Sunday, 23 September 2012

It Came From Outer Space

Well not really, but it looks like it could have:

Any idea what this unusual looking plant is ?   I'll let you know later.
Hint No.1:  It's a hardy plant.

This is Lily Pink Attraction, purchased in May this year, which explains why it has only just started flowering. Hopefully it will bloom at the correct time next year.

Any idea on the mystery plant yet ?
Hint No.2: The leaves in the photo are not what you normally expect on this plant.

This is Lily Flash Point, another one purchased in May this year. Have you noticed the nibbled leaves ?  A sign of vine weevil damage, I think. I've found a number of them recently, time to order some nematodes to deal with them. Vine weevils wreak havoc in pots if left untreated.

Discovered these greenfinches feasting on Cotoneaster berries in the garden recently. I've often seen blackbirds eating them, but never seen finches on them before. And where were the blackbirds ?  Oh they were too busy munching the last of my blueberries.

And the mystery plant ?
Hint No.3:  This is what the leaves usually look like:
Yes, it's Hedera helix, commonly known as Ivy. When the plant is about to flower, the mature leaves around the blooms take on a different shape.

Many years ago, my parents had a static caravan in Nottinghamshire. In the hedgerow behind the caravan, Ivy was growing rampantly, so I took a cutting. Ivy is very easy to root as it produces aerial roots. I planted the rooted cutting at the bottom of the garden, on a steep dry bank in dense shade, and it flourished. It has now completely covered the bank. I have often thought about removing it, but it is a magnet for wildlife, so it stays. At the end of the bank, it has clambered up some wire fencing, and where it reaches for the sky, it blooms.

And finally, a quick word about the weather. Summer is coming back. Good news, you may think. Er no, I mean 2012 summer weather. Yes, strong winds and heavy rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. It'll be like old times.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2012

It's that time of the month again.

Geranium Sybil. I grew this to cope with the drought. Well there was a drought when I bought it.

Lampranthus, purchased last year and overwintered indoors to flower this summer, I thought. Would you believe, it has only just started flowering.

Leycesteria formosa, now putting on its best ever display. At least something enjoyed all the rain.

Lily Henryii, purchased in April this year, which explains the late flowering.

Buddleia, commonly known as the butterfly bush, complete with butterfly. What timing !

Lily Lady Alice, also purchased this April. Very unusual colour. Hope it grows again next year.

Osteospermum, another sun lover that has only recently started flowering.

Rose William Shakespeare, a rose that doesn't like rainy weather. Amazingly, this year its flowering periods have corresponded with the rare, and I mean rare occasions when the sun actually came out.

Hydrangea, a shrub that's probably as old as me. Yes, it's that old. Oh look, that butterfly is here again. What a poser.

Perovskia Little Spire, another one that's a little late in flowering this year.

Saponaria officinalis Rosea Plena, now there's a name that just rolls off the tongue. It's common name is soapwort.

Sedum, another plant loved by butterflies. You'll just have to take my word for it. The butterfly wouldn't pose this time.

Verbena Twinkle, the only surviving Verbena from last year. I had hoped to get new plants this year, but they weren't available.

Colchicum, the first one to flower this year, and a sign that autumn has arrived.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this meme. If you want to see what's in bloom all around the world right now, why not pop over to Carol's blog.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Seeing Red

But what can you see ?

The main flower in the photo is Begonia Superstars Red. It has only just started flowering because it has only recently been planted in the basket. You're probably wondering why I'm showing it, if it is not yet at its best. Ah well, it is not the begonia that I am focusing on today. Look closely at the photo. What else can you see ?  I'll give you a clue; look at the leaves at the top of the photo. Yes, it's a strawberry plant, with three ripe strawberries and many more to follow.

This is a new take on companion planting, which usually benefits one or both of the plants involved. This combination benefits me, a worthy cause, you must admit. My intention was to grow the strawberry plant amongst the flowers, to keep the birds off without having to cover with netting. It has worked even better than I hoped, as the fruits are the same colour as the begonia, so the birds don't see them.

The strawberry variety is Toscana, purchased from D.T.Brown's in April. The plants are seed raised which means they are virus free. And they have lovely rose red flowers, unlike the white flowers that you normally get with strawberries.

Another advantage is that they are everbearing. In other words, they flower and fruit all summer, not just in June. Oh, I forgot to mention, they taste good too. The ones in the photo were eaten just after I'd pressed the camera shutter. Apparently, as the season progresses, they produce runners that also flower and fruit. My plants haven't reached that stage yet.

And finally, the weather. I've got to mention the weather, we're British you know. Following the wettest summer for 100 years and the dullest summer for 25 years, we've now got glorious sunshine. In fact, September has been beautiful so far. Oh I know they say it's going downhill next week, but we're used to that, aren't we ?  Just spare a thought for all those poor slugs and snails, frying in the heat.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Fine Romance

And to set the mood, here's a rose:

This is Rose Lady of Shalott, an English Rose from David Austin Roses, just starting its second flush of flowers. I planted this one last autumn, and I'm really pleased with its performance in its first year. I followed the planting instructions to the letter, and it seems to have worked. Although, the wettest summer in a 100 years may have had something to do with it as well.

Anyway, before I get on to the romance bit, look who came visiting yesterday:

Four, yes four, long-tailed tits. They don't usually feed on the sunflower hearts, but there aren't any fat balls hung up just at present. Fed up of feeding that pesky squirrel. And so, on to the romance story. Are you ready ?  Here we go.

Two Wood Pigeons came and sat on the roof of the garden shed.

And then they began canoodling one another. Notice how the one on the right has closed its eyes.

A bit of 'beak to beak' kissing going on there, do you think ?

And the one on the left returns the affection. They've both got their eyes closed now. Ah.

And if you're wondering how this story ended, well they just flew away, together. What an anti-climax.
Of course, they could just have been removing lice from one another. Closing their eyes so that they didn't get them poked out, I suppose.

You know what, I don't think I'm very good at this romance writing lark. Ah well, it's not as if there's any money to be made from it, is there ?