Let me take you back to early spring and I will tell you a tragic tale with a happy ending.
It was lecture day for the North Devon Plant Heritage group, always popular not only for the informative speakers but also for fiendish quizzes, delicious fruit crumble & custard and eclectic raffles. As soon as I walked into the room I spotted him. There he was, standing aloof on the raffle table, along with books, chocolates, paintings and primulas. It was Pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’ in all his noble beauty. This Regal Pelargonium has large blooms the colour of a black hole and he was soon to be mine. He had to be mine. I purchased as many tickets as possible without drawing attention to my fervour and waited for the end of the day when I would pick up my prize. I tried to concentrate on the day’s proceedings, but again and again my thoughts slipped back to this tall, dark, handsome chap. The time came for the draw and clutching onto my ticket with a vice like grip I waited for my lucky number to be called. As each ticket was drawn I winced as others leapt up jubilant and attacked the table of goodies. One by one the victors walked past clutching their prizes, in their ignorance none had taken my man. All is safe, I kept telling myself, this time it will be my moment of glory. Then a shout of glee and one of my near neighbours and friend presented her evidence to the invigilator with a joyful flourish. In slow motion she strode towards the prizes, considered her decision for what seemed like a few hours, finally picking his Lordship up and retraced her steps. My heart sunk. This wasn’t the happy ending I had ordered. How could this have happened?
As she passed my seat I whispered, in what I hoped to be my most menacing tone, “cuttings!”. She gave me a jolly little wave and mouthed “yes, come around anytime”. I think I will have to work on my menacing tone.
Today, many weeks later, I visited to take cuttings of this beautiful plant, yet to flower but looking very healthy. He lives in a wonderful space full of horticultural gems which are tended by true garden lovers. His guardians are also the owners of two adorable dogs and makers of some amazing homemade biscuits. It couldn’t have gone to a better home. Well except mine perhaps. It was here that I came across this herbaceous clematis, label lost in her voluptuous skirts, but perhaps Clematis stans. I now have a new object of desire. Fickle? What me?