All gardeners hope to find something unusual growing in their garden. I posted earlier in the year about a double-flowered bittercress. I loved it but I knew it was going to be an unfulfilled love – it died, slowly, without setting any seeds. I only have photographs to remember it by.
So I was equally excited when I found a variegated seedling among some polyanthus. I have seen variegated seedlings before but this one actually wanted to grow, and stay variegated, which was new to me. It is not the best sort of variegation really because it is not a pleasant edge to the leaves but great chunks of the leaf are white or cream and other parts green. It has produced a plain green shoot too, on one side of the plant. But it is young and I will have to keep propagating from the shoots with the most even variegation and see if I can eliminate the tendency to produce green leaves.
When it first flowered I was not pleased because the flowers are bright pink. The flurry of blooms at the moment are paler than they were in spring. (you can just make out a tiny bit of bloom above – it was taken a few weeks ago) What is reassuring is that the white parts of the leaf do not seem to burn in the sun, though I have planted it in a partly shady spot. So, as a foliage plant it is quite pleasant so far and I have hopes that I will be able to stabilise it a bit and get something even nicer.
I know this is a sectoral chimaera so I doubt very much if it will produce variegated seedlings but, next spring I will try. I am not aware of any commercial variegated polyanthus but I may have missed some – do you know of any?