Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Winter savory, Satureja montana

 Satureja montana (Group) Lamiaceae
'Winter Savory' , 'Sarriette',  'Ajedrea'
The great American botanist and garden writer, Helen Morgenthau Fox (1884-1974), details her 'discovery' of this herb in her 1952 essay 'Notes on a Few Savories'.......(botany meets herbes et aromates de Cuisine) While Mediterranean herb plants were difficult to procure in the first decades of the 20th century she was lucky enough to be sent seed of different Satureja species from a Swiss Nurseryman, Henri Correvon, though the resulting plants were to have their species status stripped from them and instead were later just grouped under S. montana. 
This prostrate form which is sometimes given the name 'Nana' is similar to S. spicigera though the latter has longer leaves. It is a terrific herb for slow cooked winter dishes, say, 'le cassoulet' with plenty of beans. Just a pinch though as the flavour is strong.
What I really like about this plant however is its venerable shape similar to an old arching tree. Of course this makes it the perfect candidate for a bonsai pot.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Camellia japonica 'Katie'

Camellia japonica 'Katie'
(photo supplied)
Every flower tells a story...I had a request for this camellia from a lady, Shelley, in Perth Western Australia who lost her plant of it during a particularly hot dry spell in summer.(sounds familiar) She had been growing it for about fifteen years and it was a nice reminder of her daughter Katie as its flowering in July coincided with her birthday.
Camellia 'Katie' was bred by a retired cray-fisherman who named it after his grand daughter. However because he did not register the name as one of his it seems to have 'disappeared' from cultivation. Hopefully someone reading this may be able to let me know more about it so I can let Shelley know where she may be able to find one for her garden.

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak'

 Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak'
I was given this plant about eighteen months ago by a nursery colleague who did not have a name for it. I initially thought it was a Yucca but have since found out it is the white variegated form of Agave desmettiana and brother to the popular 'El Miradores Gold'. 'El Miradore' is quick growing and flowers readily with hundreds of 'bulbils' or new plants produced on the flowering stem, so many in fact it is hard to know what to do with them. My 'Joe Hoak' is still in a pot and increasing in size slowly though it is now producing some nice offsets which can be carefully removed once big enough.
 The name 'Joe Hoak' refers to Hoak's Greenhouse and Nursery Inc of Homestead ,Florida.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Agave lophantha 'Tricolor'

Agave lophantha 'Tricolor'
This Agave often gets named or confused with the variety 'Quadricolor' which has the addition of white and pink to the leaf markings. It is quite a striking Agave none the less and over the past few years I have been slowly building up stock of it by removing the off-sets from my original specimen which is now some 45cm across. These 'pups' occur as side shoots on a short branch instead of the more typical underground form where new plants travel from the parent and emerge some distance away. Though the leaf margins are toothed and a small spine is present on the leaf tip, this is a very user friendly Agave which is ideal for a pot or garden bed.
2017 update: I have a number of different sizes available.