SPEAKING OF PLANTS…

We’ve had frosts, sleet, and snow, which did not settle.  Daily temperatures are still in single figures, at night it feels the numbers are very low.  Though it is very light till late, it feels cold enough to draw the curtains to insulate us from the chill outside.

I checked my five ‘baby’  Weigela bushes, which I planted last year. Their leaves vary in colour, two are light and dark variegated greens.  I also planted two dark purple leaved varieties. The plants burst into life and sprouted leaves during the short-lived. false spring we had early April.  Since the temperatures dropped, four of the Weigela’s furled up their leaves and appeared to be trying to protectively wrap them round their main branches.  Like the Euphorbia,  they were looking quite sorry for themselves.  The light green variegated leaf Weigela, which I thought may be a tender offspring, seems to have survived the cold snap quite well.  You never can tell, can you.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh’s lovely Botanical Gardens, I took a guided walk to learn something about plants and the garden’s  highlights. It turned out to be a group of one plus the guide, a retired botanist; lucky me! Amongst other things, I was introduced to three plants I have. My Begenia is not yet flowering, theirs is.  I planted it where the Livingstone daises are  by the tree trunk. This picture is pre-Begenia. There was a great big green leathery elephant ear leaf, (my description, it’s real name I cannot recall) which I hope will reappear. It is in the blue pot  in the picture.

P1030880-Flora-Wb

And last, a bronze Fennel; I was told it was an aggressive growing plant. I’ve had mine two years, it grew upwards to about 4.5ft last year and was  spectacular to look at.  I can think of other plants- like the one behind it – I wish I had never planted, however, my bronze fennel is not one of them. It is staying.  A local visiting cat nuzzles up to it, I do believe the cat likes the aroma: why not, I do!

P1030883-Bronze-Fennel-2-Wb

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A GARDEN DAY

Unexpected good weather, warm day today. Got out my new gardening hand tools, did not want to waste time looking for rakes and spades, then got on with some gardening. I attacked the clumps of grass growing where they were not meant to be, pulled up all sorts of weeds while trying to avoid self-seeded seedlings; a bit of a fiddle. Discovered some new plants, my Primulas are increasing in number. I think the groups of pointed, purple tinged leaves might be the Alliums that did not show last year.

🙂 🙂

Our weather for the last few days has been ever so wet, temperatures have lowered and the mornings are chilly now. During the day it is quite mild. It is so wet today with what is called locally, sma’ rain falling, (very fine rain that wets you through, also like ‘Scotch Mist’) that even the Daddy Longlegs are desperate to get to the dry side of the window.

Daddy Longlegs Sheltering

Daddy Longlegs Sheltering

Here’s one I found introducing itself to leaves on a plant in my home-made cold frame, one dry sunny day a few weeks ago, taking advantage of the plants being exposed to the world. The sharp eyed amongst you, will also see this Daddy Longlegs on a picture below.

Introducing myself to you

Introducing myself to you

At the weekend we drove 250 miles return trip to see a performance of Dunsinane, given by The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company, (RSC) who are taking the play on a limited tour. The cast included some well known good actors. You could call it, I suppose, bearing in mind dramatic superstitions, ‘the second Scottish Play;’ the first one that actors don’t usually name, is Macbeth. Dunsinane is a story set post Macbeth, just after he has been killed. Lady Macbeth lives on. There is an inter-regnum, a gap to be filled and warring clans have to be brought on side to make alliances where there are usually none. Macbeth’s widow and her supporters are pivotal in this political scenario. It was evocative of the current complex situation in Syria.

On our way home,we stopped off for a bite to eat in a favourite eatery. I was easily tempted to a dessert, the crowning glory of which was a home-made meringue. When it arrived, other customers and me gasped at the size of the meringue with the strawberries and coulis dripping out of a thick layer of double whipped cream sandwiched between the top and bottom of it. I didn’t have a camera with me to do it artistic justice, but, I can vouch for the fact it was amazing!

Today, between showers, I pulled up two of my golden beetroots. One of these and another one grown in a different plot. The leaves of these beetroot are edible and make for a great delicate vegetable dish, when they are briefly tossed in oil with fried onion and chopped garlic.

Salad

Salad

There’s a bit more space now for the cucumber plants. They’ve flowered, though, I don’t think there’s time for them to fruit. The flowers are very pretty. Their tendrils encircle anything and everything. Could they have been the inspiration for The Day Of The Triffids?

Cucumber-Flower

And here’s a couple of demure flowers that are hiding.

Demure Blooms

Demure Blooms

PLANTLINGS AND MY FAIR LADY

I was at a couple of garden centres last weekend, on the hunt for bedding plants. The busy time for those sales here, is about end of May – early June. This year has been a bit of a let down for this type of business, it’s been wet and too cold for plants.

I found one container of a type of plant I was interested in, in the first centre, (there were not many bedding plants around) the other container, the guy would not sell me because the plants were not saleable quality, something had been eating the leaves, and/or they were underdeveloped. I took them anyway, free of charge. I reckoned planting them was worth a try.

The second centre had lots bedding plants for sale, like Petunias and Mimulas, all at reduced prices. In addition to that, when I was at the till, the lady there, asked me if I was aware there was a special offer on…”No” says I, rather disingenuously, I thought, as I had seen the ‘reduced’ notice on the main door when I arrived. But, no, there was an offer I did not know about: some of the bedding plant selections were two for the price of one. I went home with far more plantlings than I had ground space for. 88|

So, in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. The excesses were shared between a shaded natural corner where, I have, I hope, some less cultivated future growth developing under the ground. The remainder of the plantlings went into a flower box, and a large plant bowl. We shall see how it all does.

My Perennials are blooming really well, irrespective of the lack of sunshine and warmth.

Peony Rose Bush

If last year’s efforts are anything to go by, (early June plantings, not July like this year) I might just enjoy nature’s bounty for a short while.

Calenduala

I felt really tired when I had done my little bit for the garden. I finally relaxed into a chair after our evening meal, and we both ended up listening to BBC Radio 3 for the rest of the evening, to My Fair Lady, the musical, one of this year’s Promenade Concerts, (The Proms, at The Royal Albert Hall, London). It was excellent. In the interval, we had the benefit of hearing the discussion on the background to G.B Shaw’s play, (on which the musical is based) which was held earlier in the day. What a great way to use the time slot. :yes:

My Fair Lady is one repeat of a Proms performance I would like to see, (not just hear) on TV at some future date. The performance, without intervals, was a couple of hours. It would be good to settle down with it for an evening’s light entertainment, when the day’s have shortened, the night’s have drawn in, and when the plant life in the garden is resting. The very thought of it makes me smile.

🙂

JUST THINK – IT COULD HAVE BEEN WETTER

I thought about photographing the burnt black and torn leaves of my nasturtium plants, the bowed bunches of chives and my urn-shaped strawberry pot, being used for a bit of floral colour rather than soft fruit. What is extruding from the urn looks pretty sorry for itself.

Then I changed my mind about creating pictorial evidence of the havoc wreaked on my plants, because of the storms and the torrents of rain that ripped through this area last weekend. Instead, I started to tidy up my salad and herb patch as best I could in between more showers of rain.

Meantime, on the washing line, where washing swayed in the wind this afternoon while the weather looked deceptively promising, the towels got damp and the bedding ended up as wet as it was when originally pegged out to dry. It could have been worse, the washing could have been wetter.

(A wash – not today’s – drying in the wind one day).

Rotary Line + laundry