Collectors are among the customers who give more satisfaction. Not for the reason that one might believe (not only, at least), but for the enthusiasm they leave after a visit to the nursery. Sometimes I spend a lot of time talking to someone about the joy some pelargo can give. They tell me about their adventures (or misadventures). I let them know the last pieces of my collection, bought or exchanged here and there for Italy.There is one, a collector, now a friend, who arrives in the nursery for lightning visits, always leaves some seedlings, or some broken twig, who knows where, with the name of the species written on a leaflet of luck. Take a look at the news and then leave at the speed of light.The book
One of the most important collections in the world of Pelargonium is that of Hazel Key, an English nurseryman and collector. He is the author of a beautiful book, full of photos, which speaks of pelargonium. One of the many that are found in specialized bookshops (but not only). It's called 1001 Pelargoniums and is written in English. I like it because it contains lots of photos, although sometimes the colors are not very credible. I also like it because the photos are taken without pretense. Sometimes old or slightly stained leaves are seen. The author is one of the most important nurserymen and collectors in the world but has no shame in showing imperfect plants.
It may seem strange that I take the cue from written books rather than observe, describe the book-nature that surrounds me. But it is also true that certain books, which present large collections, also manage to convey strong emotions. Hazel Key, through the photos, and with some brief introduction and caption, talks about the pelargonium and leads readers capable of interpreting nature as diversity by the hand. We thus learn to know very different pelargoniums, we understand that it is not just a matter of combining shades of colors, or of distinguishing between "zonal" and "ivy". At this point the pelargoniums are really pelargoniums, in the plural, not just as a number. Every variety, every group acquires personality: there are such plants of the '700 English, botanical pelargoniums, those suitable for those who love colors and strong tastes and those for those who love soft shades or delicate-looking plants. Sometimes the varieties bear the name of those who have bred and selected them or some of his acquaintances. You want to know the stories of those names, of those people. Other times the plant is indicated with the botanical name in Latin. In this case we understand that it is a botanical species. A plant that lives in a spontaneous state in nature.
A plant that I'm passionate about in this period is P. cordifolium (Cav.) Curt. It is a botanical species that lives in South Africa. As the name implies, it has cordate leaves, meaning a heart shape. It is a Pelargonium with an almost shrubby habit. Of important dimensions (it can reach 70-80 cm in height), it is a plant suitable to be cultivated in the open ground. But it's also good in a big vase. It is of those plants that can characterize with their presence an open space, for the beauty of the foliage, for the generous flowering, for the scent of the leaves.
On the upper side, the leaf lamina has a typical dark green, almost nocturnal color, which contrasts with the glaucous color of the lower page. The margins, toothed, have a thin brown border. The flowers are deep pink with the two large and veined upper petals and the lower ones very thin. The period of greatest flowering is spring, but it continues to bloom throughout the year. The scent of the leaves is delicate. Remember the soaps, the powder. It is released when the leaves are touched between the fingers. In this way, moreover, one can appreciate the soft, silky consistency of the leaves themselves.