I have recently moved to a very small hamlet of five houses deep in Somerset, in the south-west of England. The house itself was built in the early 17th century as a farm house and is set in three-quarters of an acre of walled garden. It is extremely quiet and very remote. We are starting again with the gardens - the previous owner was very keen on topiary and large trees, but they have now gone. My wife and I have split the gardens pretty much 50:50 between us - she for vegetables and cut flowers, me for my various plant passions.
At my previous garden I grew a wide range of shrubs and trees, but part of the reason for moving here was to cut down on the work involved with keeping up five acres of intensive garden. So, here I intend to concentrate on a much narrower range of material. Central to these is the collection of tuberous Pelargonium of section Hoarea, which forms the National Collection of these beautiful plants. The collection now amounts to some three hundred plants, covering several accessions of approaching fifty of the species, many of which were from wild collected material. In addition, I grow a range of tuberous and xerophytic species from other sections of the genus.
Other significant collections that I have are Oxalis, Alstroemeria, Bomarea, Tropaeolum and a fast growing collection of various South African and South American amaryllids, particularly Cyrtanthus, Crinum, Haemanthus and Gethyllis, again mainly from wild collected sources.
All of the above are greenhouse plants in the UK, but I also grow a range of other "bulbs" in cold frames. In particular, I grow a wide range of Iris, Tulipa and Eremurus from seed collected during trips to the Tien Shan in Kazakhstan.
I am the International Cultivar Registrar for Geranium and Erodium; President of the Saxifrage Society and the Geranium Group of the Hardy Plant Society; Past Chairman of the British Clematis Society and of the Peony Group of the Hardy Plant Society.
I just love plants!