Don’t sit under a banana leaf..

Narcissus Geranium, Oloron Sainte Marie, March 2022

I love Spring bulbs, especially daffodils and tulips. But I seem to be unable to get them to rebloom a second time, admittedly that is more a tulip problem than a daffodil. So, every year I slightly grit my teeth at the throw away money needed to plant up a few old zinc basins- but then, when it comes to the moment, I love watching them gradually fatten up, and of course, the colours are wonderful. So, because I just pick the bulbs I like the look of, I can never remember what I’ve planted and have to go back and check the order. This Narcissus Geranium is simply gorgeous. Huge fat buds give way to branching flowerheads with orange centres, as for fragrance, there is a slight sweet fragrance, but that could just be my nose. If we had big storms, the weight of the heads might cause a problem, but, for now they are simply lovely. And it’s an heirloom narcissus, so pre-1930 from the Netherlands- don’t you love a bit of history?

Pelargonium quercifolium, Oloron Sainte Marie, March 2022

This Pelargonium quercifolium is a really tough customer and it always flowers really early for me, and carries on for months. It has a woody, aromatic scent to the robust leaves, and grows into a firm bushy shape which can get to 75 cms easily. This year, I kept it fairly dry and close to the wall of the house, so it was protected from heavy rainfall and weather, but not covered. It was totally fine. My friend from Tostat who gave me a piece from her garden has it in the ground in a courtyard setting, and it pops back every year bigger and better. So, a sheltered UK setting, kept fairly dry and it will be fine.

Heuchera ‘Caramel’, Tostat, June 2019

And here we come to the title of this piece- don’t sit under a banana leaf. But first, a small preamble on the subject of heucheras in general. Until about 3 years ago, I was definitely in the snobby stable of thinking that heucheras were not for me, too highly coloured, and in my opinion not doing very much for the money. But, strike a light, I was converted. Visiting a garden that potted up dark and golden heucheras in big pots in a shady position struck me dumb. They looked sensational, vigorous, with so many leaves vying for attention. I was sold. I bought 2, ‘Caramel’ and ‘Obsidian’, and I grew ‘Firefly’ from seed. Such seed, so many plants produced, and I even brought 6 or so with me to Oloron. So, ‘Caramel’ looked really strong and happy in a dark blue pot, sheltering under the banana for a little sun protection.

Last week, I wandered over there, because we had cut the banana back as usual, and ‘Caramel’ was looking very sad in the pot. No wonder. All the root had gone and although small roots were re-growing, it looked as though the 8 plants had either rotted away in the wet from too much direct banana leaf down pour or something had literally eaten them away. You could lift the plants out with your little finger as they were barely attached. Now your Heuchera is a robust plant, and so 4 hours later, after a good soaking and removal of all dead bits, they are in temporary accommodation till I am sure that they are re-rooted, but so far so good, and I think they will make it.

My main suspect is banana downpour.