Emma tennant a planet with Flowers: 6½ Continents in one Scotch Garden

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A Planet with Flowers:

6½ Continents in one Scotch Garden
(* = illustrated in the catalogue)


Leeks, like onions, have not been found in the wild, though they are very similar to Allium ampeloprasum which is native to the Mediterranean region and Macaronesia, eg. the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Canaries, Cape Verde and Madeira. Leeks have been cultivated for thousands of years. They are very popular in Scotland and the north of England, where many villages have special leek shows in the autumn. This one had survived temperatures as low as -15°C in last winter’s hard weather. The aconite and the Viola ‘Pamela Zambra’ were flowering as we finished the last of the leek crop. £2,000


Narcissus and violets are two favourite harbingers of spring. The yellow narcissus, known to gardeners as ‘Soleil d’or’, is a vigorous form of N.tazetta ssp. aureus, which grows wild in the south of France, NW Italy and Sardinia. I painted it with Narcissus tazetta ssp. italicus, a native of the north-eastern Mediterranean.

The yellow violet is a recent introduction from the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is Viola brevistipulata hidakana. The large-flowered purple violet is a garden form of V.hirta called ‘Pamela Zambra’. £1,000

Narcissus tazetta ‘canaliculatus’ is a form of N.tazetta, the bunch-flowered narcissus, which grows wild from Portugal, round the Mediterranean, and as far east as Iran. It is naturalised in Kashmir, China and Japan, having long been cultivated in those countries. It is therefore an interesting example of a plant which has travelled from West to East, unlike so many which have come to our gardens from the Far East. The British Museum has a wonderful painted Chinese scroll which dates from the

54 The Gallery

Shepherd Market

London W1Y 7HP

6-9 December 2011

mid 13th century, and shows a narcissus, its leaves blowing in the wind, which is virtually identical to my specimen.

The chionodoxa was flowering in the garden at the same time. £950

The large fritillary is N.pallidiflora, which comes from the mountains on the Russian/China border, ie. the Tienshan and the Dzungarian Alatau. The smaller one has the extra-ordinary specific epithet, uva-vulpis, which means wolf’s grape. The narcissus are N.bulbocodium, the hoop-petticoat daffodil, and N.jonquilla. £1,200


Hermodactylus tuberosus is a fascinating bulbous plant from the Mediterranean and the near East. The species, which is the only one in the genus, usually has dark brown falls and yellowish green standards. Some slightly different colour forms have been introduced recently. This one was found at Agios Varvara in Crete. It is grown under the collector’s number MS731. The grape hyacinths on the right survived many years of neglect before I rescued my garden, and the ones on the right are M.macrocarpum, an uncommon species which grows wild in Crete and SW Turkey. £1,000


The Pheasant’s Eye narcissus, Narcissus poeticus var recurvus, is the last of the genus to flower, and is wonderfully scented. It grows wild from France to Greece, but, luckily for us, is equally happy in the coldest and wettest parts of Britain. My clumps grow in rough grass, and never fail. £1,000


Fritillaria Imperialis, Cowslip, Grape Hyacinth and Lily-of-the-Valley

The Crown Imperial, Fritillaria imperialis, deserves its specific epithet. It grows wild in Asia, from Turkey to Kashmir, and has long been prized in gardens here. The type has brick-red flowers. I prefer the yellow var ‘lutea’ which was flowering in my garden in May, along with cowslips, grape hyacinths, and the Hardwick variety of lily-of-the-valley, which has yellow-edged leaves. £2,500


This little treasure is a native of Morocco, where it grows in cedar and oak forests at altitudes between 1,200-2,000 metres. Some authorities think that it is a subspecies of N.bulbocodium; others give it specific status on account of its pale yellow flowers and exserted stamens. £1,200


Miss Jekyll describes her violets as October flowers, along with the Mediterranean periwinkle, Vinca difformis, and Sternbergia lutea. ‘Czar violets are giving their fine and fragrant flowers on stalks nine inches long. To have them at their best they must be carefully cultivated and liberally enriched. No plants answer better to good treatment, or spoil more quickly by neglect. A miserable sight is a forgotten violet-bed where they have run together into a tight mat, giving only few and poor flowers’.

