Ironically, about a Gent called Ian…

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I see from the Caley website that Beryl and Ian McNaughton of Macplants have been awarded the George Forrest Medal for the Caley Gentian.  Gentiana ‘The Caley’ was developed by Ian McNaughton to celebrate the Caley’s bicentenary.

Gentiana The Caley

The Caley

I know what a Gentian is but I thought it worth looking up to see if there was any reference to Gentiana – The Caley on the web.  It wasn’t listed in Wikipedia but, in theory at least, it appears that  I should be able to buy a mug, a print or a jigsaw – but the picture they have simply doesn’t do the plant justice.

So what makes a plant good enough to be awarded a George Forrest medal? I don’t know the answer to that – so perhaps someone will enlighten us?  I do know that it is a SPECIAL AWARD awarded to only the most meritorious plants.  But perhaps  it is an even more deserved award because of the link with George Forrest who, I understand, was responsible for introducing Gentiana sino-ornata.

[ed. If anyone feels like making the appropriate changes to Wikipedia….]


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  • George Anderson

    I have grown The Caley for a few years now and this year a single plant in a 10″ pot produced a wonderful display with over 50 flowers out at one time. It is going back slightly now but has been fantastic. It is very easy to grow and for those of you that do not have a plant there are still some available from Macplants where the nursery display looks magnificent.

  • Stan da Prato

    One of the features of this gentian is its relatively late flowering – Beryl says to coincide wth the RCHS bicentenary. I took a fairly small plant to the joint SRGC/AGS show at Ponteland on Saturday 8 October where it it won its class but it was one of only three gentians in a hall with over 450 alpine plants and the two others were really past their best. Several growers commented that their gentians had gone over quite early this year. The McNaughton gentians that have attracted considerable interest are the earlier flowering Braemar and the even earlier Balmoral – both well worth getting if you want to widen your collection. There is an article by Ian McN. in the Caley Gardener of 2002 on the breeding programme behind these plants. Other gentians to look out for are the Levers’ Aberconwy Silk series of which Shot Silk is particularly distinctive and has even made it to Dobbies. The Levers have also been trying to develop a more vigorous form of G. farreri which is a beautiful sky blue but a weak grower.

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