Friday, 13 July 2012

A Little Nut Tree

But this one doesn't bear a silver nutmeg.
It's not a nut tree either, but a Flowering Nutmeg.


This is Leycesteria formosa, which is also known as the Himalayan Honeysuckle. Erm, it's not a honeysuckle either. Now that you're completely confused, I'll introduce you to one of my favourite shrubs. I first came across this shrub many years ago, whilst on holiday in Cornwall. It was a specimen plant in the middle of a lawn, and was about 15ft. tall by 15ft. across. But what really attracted me to the plant, was how it was constantly visited by blackbirds who were gorging on the berries. This shrub has the added attraction of producing berries and flowers at the same time, later in the season.

On return from holiday, I set about purchasing my first plant, and it died. A few years later, I tried again, and it died. But I was determined to have this plant, so a few years later I purchased yet another one, and it.......wait for it, it survived. Maybe it was the pruning; I think I may have pruned the young shrubs too hard in their first year. Whereas with this plant, I let it get well established before attacking it with the pruners. And it has survived two severe winters recently too.

It has only just started flowering this year, I wonder why, so there are no berries just yet. The blackbirds in my garden are currently feasting on a bumper crop of Berberis darwinii berries:


Sorry about the poor quality of this photo, only it was pouring with rain, yet again. Remember the blackbird who was sunbathing the other day, well she really doesn't like the rain:


There was no food on the bird table, so she was just sheltering from the rain. Can't say I blame her.

12 comments:

  1. It's a pretty tree and I can see why you would want one. Even the birds hide from the rain.

    I enjoy these naming stories. I have a Russian Olive in my yard. It's not an olive tree nor is it from Russia.

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    1. I think they just pick the names to confuse people, and I'm easily confused.

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  2. Widziała ten krzew, jest faktycznie ładny. Nie wiedziała jednak, że kosy na nim ucztują. Pozdrawiam.
    She saw this shrub, it is actually nice. She did not know however, that the scythe on the feast. Yours.

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    1. I'm reluctant to prune it now though.

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  3. I had to laugh at the comment above - Google translate has a lot to answer for! As to the shrub - I first saw it last year - a self-seeder in a thicket by the reservoir. I didn't know what it was so I named it the 'shrimp tree' cos the flowers looked vaguely like, yes you've guessed it - shrimps. I have never seen one for sale in a garden centre though. Have a good weekend.

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    1. Mine has now started to self-seed into pots. I let them grow a bit before I plant them out, and they survive. Amazing.

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  4. Hi Crystal,

    We have the same taste in shrubs and strangely the same thing happened to me.
    I lost four plants.....but desparately wanted it to live in the garden.
    I now have three and all are okay, like you I leave them to settle first.
    We all learn from our mistakes :)
    The berries come a little later in the season I think ??

    Hows the arc coming along ??

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    1. Yes the berries aren't due just yet, but I like how the plant carries on flowering even when the berries do eventually appear.
      Oh the ark, it's sprung a leak.

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  5. That Blackbird will be banging (or pecking) on the door next asking to come in for a cuppa & the heating switched on! :-)

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    1. Now don't give her any ideas. I'm sure she reads this blog.

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  6. Hey, I have also killed a Leycesteria in the past! It was a Leycesteria crocothyrsos, Golden Himalayan honeysuckle. I managed to get it to flower and it survived for two years, but I think it actually grew too big for the large tub I had it in. I didn't realise how big these plants become until I came home with it and started reading, typical...and then tried to restrict its growth by keeping it in a tub, which wasn't very successful. I didn’t make another attempt, since I had nowhere to put such a huge plant, but it was lovely for as long as I had it. I think yours is perhaps even prettier, with its purple flowers. Beautiful!

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    1. I nearly bought Leycesteria crocothyrsos a few years ago, but I decided to give this one another try instead. Might have a go at the golden one now though.

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