The Czar was bred in Russia, probably counting Viola odorata, the wild English scented violet, and V.suavis, the Russian equivalent, among its ancestors. It was given an Award of Merit by the RHS in 1865 and became a parent of many other varieties.

The history of the 40 or so named kinds of sweet violet is complicated. Some have long been grown in Persia, Syria and Turkey. An Aramaic book, translated into Arabic in AD904, gives detailed instructions for the cultivation of violets. I only wish I had a copy.

Viola odorata is one of the myrmecochore species eg. its seeds are dispersed by ants. To this end the fruit, a three-sided capsule, is provided with an oil-body or elaisome which attracts the ants. £1,500

Rhododendron moupinense was discovered by the great French missionary-naturalist Père David in 1869, and introduced by “Chinese” Wilson in 1909. It is a native of west Szechwan, where it usually grows as an epiphyte on oak trees, but is sometimes found on rocks and cliffs. It makes a wonderful cool greenhouse plant, flowering as early as January. £1,250


This rare species has an interesting history in cultivation. In 1931 Lord Stair sent a specimen from his garden at Lochinch, Wigtownshire, to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for identification. It had been grown from seeds collected by George Forrest in Yunnan under the collector’s number 25446, but did not match the corresponding herbarium specimen, which was R.cilicalyx. The Lochinch species, with its beautiful clear yellow flowers, was obviously a new species.

The specific epithet means ‘Golden gift’. Rhododendron chrysodoron is too tender to thrive out-of-doors except in the mildest parts of Britain, but does well in a pot in a cool greenhouse. £1,500


Rhododendron edgeworthii was discovered by Joseph Hooker on his momentous expedition to Sikkim and Bhutan in 1849-51. He wrote that the ‘majority of my specimens [of Rhododendron edgeworthii] were obtained from land-shoots, or slips, in the rocky ravines, which bring down in their course those pines on the limbs of which this species delights to dwell’. The specific epithet commemorates Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-81). Hooker described him as ‘my accomplished and excellent friend, M.P. Edgeworth Esq, of the Bengal Civil Service …who has long and successfully studied the botany of Western Himalaya’.

10. (I) £1,200 11. (II) £1,200


This extraordinary species was introduced by Kingdon Ward in 1925. He collected seeds ‘blind’ near the Bhutan/Assam border, while on his way home from his famous exploration of the Tsangpo gorges. He must have been amazed when his seedlings flowered for the first time. Rhododendron rhabdotum belongs to the Maddenii series, but flowers in July, much later than the rest of the group. It is an easy and spectacular pot plant. £2,500


Rhododendron maddenii is a native of the Himalayas from Sikkim eastwards. It was discovered by JD Hooker on his 1849 expedition and named by him after Major Edward Madden (1805-1856), of the Bengal Civil Service, whom he described as ‘a good and accomplished botanist, to whose learned memoirs on the plants of the temperate and tropical zones of north west Himalaya the reader may be referred for an excellent account of the vegetation of those regions’. £2,200


This paeony is P.wittmanniana which comes, like the better-known P.mlokosevitschii, from the Caucasus. It was introduced to this country in 1842. I bought the seedling from the marvellous Cally Gardens at Gatehouse of Fleet, where Michael Wickenden grows all kinds of treasures. £950


Paeonia rockii is generally thought to be a sub-species of P.suffruticosa. It is named after Joseph Rock (né Josef Franz Karl Rock, 1884-1962), the Austrian botanist who took American nationality and collected plants in China for the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. In 1925 he spent a year in the famous Choni Lamasery in SW Kansu, and there he found the beautiful paeony which was named after him and has been a rare treasure in European gardens ever since. I was thrilled when my seeds germinated after a few months spent in the refrigerator, to emulate winter conditions in NW China.

