THIS is a true — and surprising — tale of beauty and the beasties.
Susan Dobbs e-mailed me from sunny Seaview to show me an unexpected bonus from Sarracenia trumpet pitcher plants she was given.
True, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the pitchers, which so effectively trap insects, are certainly devices of wonder and are definitely novelties — but beautiful?
However, what emerged from what turned out to be Sarracenia alata were glorious.
Susan takes up the tale: “This Sarracenia is a carnivorous plant given to me by Dave, who repaired my gutters last year.
“The three pots sit in a tray of rainwater and the plants feed on the whitefly that would otherwise feed on my fuchsias.
“It is such a simple and organic solution to what had previously been a pest. My grandchildren had the ghoulish pleasure of slicing open one of the trumpets to see all the digested flies.
“I never imagined that, in addition to the trumpets, this year these beautiful flowers would emerge.
“Thank you, Dave.”
Proof positive came from Ginnie Orrey, of Crossfield Avenue, Cowes, the internet is not the only source of the exotic and unusual.
She was moved by a previous column to drop me a line.
Her letter was triggered by two things.
First of all, I mentioned the advantage enjoyed by domestic gardeners of being able to plant a wider range of fruit than can be produced commercially and she agreed — wholeheartedly.
“I expect and hope you’re a fan of James Wong’s gardening articles in the Guardian; he always suggests new and unusual things to grow which are not beyond the skills of gardeners like me who make it up as we go along.
“I thought I’d mention a couple which have been successes (so far) for me.
“Firstly, the chilean guava, a relative of the blueberry, which thrives here; their fruit are deep pink, with the scent of strawberries and an intense sweetness.
“I put in five small plants last year and they’re working up to being a decent hedge already.
“His other suggestion was the juneberry, or saskatoonberry. This struck a chord with me because I visited Saskatoon, the capital of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a few years ago and was introduced to saskatoonberry preserves, which were delicious. However, I assumed that they were local to Canada.
“Once again James Wong came to the rescue with the information they can be grown successfully here. I hunted around online and found they can be easily bought and thrive in our climate.”
However, my mention of a reader who had our usual Island problem of being beyond the wit of delivery companies is the other thread of her message.
She found saskatoonberry trees were available from a range of online nurseries — but a tree costing £15 would cost £30 to deliver.
She assumed they were too specialist to be found on the Island. But she visited the Forest View nursery on the outskirts of Newport on the off-chance and found not one but three of the very things she was looking for, along with a wealth of advice.
One of them is now happily settled in the corner of the garden and already flowering with pretty pale pink flowers.
l All gardening hints and tales are welcome at or to the County Press, Brannon House, 123 Pyle Street, Newport PO3O 1ST.