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P. Grace Thomas, an interesting insight

(June 20, 2013)
 GRACE THOMAS by ROGER THOMAS

 P. GRACE THOMAS
Bred by Mr Roger Thomas, Kent in England
Bred 1996 - AGM 1997
(AGM = Award of Garden Merit by the RHS)

We were absolutely delighted to receive a very unexpected email from Mr Roger Thomas.  For those of you who have been admirers of the Scented Leaf Pelargonium Group for many years you may well be aware of Roger and his continuing breeding programme.

We were fascinated to hear that Roger named his new introduction after his Mother, Grace Thomas, who has always been a great inspiration to him. 

Roger has now retired from work and now devotes his time to the love of his life, which is PELARGONIUMS.

To view the characteristics of GRACE THOMAS please click on the following link:

http://www.scentedgeraniums.co.uk/catalogue/prod_432288-lt-440-gtGrace-Thomas-lime-and-lemon-citrus-scent-from-pound300.html

Discovering the 'roots' (please excuse the pun) of the individual plants in the Scented Leaf Group is extrememly difficult, as there isn't a central reference point for the many types that are offered throughout the World.  Of the many original Species that were brought back from South Africa to Europe, from the 1600's onwards, few were succintly catalogued in a logical or systematic fashion.  As the years progressed through the 1700's and into the 1800's, especially during the reign of Queen Victoria, subsequent hybridisation and new cultivars confused the naming issue even further. 

The passion for the Scented Leaf Pelargonium Group crosses several oceans as Americans, Australians, Europeans and us Brits are all ardent followers and devotees.  If one considers that many Explorers in bygone days set sail to South Africa and then returned back with copious amounts of plants to their originating countries we may, perhaps, begin to understand why the naming of types has ended up so mixed up and confusing.  For me this aspect is fascinating, e.g. Princeanum in the UK is simply known as Orange in the US, although it is the same cultivar.  I cannot leave this subject of nomenclature without mentioning Van der Walt and Vorster who in 1988 published a comprehensive 3-volume work Pelargoniums of Southern Africa.  (Quite expensive to buy and this remains on my wish list of books!)  Recently, here in the UK, there is another attempt at cataloguing the many different types of Pelargoniums and the First Edition has been recently published.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy here is the link:
                                                             http://pelargoniumregister.com/default.asp

I would mention that once you do become addicted to the Scented Leaf Pelargonium Group, as Roger Thomas would no doubt verify, it is an affliction that has no cure and it will remain with you until your very last breathe.  But then again......it's a positive addiction and one that I certainly do not wish to be cured from.  There's the fascination of growing such intensely beautiful plants and the history just adds to the whole experience as you never stop learning on either count.

Thank you Roger for getting in touch, as you have been a real inspiration to us.  Many thanks again.

Annie & Guy

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