Freesias are easy to grow from seed. The multi-coloured florists’ varieties are lovely, but I prefer this species, which is creamy-white and superbly scented. The genus comes from South Africa, and is named after Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (died 1876), a German physician. £800

Magnolia wilsonii is a native of West Szechuan and Yunnan in China. It is one of the most beautiful of all small trees, and deservedly bears the name of “Chinese” Wilson, the great plant-hunter who discovered it in 1904 and introduced it four years later. £1,000


The plant in the pot is 'Hetty Woolf', a modern variety. The purple and green variety is 'Osborne Green' which has been grown since the 18th century, unlike most of the varieties of auricula available today, which are of relatively recent origin even though they closely resemble the varieties seen in old illustrations and paintings. £1,200


Opinion varies as to the garden merit of Lilium martagon. Woodcock & Coutts, in their authoritative book on lilies, say that, ‘by comparison with other species it is a coarse and unattractive species, with an unpleasant smell’. Others love the martagon for its quiet charm and ease of cultivation. It does best, and looks best, in dappled shade at the edge of a wood. The white form, which does well in my garden, is one of my favourites. £1,800


Lilium taliense was named by Franchet after the Tali (or Dali) range in Yunnan, where it was discovered by Père Delavay in 1883. It was not introduced to the West until the 1930s, when plants grown from seed collected by the great Scotch plant-hunter George Forrest flowered at Nymans in Sussex. £1,800


In 1946 the great plant-hunter Frank Kingdon Ward married his second wife, Jean Macklin.  On their honeymoon, they set off for the India/Tibet border to look for a pink lily Kingdon Ward had seen while searching for a crashed American aeroplane just after the war.  They found the lily.  Kingdon Ward named it after his bride, and showed it in London for the first time in 1950. £950


This beautiful lily comes from Japan. It was introduced in 1830 by Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866), a German doctor who introduced many Japanese plants to Europe. L.speciosum can be grown in the open in the warmest parts of Britain, but flowers too late in the year to flourish in northern counties unless it is kept in a pot. £2,500


Lilium pumilum is a native of Siberia, Mongolia, NE China and N Korea. According to the plant-hunter Reginald Farrer, ‘nothing could be simpler to manage or yield more brilliant results than L.pumilum as the Tibetans grow it, for they ram a handful of bulbs at haphazard into the hard mud of their flat roofs, and there above the caves sprouts a living pyramid of fire from year to year’.

I painted Lilium pumilum with a seedling of a variety of pea called ‘Deliket’. £2,200

Meconopsis baileyii was, for many years, regarded as being synonymous with M.betonicifolia. That species was found in the mountains of Yunnan, China, by the French Jesuit, Père Delavay, in 1886. He sent dried plants to the botanist Franchet, who named them Betonicifolia, but did not introduce the species to cultivation.

Years later, in 1904, the extraordinary soldier, linguist and spy Frederick Bailey found a blue poppy while serving on the Younghusband expedition to Tibet. He bought home a pressed flower, and, thinking that it was a new species, British botanists named it after Bailey. Then it was discovered that Delavay had already collected a blue poppy whose name, according to the Rules of Nomenclature, had to stand. Recently, however, the taxonomy of this complex genus has been revised. The current view is that M.betonicifolia and M.baileyii are two distinct species after all.

Meconopsis baileyii was eventually introduced to cultivation by Kingdon Ward. It caused a sensation when it was shown in London in 1924. £2,500


Lillium ledebourii grows wild in mountain woods in the eastern Caucasus. It is named after Karl Friedrich Ledebour (1785-1851), Professor at Dorpat (now Tartru) in Estonia, who wrote a flora of Russia, among other botanical works. L.ledebourii, which is not often seen in gardens, is closely related to L.pyrenaicum, but lacks the unpleasant smell of that species. £2,000


This famous rose was produced in 1915 by William Paul, the result of a cross between Frau Karl Druschki and Marechal Niel. As Graham Stuart Thomas says ‘the flowers are of sumptuous quality and fragrance … there is nothing like it’. £1,100


Iris pallida dalmatica grows wild in the Balkans, as the name indicates. So the cold, wet climate of Scotland does not suit it well. However, it survives, even if it is less floriferous than in the south. Graham Thomas describes this classic iris as a ‘well-known, anciently cultivated plant’. £2,500


This nemophila appears to be growing on the cantilever principle, but where is the counter-balance? The plant obviously could not support its own weight. The explanation is that it was growing in my crowded annual border, where it was propped up by neighbours, which included groundsel and chickweed as well as cornflowers and love-in-a-mist. Nemophila is one of many beautiful Californian annuals which do well here. The specific epithet commemorates Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), the Scottish surgeon and botanist who accompanied Captain George Vancouver on his Pacific voyage (1790-95). According to Dr. Stearn, Menzies was long remembered by the Hawaiians as ‘the red-faced man who cut off the limbs of men and gathered grass’. £2,000


Prince Felix Youssoupov, the man who murdered Rasputin, described in his memoirs the house his family owned in the Crimea. It was, he said, an ugly but comfortable building whose terraced garden stretched down to the Black Sea. ‘The air was filled with the fragrance of thousands of La France roses, whose delicious scent also invaded the house’. What a place that must have been. It survived the Russian Revolution, but was presumably destroyed in the Civil War that followed.

