“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”
One of the special treats to look forward to at Christmas time is the arrival of the new Chiltern Seeds catalogue. “Chiltern” is a little misleading as they are based just round the corner at Bortree Stile, Ulverston. I think it’s the best seed catalogue there is. It’s the only one I need. Chiltern Seeds are the best not only because they have an eclectic selection and are completely reliable, but because their catalogue is a joy to read. Here are a couple of typical extracts:
ANTIRRINUM- Scrophulariaceae Snapdragon
A race of beautiful annual (strictly perennial) flowers that needs no introduction. But just a couple of thoughts. First, why oh why, with the general reluctance of people to use Latin names do they in this instance insist in referring to this plant by the decidedly ugly name “Antirrhinum” and ignore the delightful English name, in use for centuries “Snapdragon”. (Incidentally did you know that Snapdragon is also a Christmas game of plucking raisins from a dish of burning brandy? Sounds fun!). Second, Snapdragons make splendid pot plants for spring flowering in a cold house or, with a heated house they can be in flower during the winter.
PASSIFLORA- Passifloraceae- Passion Flower
The story behind the name is worth repeating here. The early Spanish missionaries in South America saw in the flower the instrument’s of Christ’s Passion- the central column (gynandrophore) represented the scourging post, the three stigmas the three nails, the five stamens the five wounds, the corona filaments the crown of thorns, the calyx the nimbus or halo of glory, and the ten petals the Apostles- Peter and Judas being absent. They are very easy to grow from seed and very vigorous- given half the chance they wil take over your greenhouse.