There are a few areas which I have been putting off tackling and area 6 is one. It must be one of the oldest parts of the collection and the large bushes were cut back hard about four years ago. They are only just getting back to flowering freely so there has been very little to photograph since they were pruned.
It is a very steep section and slippery underfoot. An earlier reccie had established that there was a mismatch between the plan I had and what was on the ground, so this week I surveyed it and redrew the map. I have uploaded it under its own tab.
There are a few flowers opening in the section but it’s early days for most of them. One that is blooming is ‘Tricolor Nova’, supposedly the only plant in the collection. It looked familiar and I have concluded that it is the same as one of the two varieties planted together at 1G-057 and labelled ‘La Pace Rubra’.
Another variety with some blooms open was ‘Madame de Strekaloff’. As is the case with ‘Tricolor Nova’, it is difficult to reconcile the description in the register with the blooms on these plants. The descriptions are from documents dated soon after the introduction of the two varieties in the mid 19th century. Might the plant have changed over time? ‘Madame de Strekaloff’ is of Italian origin, ‘Tricolor Nova’ Belgian. How much difference in flower form might a much more maritime climate make? How accurate were the descriptions in the first place? We are familiar with catalogues exaggerating the merits of plants today; back then there was no Trade Descriptions Act.
Ultimately, from the conservation point of view, the first task is to secure the variety in cultivation. If it proves impossible to be certain that a name is correct then it is just as impossible to prove that it is not, so unless it is being used for another variety it may as well be let stand. If confusion is going to arise then it should perhaps be given a new name and a full description of the plant be lodged somewhere as a point of reference henceforth.