La France, which is regarded as the first Hybrid Tea rose, was bred by Guillot Fils in Lyons, and introduced in 1867. It loves a warm climate, so in cold, wet Scotland I grow mine in a pot. £850

P.grandiflorum comes from the Cape region of South Africa. It was an early introduction to Europe, and was described by Henry Andrews (1794-1830) in his book ‘Geraniums’, but has remained something of a rarity. P.grandiflorum has glaucous leaves, which are unusual in the genus. The specific epithet describes the large, beautifully pencilled flowers. £1,200


I love the species Pelargoniums, and the first-cross hybrids like this one between P.lobatum and P.fulgidum. Nurserymen say that Pelargonium x ardens sells on sight. Unfortunately it usually starts to die as soon as I look at it. This fine specimen was a present from a friend, but went into a decline after I had painted it. Pelargonium x ardens was raised at the famous nursery Lee of Hammersmith in about 1818. £3,000


‘Sweet Mimosa’ is one of the scented-leaved pelargoniums. Most of the cultivars date from the 19th century and early 20th century. Like old-fashioned roses, they were kept going by a few enthusiasts and specialist nurseries, and are now more popular than ever. They have many of the attributes of the South African species, such as P.cucullatum and P.quercifolium, from which they are derived. In Mediterranean climates they make substantial, free-flowering shrubs. ‘Sweet Mimosa’ is one of the best of this lovely group of plants. £900


Paeonia peregrina comes from the Balkans and was introduced to Britain in 1629. As

GS Thomas says, ‘its flowers have no equal in their season’. The specific epithet means ‘exotic’ or ‘immigrant’.

Paeonia peregrina was flowering in my garden at the same time as the hedges were festooned with wild roses, and the strawberries were ripening. £2,000


Paeonia cambessedesii, the smallest species in the genus, grows wild on limestone rocks and cliffs in Majorca and Menorca. It is named after Jacques Cambessedes (1799-1863), a French botanist who published a Flora of the Balearics. It flowers very early and does well in a pot in a cool greenhouse. P.anomala comes from eastern Russia and Central Asia, and was introduced in 1788. £2,000

* 33. / 34. PEAS & PEAS II

These peas are Hurst Green Shaft, a superb modern variety which I grow every year. The pea is native to the Mediterranean and is believed to have been brought to Britain by the Romans. It has been cultivated for thousands of years.

33. £750 34. (II) 950
* 35. RADISH

The radish, Raphanus caudatum, was an important food crop in Egypt as early as 2,000 BC. This variety is known in England as ‘French Breakfast’ – but in France it is called, more prosaically, ‘radis demi-long à bout blanc’. Where does the English name come from? £1,000


The onion, Allium cepa, is a vegetable of uncertain origin – which is to say that it has not been found in the wild. It is obviously of ancient origin. I must admit that I grew this purple-skinned variety for its looks, but it tasted delicious too. £1,000


Non-gardeners are familiar with the herb borage, as it is an essential ingredient of Pimm’s. The distinctive flowers were also a favourite subject of Elizabethan and Jacobean embroiderers. Dr. Stearn thinks that the name comes from the Latin burra, a hairy garment, and refers to the leaves, but the equally learned Geoffrey Grigson says it is derived from the medieval Latin borago, which itself comes from the Arabic abu-arak, ‘father of sweat’. Borage was used medicinally to induce sweating and drive out fever. £950

38. BROAD BEAN (red-flowered)

This interesting curiosity has recently been re-discovered by the HDRA (Henry Doubleday Research Association) as part of its Heritage Seeds initiative. 'The Vegetable Garden' by Vilmorin and Andrieux, which was published in an English edition in 1885, describes a similar variety, the Very Dwarf Scarlet Bean, as ‘a small and early variety, but not very productive’. The red-flowered broad bean is said to date back to 1778. £950


