Every year at Chelsea we used to suggest that everyone from our stand sallied forth, surveyed the marquee and the show gardens and came back and agreed on that year’s trendy (and possibly pointless, anyone remember the red delphinium?) plant. I no longer go to Chelsea, but even on the limited amount of coverage I’ve seen, one plant keeps being mentioned: Cirsium rivulare artropurpeum. At last I can join the plantswomen – you know who you are – and cry ‘I’ve got one of those!’
Admittedly, I nearly didn’t have, after it almost got weeded out as being a thistle:
which – of course – it is, but not weeded by me. Let me just document here that I’d have had to cut off the biscuit supply, let alone the cups of tea and Welsh cakes supply, and I will do so in the face of any other enthusiastic weeding events.
Despite the poor spring, it has done really well, filling up nicely from the plant that I bought at last year’s Crug Plant Fair. I’ve been entranced by the opening flower heads,
and I don’t recall noticing them so closely last year – possibly because last year they didn’t spend quite as long in suspended animation. At last some have opened,
just in time for the temperatures to drop away again as we approach this weekend. Naturally, it’s a Bank Holiday. I swear I heard one of the weather forecasters mention snow. Oh, for goodness’ sake!
But away from the trendy world of plants Alan Titchmarsh mentions (er, trendy? Alan Titchmarsh? Blazer man? Have I had too much coffee?), other things are finally coming into their own, albeit slowly. And they are lovely.
At last I have persuaded some of my acquilegias to spread. I know, I know, most people try and stop them spreading, but not me. I want them further into the meadow. Baby steps, ickle biddy baby steps (I imagine that acqueligias wear very high stilettos, so that’s probably why they would spread slowly, tottering precariously over thugs like the knapweed – OK, definitely had too much coffee), but they are reaching out a little. In the meanwhile they are concentrating on posing and looking lovely.
These have developed a marked green tip to the outermost petals this year; I don’t recall having seen that quite so emphatic before. And I am getting more and more in the pink spectrum – strange, I’d have thought they might revert to purple, given that some always were:
but no, the pinks seem to be much more resilient. I don’t care; I like them both. In fact I like all acquilegias, but I do regret their promiscuous tendencies. You get an accidental stunner one year, and next year it’s gone and proliferated and crossed with heaven only knows who and generally tarted itself about so much that all you end up with is pink. They’d never come true, even if I did protect the seed heads, so all I can do is reconcile myself to pink and occasional happy accidents. No great hardship, really.
And maybe next year’s trendy plant will be a pink acquilegia with green-tipped petals. You can never tell.