Flowering now

Just before I went on holiday I spied the blue buds of happiness on my Chatham Island forget-me-not … and when I came back, there were flowers! I’ve had my Myosotidium hortensia for 2 years and was originally given 4 seedlings by Kay Garner whose husband is Murray Garner, the ace potter. Two karked it straight away, one held on but didn’t grow and finally it too died. But the one seedling that did transplant has done well and this past winter looked great with its big, glossy leaves held up off the ground.

Detail of one of the three flowers on the plant. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Gordon Collier is leading a tour to the Chatham Islands from October 16-23, especially to see the forget-me-nots in flower. There’s another tour from October 23-30 but without the services of the renowned plantsman.

Another first for me are the two flowers on Aloe plicatilis (fan aloe) that I’ve had for a couple of years, bought in the sale when Bonnie sold Pacifica garden centre (which is to change hands again soon, I believe).

Aloe plicatilis. Photo: Sandra Simpson

In her handy book, Succulents, Vonnie Cave records that in 1695 Henrik Oldenland, superintendent of the Dutch East India Company Garden in Capetown, named this plant (deep breath) … Aloe african arborescens montana non spinosa, longissimo, plicatili, flore rubra! Which kind of tells us everything we need to know – it’s not spiny, it has reddish flowers, etc – but would be impossible to remember.

My little wildflower patch has re-established itself with sweet William and California poppies already flowering. But some of the seeds have also blown into the bed next door and that’s where this pretty group of Linaria marrocana (dwarf toadflax) was photographed.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

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