There is only this one species in the genus Myositidium, which comes from rocky cliffs in the Chatham Islands, east of New Zealand. It is now very rare in the wild, due to overgrazing. This extraordinary plant, whose flowers look like gigantic forget-me-nots, was introduced by a Cornishman called JD Enys, of Enys near Penryn. In cold, wet Roxburghshire I grow myositidium in a cool greenhouse. £1,500


Heliophila coronopifolia grows wild in South Africa, from Namaqualand south to the Cape. It is an easily grown and very pretty annual, which is seen less often than it deserves to be.


George Whitehead, in his book ‘Grow Fruit in your Greenhouse’, says ‘There is no doubt whatever that the best strawberry ever raised is ‘Royal Sovereign’. He goes on to warn of the difficulty of obtaining a healthy strain of this marvellous variety. I was lucky. When Tommy Neillans left Glen, where he had been head gardener for many years, he kindly gave me a supply of runners for the garden I was beginning to make. They have thrived in my garden for more than 30 years. Royal Sovereign was bred by a famous Victorian nurseryman, Thomas Laxton of Bedford, and introduced in 1892. It still reigns supreme for flavour. £1,600

42. / 43. / 44. / 45. SWEET PEAS I, II,


Everyone loves Sweet Peas, with their unusual shape, ice-cream colours, and delicious scent. Each year I grow a selection of the old-fashioned varieties which were re-discovered in Chile a few years ago. They include the striped ‘America’, purple and violet ‘Matucana’ and pink and white ‘Painted Lady’, which has been grown in England since the 18th century.

42. (I) £1,200 43. (II) £1,800

44. (III) £1,800 45. (IV) £1,600

The genus Anchusa belongs to the forget-me-not family, Boraginaceae. The specific name comes from the Greek ankousa, meaning alkanet, and the epithet, which means thin, or slender, describes the leaves. This plant is one of many treasures I have acquired from Michael Wickenden's wonderful nursery at Cally Gardens, Gatehouse of Fleet. £1,250


The large-flowered penstemons are hybrids between P.cobaea, a native of the south west states of the USA, and P.hartweggi from Mexico. Many of them date back to the 1840s. They are marvellous plants for a long-lasting display of colour. I do not know the name of this pink variety, which was a present from a friend. I painted it with red currants and an early windfall apple. £1,500


The daisies are two kinds of felicia from South Africa. Anchusa azurea is a short-lived but spectacular perennial which grows wild from Spain eastwards to Central Asia. The single delphinium flower is from one of the belladonna hybrids. Miss Jekyll said that ‘though weak in growth the old Delphinium 'Belladonna' has so lovely a quality of colour that it is quite indispensable’. £1,500


Why does anyone bother with Delphiniums in dirty shades of mauve and purple, when this glorious sky-blue variety is so easily grown from seed? With it I painted a form of D.grandiflorum and Cerinthe major var purpurascens.

Cerinthe is an annual which grows wild in Portugal and the Mediterrean littoral. It was an early introduction to British gardens, and was included on a list of plants grown at Chatsworth in 1840. This form with blue-green bracts and purple flowers was re-introduced from Australia and New Zealand, where it was a popular garden plant, quite recently. It is now the height of fashion, and deservedly so. £3,500

There is more to the genus Delphinium than the six foot spires of blue at the back of many a herbaceous border. I prefer the more elegant species and their varieties. The one on the left is a Belladonna type called ‘Cliveden Beauty’. On the left is an unusual colour variation of Delphinium grandiflorum, which I grew from seed. £2,000


I love delphiniums. The blueness of their flowers is as true as that of the gentian or meconopsis. For years I have grown the species variously described as Chinensis, Grandiflorum and Tatsienense. They all seemed very similar to me – so I was relieved to learn, from the authoritative botanist Dr. Martyn Rix, that these species are synonymous with D.grandiflorum. It grows wild in Siberia and China, is easy to grow from seed, and makes a marvellous pot plant. £2,500


Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana is named after Thomas Evans (1751-1814), who was known to his contemporaries as ‘Thomas Evans of the India House’. He was a clerk in the treasury department of the East India Company who had a passion for growing exotic plants in the greenhouses he built in Stepney, then a leafy suburb of London. Evans’ career prospered, and in 1807 the directors of the East India Company appointed him head of their Bullion Office. Alas, like many other collectors and gardeners, he overspent and was heavily in debt when he died.

