I have just finished eating a Fyffes banana grown in Costa Rica. They were certified by the Rainforest Alliance and were sold as ‘Ripe, snack size bananas’ and a very appropriate name it was. In our fruit bowl we also have ‘organic Fairtrade bananas fro the Dominican Republic cutesy of the EEC at least until brexit by which time they will be well overripe.
This encouraged me to dig out an old post with photos from Kew in 2010. I was in the middle of a series of posts on fruit trees from exotic climes and realise that the Banana didn’t quite fit. Bananas are herbs and do not grow on trees. The stem, can grow quite tall in some species and is really just matted together leaves.
Therefore I offered some of my photographs to show different varieties of Banana growing in Kew hot house and Madeira.
When Roses are in full bloom I can’t resist taking photos of them. With this rose I tried putting white paper behind the rose to highlight its colour. The rose below is taken with a dark background but is still satisfactory.
I received a pot plant as a gift and thought it was a Cineraria. The plant was in bud but the leaves looked like soft grey-green Cineraria or Senicio.
On reading the label, not something I always do, I discovered it was named Senetti Deep Blue. Since then Senetti seem to be everywhere, agh! the power of marketing and big money.
Further research showed that the botanic name is Pericallis x hybrida. It is thought to be a hybrid between Pericallis cruenta and Pericallis lanata.
The common name is Florist’s Cineraria so I wasn’t far wrong with my first thoughts. Have you ever seen one in a florists?
Some call it Senecio cruentus Senetti Series.
Senetti may be just a brand name registered by Suntory. If so lets drop the name for now and go by Pericallis.
Pericallis are tender, cushion-forming or loosely branched perennials. Height 12″ spread 18″.
The single daisy-like flowers are in a variety of vibrant blues and purples. Some have white centres like the old Cineraria
Pericallis will flower early, providing a splash of colour before other bedding or container plants are ready
After flowering cut down to 4-5″ and feed then you should get a second flush of flower.
Pericallis are generally raised from seed but cuttings may be possible.
Grow in pots or open ground but water and feed well.
Pericallis (Senetti) Update
I got more flowers from my fathers day present than you could shake a stick at!
I got 3 massive flushes of flowers often over 100 blue daisies open at once!(there are about 40 on at the moment mid October)
Hopefully the seed I have saved will grow next year.
The host plant deserves to be protected over winter so the pot I have grown the Pericallis in will go into a cool greenhouse
Jersey Plants Direct were selling Senetti plugs check out the web site. Super Ready or Jumbo sized just type in Senetti in the search box (free postage). I had to buy some because they were such ‘Good Doers’ last year. Jersey say they are able to cope with early frost which will suit my Yorkshire garden!
I have received my plugs and potted them on. They are on an east facing window sill and I have pinched out the early flower buds to get more leaf and roots.
Greenery is all very well but I like to see swathes of colourful flowers.
I try to envisage how mixed planting will shape up in terms of colour but generally my minds eye falls short when it comes to the imagination department.
The best tip is to keep it simple with only a very limited number of varieties chosen because they are due to flower around the same time.
By contrast my wife, on the other hand, is wedded to green leafed houseplants, green conservatory plants and even green outdoors. (She is also wedded to me and I am not as green as I am cabbage looking so at least I get some colour into the garden)
Perhaps she should grow Gloxinia
I do not mind seeing my colour in wild meadows or just as yellow in a field of buttercups. This photo looks like a pointillist painting rather than a snap shot but it was planned by RHS gardeners to look something like this when the ground was laid out.
A friend at our village gardeners club insists she only grows flowers that avoid yellow – I guess she thinks it too garish and she misses out on some grand flowers.
Woodland walks in Spring would not be the same if it wasn’t for the Snowdrops, Aconites and Narcissus.
Even wild garlic is better when you can see the white flower.
Is white really a colour some folk ask – to me a resounding yes, just consider a rainbow.
Conker collecting has encouraged many a stick to be thrown into a Horse Chestnut tree. The candle or flower heads are even more spectacular than the crop of conkers that they give birth too.
Key Features of the Horse Chestnut
Latin name Aesculus Hippocastanum buckeye in USA or Conker tree
Height up to 130 feet
Type of tree – deciduous –
Leaves – Large green palmate with 5-7 fingers or leaflets
Flowers White or pink candle shaped upright panicles
Fruit Green spiky spherical husks containing a glossy brown inedible seed or conker
Bark Dark brown, coarse and scaly when mature
Family Aesculus has about 20 species
Origins and Distribution of the Horse Chestnut
Native to the Balkans.
Planted in temperate zones as an ornamental specimen.
Uses and Attributes of the Horse Chestnut
Distilled the conkers make acetone.
The seed extracts were used for fulling cloth and whitening hemp, flax, silk and wool.
Herbally used to treat varicose veins and haemorrhoids.
Gardeners Tips for the Horse Chestnut
Used along avenues, parks and in churchyards.
Horse Chestnuts can make large bonsai.
Other types of Horse Chestnut and key species
Texas, californian and other american buckeye or Aesculus species.
Aesculus × carnea the red horse chestnut.
Horse Chestnut comments from elsewhere
In Britain, the return to school after the summer holidays is synonymous with conkers. Originally played with cobnuts or snail shells, the use of the horse chestnut in the popular children’s game was first recorded in 1848. Since 1965, the World Conker Championships have taken place every year in Oundle, Northamptonshire. Kew.org
The fruits of this tree vaguely resemble those of the (Sweet) Chestnut tree but they are not related. They develop in prickly cases, and are ripe in September and October – the ‘conker’ season.
Read about our series on British tree reviews with a bakers dozen fact sheets
“Horse Chestnut tree by JeanM1 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Conkers by MamaPyjama CC BY 2.0