Tom Mitchell

Me up a tree in southern Mozambique

I think that I may be able to claim the record for living further from the nearest point on the Pacific Rim than any other PBS member (5221 km, according to Google Maps distance calculator). That doesn't stop me trying to grow a wide range of implausible geophytes in my garden and greenhouses in Wiltshire, in the south west of the United Kingdom. My modus operandi involves the application of extreme ignorance and benign neglect, which I find helps to limit my collection to a few bomb-proof plants.

Defining 'bulbs' in the broadest sense, Agapanthus, Arum, Crocosmia, Cyclamen, Galanthus, Iris, Lilium, Nerine, Trillium, Veratrum and other members of the Melanthiaceae are probably the genera that I am most enthusiastic about. Mainly as a result of reading the PBS list and corresponding with other members, I have become very interested in less obviously hardy geophytes, particularly members of the Amaryllidaceae.

One of the things that has always puzzled me about plant people is the way in which so many of us restrict ourselves to growing a certain group of plants - for example geophytes. Not me! Beyond the realms of 'bulbs' I am smitten by Epimedium, Helleborus, Hepatica, Monarda, Paeonia, Polygonatum, pretty much anything in the Ranunculaceae and Rodgersia but just about everything herbaceous is grist to my mill.

Except ivy. I hate ivy.

I'm into 'woodies' too but here the depths of my ignorance are un-plumbable. And the depths of my wallet inadequate.

Although I do not eschew cultivars or hybrids (indeed I am nutty about intersectional peonies, among other un-natural pleasures), I am vastly more interested in growing natural species, particularly when I know where the plant in question came from. I do a lot of collecting myself, mainly in Europe but increasingly further afield too.

I'm always interested in corresponding with anyone who shares my interests and am an enthusiastic swapper of plants and seeds.

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