At the height of his prosperity and enthusiasm, Evans sent his own collector to Malaya. There he found Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana growing on Prince of Wales’ Island, now called Penang.

Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana also grows wild in China. The Chinese grow it in pots which are put on a raised wall or table, the better to appreciate the delicate flowers and beautiful leaves. I have followed this tip with great success. Lucky gardeners in the warmer parts of Britain can grow Begonia grandis out-of-doors. £1,800


There are nearly 1,000 species in the genus begonia. Begonias grow wild in the tropics and sub-tropics, from central and south America to the Himalayas and China. Begonia ravenii grows on steep shady rocks in central Taiwan. It was not discovered until 1988. The genus is named after Michel Begon (1638-1710), Governor of French Canada and patron of botany. £1,400



Desfontainea is named after Réné Louiche Desfontaines, Professor of Botany at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, who lived from 1750-1833. There is only the one species in the genus. Desfontainea is a native of Peru and Chile, where I have seen it growing wild in the temperate rain forest. It also flourishes on the western seaboard of the British Isles. My specimen lives in the greenhouse. 54. sold 54a. (II) £1,000


Philadelphus mexicanus was introduced from Mexico by Hartweg in the 1830s. I painted the form known as ‘Rose Syringa’. It first came to botanical notice in 1891 when FW Burbidge, Curator of the Botanic Garden at Trinity College Dublin, sent a specimen to Kew, saying that he could not identify it. The origin of this interesting variety is still unknown. It needs to be kept in a greenhouse in Britain, and like many of the genus, it is deliciously scented. £750





Eucryphia lucida is a native of Tasmania where it grows on the banks of rivers and sometimes makes a tree 100 ft high. It grows out of doors in the warmer counties of Britain. These two pink varieties were found in the forests of north west Tasmania by the nurseryman Ken Gillanders and introduced to cultivation recently.

56. £950 57. £550

D H Lawrence wrote:-

Not every man has gentians in his house, in soft September, at slow sad Michaelmas’.

Those who do are lucky indeed. I painted Gentiana Glamis Strain, which has the legendary caerulean blue G.farreri in its ancestry, with a hybrid of G.sino-ornata. These wonderful late-flowering gentians were introduced in the 20th century and come from Tibet. £950


The autumn-flowering gentians from Tibet are among the most beautiful introductions of the 20th century. G.sino-ornata, with ultramarine flowers, has proved to be easy to grow, but G.farreri, whose flowers are a rare shade of caerulean blue is extremely difficult to propagate. It caused a sensation when it flowered at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh for the first time in 1916. As Will Ingwersen says in his authoritative Manuel of Alpine Plants (1978) ‘I doubt if the original introduction exists in cultivation, its place having been taken by seedlings and hybrids, none of which has quite the exciting luminous Cambridge-blue colouring’.

This is one of those hybrids, which was circulated by Alex Duguid. It may not be as good as the original G.farreri, but nonetheless, the flowers are a rare and exciting colour. £1,500

The genus Shortia is named after Dr Charles W Short (1794-1863), a botanist from Kentucky. Three species are in cultivation. Two come from Japan; the third, which I painted, is S.galacifolia from America. All are alpine beauties. The specific epithet tells one that the leaves resemble those of galax, an equally obscure American genus.

I grew S.galacifolia in a pot, which was left outside during the hard winter of 2009/10. The temperature fell below -15°C, but the plant survived. £1,200

The genus Commelina was named after two Dutch botanists, Johann Commelin (1629-1692) and his nephew Caspar (1667-1731). Caspar had a son, also called Caspar, about whom little is known apart from the fact that he wrote a Latin poem in 1715. Linnaeus said 'Commelina has flowers with three petals, two of which are showy, while the third is not conspicuous, from the two botanists named Commelin, for the third died before accomplishing anything in Botany’. In fact the species I grew and painted has three equally bright blue petals which are, as the specific epithet indicates, the colour of the sky. Commelina coelestis comes from Central and South America, and grew wild on the estancia where I used to live in the Argentine. £850



