I like gardening, because there's always a bit of a surprise. Of course, that doesn't mean that the surprise will be a good one. The surprise of a total harvest of four carrots this year, the surprise of the rotten new potatoes when I came to dig them up (rather a smelly surprise, that one), the surprise of your hand on a large slug. Slug juice really sticks to you, doesn't it?
This summer, a wipeout for most of our veg, has been rather a good one for the Schizostylis coccinea in the garden. Last year they sulked, as it was quite a bit drier. One advantage of the non-stop rain this year is that they have loved it.
I only grow the bog standard Schizostylis coccinea (though it might be the cultivar 'Major' - I can't remember, to be honest), and is has spread quite quickly in the wet years since it was planted. I love its simple, bright flowers. The leaves tend to look a bit weedy in the border, but hide them with another plant and its a problem easily solved.
Unlike your hand unexpectedly coming across a large slug, the Schizostylis this year gave me a nice surprise. As well as the red, a sport has come up, in a rather nice pink. There seem to be quite a few pink cultivars out there already, but I'm proud of my darkish pink sport, even if it clashes somewhat with its bedmates at the moment. I'll ferret it out soon, and give it a slightly more tasteful place than in a bed of autumnal reds, yellows and oranges.
It came in rather handy, as I'd been meaning to buy a pink one for a while!