the Geraniums/Pelargoniums! Now that I think of it, they should grow very well in your climate. We grow them here as annual potted plants. I don't have enough sun in my current garden, but I love them. My most recent post highlights one of my "dozens" plants. I'm not sure how to link in to your meme, so I'll share the link here: http://bit.ly/KdYbas. Thanks, Diana!

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  27. Pelargonium is a houseplant over here. I think it looks much better in the garden. All plants probably do.

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  28. that scented pelargonium is an extraordinary macro shot! I love the vibrant pink, and I absolutely appreciate those plants that just grow from cuttings wherever they are. So obliging, every gardener's best friend. Not playing, but enjoying other people's dozens.

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Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.


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