Geraniums, Torture & Mystery Flower (Now Solved)

I was tortured yesterday.

After doing our normal weekly grocery shop, I decided that I needed a small bag of multi-purpose compost, and as we were so close that we’d go to Whitehall Garden Centre, near Lacock. (Yes, that Lacock.) Firstly, going to any garden centre on a Sunday is bad news. Secondly, going to a garden centre on a warm and sunny Sunday is bad news squared. To make it the holy triumvirate of bad news (bad news cubed, as it were) my husband reminded me that due to monetary constraints there was a moratorium on plant purchases for the time being.

Cue the anxiety-induced heavy-breathing. Bad enough to have to wade through throngs of oafs (much like Granny Weatherwax, I have specially pointed elbows for just such an activity), but to not have any unexpected gains at the end?! The horror …

Consequently, and perhaps with a certain narrative inevitability, not only were there pots of multiple snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)* but also a whole host of dark-leaved geraniums. It was at this point that I gave up on window-shopping, got my compost and left.

(*Described by one early 20th century poet and gardener as “a sinister little flower, in the mournful colour of decay”.)

Last year I purchased a wonderful dark-leaved, blue-flowered geranium known as ‘Midnight Reiter’. Oddly, I seem to not have taken any pictures of it other than in its original pot before I planted it. Anyway, I rather liked it and was slightly perturbed to see that last year it died back to nothing in the winter. Not a mound, leaf or stem to be seen. Consequently, seeing the selection at the garden centre gave me an option to replace it if necessary, only to be crushed by the trade embargo. In a fortuitous turn of events, I noticed what I hope is the plant happily shooting.

Next, in my occasional photo series entitled “Is that even a thing?”, some photos of plants that have just started shooting, or barely even budded, including the Jasminum officinale ‘Fiona Sunrise’, the Astilbe ‘Venus’ (which I thought had actually died) and the Fuschia riccartonii.

I also have a mystery flower growing somewhere I don’t remember planting anything of the sort. Its not an iris, and its not an anemone or chionodoxa. Answers on the back of a blank postcard or stuck-down envelope please …

Mystery solved. I’m an idiot. Totally Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Glory of the Snow’.

2014-03-17 10.30.24




  1. I too pondered over the Snakes Head Fritillary but decided not to in the end, but got some geraniums, hellebore, some alpines and other bits and bobs as well as compost and a bit of sunburn!


    1. I always like the idea of doing an alpine garden-y thing. Should I ever come into ownership of some kind of old stone sink then I think that’s what I’ll do.

      Minus the sunburn.


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