Monday, 8 July 2013

The Heat Is On


It's so hot that the heat from our ageing laptop is making me glow in a most ladylike manner. So a short post singing the praises of  the flowers of nicotiana mutablis which you can see above. This has most cool and elegant flowers and is a half hardy annual which makes an ideal plant for container growing. I have grown it for several years now but sadly have only seen plants come through one winter, so have started from seed again each year. The plants that are flowering now were sown some time late last summer or early autumn and overwintered in the greenhouse. I kept them dry and this year for the first time my greenhouse had heat when the temperature fell below 3 degrees fahrenheit. I potted the plants on in March and had a one in flower for our garden club plant sale at the end of May. It sold the  other plants I had taken. For an early start seed can also be sown in February if you have a heated propagator.Otherwise they can be sown in March and April.

What I find fascinating about this plant is the way the flowers change colour - opening as white before fading into light pink then a deep dusky pink. The 'mutablis' part of the name is the clue being the Latin word for changing. Hopefully the above photo conveys all three stages. The flowers are oh so subtly scented  and the plants will flower until those first frosts. I hope that if you have not come across them before that you decide to give them a go. You will be enchanted.

11 comments:

  1. They sound lovely. You've managed to capture all the stages of the colour change in your photo, I think I prefer the paler stage.

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  2. Nicotiana and I dont get on. I can now get them to germinate having learnt they dont like a lot of heat but them they take a while to get going and they are the one plant in my garden the slugs really go for. The delphiniums and hostas seem to escape but at the expense of the nicotiana. I may just give up on them after this year

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  3. The three different colours are very attractive and must look really pretty in your garden.

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  4. They look lovely, Anna, and your photo captured them really well - and I am hopeful that the nicotiana I sowed this year will eventually flower. Not the same variety as yours though.

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  5. I grew it some years ago. Are you back from France now?

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  6. How delightful! And scent is a bonus. So they actually self-seeded once in your garden? Anna, by the way: The book Who does your garden grow came the other day. Thanks for telling me about it, great read and only cost me 48 cent, not bad ;) Enjoy the heat!

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  7. I've not grown nicotiana but always admire them in other people's gardens. This one is very lovely, Anna! Looks like it's probably good for the bees as well with those lovely open flowers!

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  8. I would love to grow nicotiana. I haven't tried them from seed but I have struggled in the past few summers with plants I've bought in because they don't seem to like the wet. Of course they would be loving this weather. I grew them once successfully and it was a summer like this. Maybe that's the key. I saw mutabilis growing in an open garden a few years ago and thought it was spectacular. Hope the lap top has exploded in the heat. ;)

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  9. My cousin has a beautiful pot of these in her garden and it has really tempted me to give it a try. I do enjoy overwintering so am even more tempted now!

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  10. I really like Nicotiana in all its forms, but this one looked very interesting. Must add it to my list to try!

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  11. Thanks for all your comments. Sorry for not responding to any questions before now but I've been away from home on holiday which answers Rob's question :) Nicotiana mutablis has flourished in our absence thanks to the automatic watering device in our cold frame. Annette - no joy with self seeding but a plant did come through the winter once without any protection. Glad that you are enjoying the book.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.