Tag Archive: history

Cleome Spinosa – American Spider Flower 2017

Cleome Violet Queen will be the next seeds to go into some damp compost. These half hardy annuals were £1.99 for 200 from Higgledy who recommend sowing between January and March indoors. Best sown on the surface of moist compost and can take up to four weeks to germinate. I shall sow just twenty of them tomorrow 19th January. It seems that these plants can grow as high as six feet so I shall have to be careful where I put them. Eye catching and strongly scented, the deep violet flowers and palm like leaves of this beautiful plant will add a tropical look to the late summer garden. so say the people at Crocus.com. Twenty tiny seedling are now fighting for survival on the window ledge. Germination was great at 100% and took only ten days!. Let’s see if I can get them through to flowering.

Cleome spinosa Violet Queen is a sumptuous purple, which looks good with almost anything, particularly good with verbenas, dahlias and sunflowers. Cleomes are an elegant, very long lasting annual,  flowering longer than all the other half-hardies. Sow early. The only downside to Cleomes are their thorns. Information from the Sarah Raven site.

I have bought new seeds from Seekay of two other colours of this beautiful flower. On doing a bit of research I see that I can sow these directly in the ground now, May/June so I am looking forward to doing just that. The two new varieties are Helen Campbell, White and Rose Queen, a subtle pink.

Despite it’s recent revival in popularity Cleome hassleriana ‘Rose Queen’ is actually an heirloom flower having been grown in gardens since 1817. A beautiful variety with deep, rose-pink flowers that fade to light pink. The large, open, airy flowers have a strong scent and bloom throughout the summer until frosts.  Eye-catching spidery flowers and palm-like leaves add a tropical look to the late summer garden. Cleome are very easy to grow are generally free of pests and considered drought tolerant. Despite that fact they grow their best in moist but well drained soil and full sunlight. The spidery flowers make attractive cut flowers and the seed heads can be dried and added to bouquets.  Frost and cold winds are lethal to this elegant South American annual. If you wish to start them early in the year do so under glass and only plant out after the danger of frosts has passed. Sow indoors in April or outdoors May to June. Cleome like good light levels and germinate quickly if sown quite late. Start them in April or early May. If planted too early the seeds will not germinate and may rot. Sow indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last frost, or sow directly where they are to flower after all danger of frost has passed.

Cleome is a genus of annual flowering plants with 170 species. Cleomaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Brassicales comprising about 300 species in 10 genera. Cleome are native to southern South America. This heirloom flower has been grown in gardens since 1817. The genus name Cleome is derived from an ancient name of a mustard like plant, in reference to its seed pods. The species hassleriana is named after Emile Hassler 1864-1937 a Swiss botanist and plant collector. The synonym Spinacia is taken from the Latin spina, meaning a prickle or thorn. Because of their unique flower clusters, these blossoms got the nickname spider flower. Although most flowers have a multitude of meanings cleome one. An old-fashioned expression that asks the recipient to elope or run away with the giver.

The white Cleome Spinosa Helen Campbell looks good in large drifts on its own or intermingled with white cosmos Purity. It’s 16th May and a warm rainy day so I am about to go and sow seeds of both in the white border. The advice is to put seeds on the surface of the soil as they need light to germinate.






Hosta – Silver Crown

Many years ago I visited my sister’s house and she and her husband were lifting and splitting some Hosta plants. I was given a good sized root which I planted in a large pot and then ignored. Every year the plant got bigger and bigger, I threatened to repot it but didn’t until this year. I struggled to get it out of it’s pot then, after much reading online about the best way to divide it I set to and hopefully haven’t destroyed it. It has been divided into seven good roots. The original pot with gravel for drainage and filled with new compost houses one root. I have given it a feed and topped the whole thing with gravel to keep away the slugs. I have temporarily potted the other roots to overwinter and may use some in the garden or give them away. I have read that this variety is the most common in this country and have been amazed by the number of varieties available. Only now have I learned the name of this plant and I have promised not to take it for granted in future. I shall keep it safe from slugs and snails and watch out for its flowers and seeds. April 29th 2017. Well I had given up all hope of getting any of the divided roots to survive. The main root was put back into its original pot and up to now is not showing at all. The other divisions were put into black florists buckets to overwinter and were all underwater and slimy when I checked on them in the spring so they were thrown onto the side garden which needed building up after excavation. The cosseted one in a big pot with new soil, feed and drainage is nowhere to be seen. However, popping up here and there in the side garden are the discarded ones. Gardening never fails to surprise me.

Athough there were more Hostas being cultivated in Japan, a Hosta with Chinese heritage was the first one to be grown outside of Asia. Seeds of the Hosta Plantagonea arrived in France in 1784. By 1790 the Hosta had arrived in London. In 1812 an Australian botanist named the Hosta in honour of Nicholas Thomas Host, an esteemed botanist and physician. It was then that the genus changed from Hemerocallis to Hosta.