Monday 22 July 2013

Star Of Bethlehem

I know it's July,
But this is flowering now.

This is Campanula isophylla, commonly known as Star Of Bethlehem. Just to confuse things, Star Of Bethlehem is also the common name of a bulb, Ornithogalum. So on this occasion, the Latin name wins.

I was given this plant many years ago by a friend of mine. I planted it in a brick container under the eaves of the house roof. As a result, it doesn't get much rain, even in winter, and I never, ever water it. Seems to like it though. It has thrived there, never damaged by the severest of winters, despite not being fully hardy. I have tried growing it in other situations, but it has not survived the winters elsewhere.

And what about the weather then. What a heatwave. We didn't see that one coming, did we?  Oh, hang on. Way back on the 1st of April, I think I mentioned it. And you all thought it was an April Fool joke, didn't you ?

At the time, I was writing about Mother Nature always paying her debts. And have you noticed the rain, or should I say lack of it. Whilst the media dwells on the heat, no mention of the fact that we've had very little rain since the start of the year.

This is a Dodecatheon, flowering a few weeks ago. I've had this plant for quite a few years now. It always produces a flower spike, and every year the snails eat it. But not this year, thanks to the lack of rain, the snails left it alone.

Despite the lack of rain, pleased to report that these guys are still in the garden. But on a sadder note, the garden is almost devoid of birds. For the first time in many years, I have had to cease feeding them. Two magpies, who had built a nest in the hawthorn tree, became quite aggressive to the resident blackbirds in the garden. I decided that I didn't want to encourage birds to come and feed, in case the magpies attacked them, or worst still, followed them back to their nests. The magpies produced two youngsters, the only nest in the garden this year.

So what has the weather got in store for us next then ?  Well, every year, we get something called the September Anticyclone. If we have a bad summer, the September Anticyclone gives us a good early autumn. Had a lot of them lately. But if we have a hot summer, (you can see where I'm going here, can't you?), then the September Anticyclone moves south of the UK and we get gale force winds. You heard it here first. Just don't believe everything you read.


  1. U nas deszcu było dużo, ale ślimaków nie ma dużo. Są okropne komary. Pierwszy kwiatek jest zadowolony z tego jak ma i pieknie kwitnie. Pozdrawiam.
    You had a lot of rain, but there is a lot of snails. Mosquitoes are terrible. The first flower is happy with this as it blooms and beautifully. Yours.

  2. Your summer is so different from last year. It's a good thing you had noted the magpies to take steps protecting the other small birds although it's probably hard to not notice them. Gale force winds do not sound like a good autumn.

    By contrast we have been cooler with more rain than usual this summer. This brings more birds and butterflies to the garden. We will see if this causes a more severe hurricane season since the highs are not here to push them away.

  3. Lovely dodocatheon. Glad you got your flower spike. Hope you have got some seed from it which can be collected very soon now. Mine never self seeds in the garden but when I collect seed and sow it straight away and place the tray or pot under my unheated greenhouse bench it germinates like mustard and cress after next winters cold. In two years you can have dozens of sturdy plants.

  4. Oh I am looking forward to a windy autumn - just how it should be. I also love a sunny, hot summer, so I am one happy gardener. I'm sorry to hear about the bullies moving in. Let's hope they go soon and normal bird-feeding service may be resumed.

  5. Hi,

    People have a tendency to make the weather much worse than it is. Yes last summer was shocking. But actually since then it's mostly been OK other than the horrible, horrible winter/spring we had with snow time and again. The summer before was fine too, I was writing my dissertation then and spent pretty much every single day from April to July out in the garden reading papers, falling asleep etc before coming in to start writing up and living as a recluse for a couple of months before hand-in.

    I wouldn't worry about the Magpies, after all it is nature. They only nest raid for a short while early on and after that leave well alone. We've always had Magpies nesting round here and I still have over 100 sparrows, all tits, finches, blackbirds and the lot. Yes some will die, but some will also die in winter, in this heat of summer etc etc. It'd much rather a Magpie, Jay or Sparrowhawk take prey then a cat.

  6. Beautiful flowers, great colors, nature is wonderful :) Regards

  7. For every action there is an equal reaction - so , gales in September, so be it! There is a sort of serendipity about that that I like ! There is a price to pay for all this heavenly sunshine, deep down I always knew it !

  8. At least the weather is doing us a favour and raining at night time currently. Shame about the magpies.

  9. I'm a big fan of white flowers and the campanula isophylla is lovely.