Karen Mountford
Sun, 08 Jul 2007 11:45:54 PDT
Hi Guys,


This is my first post so an intro is appropriate I think.  I live in the
easternmost part of England and garden in what is usually the driest part of
the UK on a very sandy soil, half a mile from the North Sea.  My garden is
mostly very sheltered so I benefit from the warning effect of being near the
sea without suffering too much from those Siberian easterlies that hit us
occasionally for a week or so.


I grow a lot of Mediterranean plants which survive very well in the free
draining soil, examples are an eight foot olive tree, Pittosporum tobirum,
lots of Cistus and Halimium, and lavender both English and French. I lust
after traditional blowsy herbaceous borders but can't achieve them on such
poor soil sadly. 


I have a great weakness for Echeverias and Agaves most of which have to be
found space indoors or in un-heated cold frames over the winter. I have
travelled a lot in Europe and have snaffled seed from various places which
is how I have fallen into growing more bulbs.


I have a very happy Urginea maritima from Crete growing in the open in
almost pure gravel (collected as a grapefruit sized bulb which had been
dislodged by road works - honestly it's true, I have a witness) producing
three flower heads each year now - despite the trip's botanist being very
negative about it's chances. This year's triumph was to flower Iris xiphium
from seed collected in Andorra five years ago and two of my five bulbs
flowered a deep indigo blue, much nicer than those wishy washy  blue
florists versions.  I have lots of Anemone pavonina in pots grown from seed
collected in the Peloponnese - scarlet, shocking gorgeous scarlet ! not
those pretty pink and blues you get mostly in the islands. I also have three
pots of unidentified somethings collected on the southernmost point of the
Matapan peninsula on the same trip. An iris of some sort I think but what ?
My current bet is on Iris tuberosa but they are being real buggers and have
refused to flower so far.


I am going on a trip further afield than usual in November, three weeks in
Ethiopia, travelling about the country from high elevations to low. Is there
anything I might find there that would be worth keeping an eye out for?


I used to post in the uk.rec.gardens newsgroup a lot so hi to anyone who
knows me from there - I see Rodger Whitlock continues being very helpful to


Finally I'd like to thank all you guys for posting such fabulous photos on
your wiki. I have spent many a happy lunch hour at work browsing the pics
and drooling. 


Karen Mountford

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