Rosa micrantha is one of the less common wild roses of Britain. A single old bush grows by the roadside a few miles from my farm in Roxburghshire. It has particularly attractive deep pink flowers and spectacular hips in autumn. I grew a few plants from seed and planted them just outside the garden. £1,500


Kierengeshoma palmata comes from Shikoku and Kyushu in Japan, where it grows in woods in the mountains and flowers in August. In my garden it usually flowers later, in September, so is sometimes caught by an early frost. £1,600


This cutting came from the greenhouse at Fallodon in Northumberland. Its parent plant produced delicious yellowy green figs. £1,600


The Romans grew melons, but apparently did not think much of them. The modern cultivation of these delicious fruit seems to have begun in the 15th century when some were brought from Turkish Armenia to the Papal estate of Cantaluppe near Rome. From there they were distributed to other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean. Columbus took melons to the New World on his second voyage.

This might be the first melon ever grown in Roxburghshire – though I dare say that they featured in the kitchen gardens at Floors and Mertoun in days gone by. I christened my new greenhouse by growing this old French variety. A few fruit did eventually ripen, much to my surprise and delight. They were very small, but the flavour was superb. 65. (I) £850 66. (II) £5,000

Vast amounts of money and skill are devoted to the breeding of new varieties of fruit – but many of the best are chance seedlings. ‘Victoria’ is one such. It was found in a garden at Alderton in Sussex and introduced in 1840. A really ripe Victoria is unbeatable for flavour. £2,500


The genus tagetes is named after Tages, an Etruscan deity, the grandson of Jupiter, who is said to have taught the Etruscans the art of soothsaying.

Two very popular annuals, Tagetes erecta and Tagetes patula, are known as African and French marigolds, though both originate in Mexico and Central America. The explanation for their common names is that they were introduced to North Africa and France from the New World by the Spanish, and thence arrived in northern Europe. Tagetes patula was popular in Tudor gardens and figures in a fascinating late 16th century embroidery at Hardwick Hall.

Vast numbers of varieties of Tagetes have been raised and, because of their bright colours and long flowering season, they are among the most popular annuals for bedding-out schemes. I painted the original species in my Scotch garden, a long way from its home in Mexico. The chanterelle mushrooms came from a wood nearby. £2,500


The chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius, is one of the most delicious edible mushrooms. It grows in damp ferny woods and appears in July, if the weather is right. £900


The species gladiolus are as elegant and subtle as the garden hybrids are showy and vulgar. Most of them, including this one, come from South Africa. G.blandus was introduced in 1774. £1,000


The gladiolus species are very different from the hybrids favoured by Dame Edna Everage. A few grow wild in southern Europe, and one, Gladiolus illyricus, is a rare native of the New Forest in England. But most, like the newly-introduced G.abyssinicus, come from Africa. The word gladiolus is Latin for a small sword and describes the shape of the leaves, while the specific epithet tells us that this is a native of Ethiopia. £1,000


It is always exciting to find a familiar garden plant growing in the wild. I shall never forget the day we saw Lapageria rosea in Chile. We were on the way to the airport at Puerto Montt, oddly enough, and stopped for a picnic in a shady wood near the road. There, hanging high above us in the canopy, were the deep pink bells of Chile’s national flower. In its native country, it is called by the Indian name, Copihué. Lapageria is named after Napoleon’s Josephine, née de la Pagerie. £1,500


The oak is the national tree of England, and symbolizes endurance and valour. A single oak leaf emblem attached to a war medal ribbon denotes a Mention-in-Despatches; a silver oak leaf, a King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct. £450

74. LEEK

Leeks are very popular in Scotland, and no wonder. This one was ready to eat in the autumn. £1,200

All pictures are watercolour & ink on paper, vellum or linen.
Exhibition opening times:

6-9 December 2011

10am to 6pm daily
The gilded frames are by Isabel Tennant. Isabel studied at City & Guilds, London. For further information about her work or to commission a frame:

T: 01450 860 686
A donation from the proceeds of the exhibition will go to Fine Cell Work

All enquiries to Katie Pertwee:

T: 07939 155 277

E: katie@katiepertwee.com

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