Columbia Road Market 34
For just £3 I bought this magnificent pelargonium The Marquess of Bute from Lyndon this morning at Columbia Rd. This particular pelargonium with its satin petals in deep sensuous Victorian tones has been a star of the market scene over many recent Summers. I bought some two years ago which I enjoyed over two successive Summers before they became casualties of last Winter.
Lyndon, who hails from New Zealand and always has one of the most reliably interesting selections of plants in the market, told me that it was bred by the wealthy nineteenth century industrialist John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, who used the coal from his Welsh mines to heat his glasshouses where he employed some of the greatest botanists of the day. Apparently, the deep crimson hue with its paler trim is bred to evoke the ecclesiastical tones of a Cardinal. The Marquess whose interests included medievalism, the occult and linguistics, as well as horticulture, and whom Lyndon alleges was the lover of the Princess of Wales, entered into partnership with the great architect William Burges to create two of the finest buildings of the late Gothic revival, Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch.
Henceforth, I shall nurture this pelargonium on my kitchen window sill to encourage lush Victorian fantasies of my own, while I am washing the dishes.