Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Floral Friday

I planted this evergreen ground cover exactly 21 years ago, on 22 October 2000. I kept the dated nametag, which is how I know. It flowers prolifically every spring and summer and always looks good. I cut it back when it starts to encroach on the patio, but otherwise it gets no attention.

It’s botanical name is Silene Maritima Rosea, also known as Sea Campion, and is a common sight on the seacoasts of Western Europe. Campions are rich in pollen and attractive to butterflies.

This perennial Campion
is an undoubted champion

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Floral Friday

This bulb is Portuguese Squill, and it’s one of the very few flowers that have been in our cottage garden longer than we have. Its botanical name is Scilla Peruviana, and although that sounds as though it should come from South America it actually originates in the western Mediterranean. It likes sandy soil, so no wonder it thrives in our area, and reappears every spring. I’ve never seen it anyone else’s garden, have you?

A strange plant is Portuguese Squill
with no connection to Brazil

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Floral Friday

Our cherry tree is in full bloom today and seems to have benefitted from the arborist’s attention.

We’ll be hoping for a bumper harvest, and hoping that we’ll be able to cover plenty of fruit. The rest we’ll leave for those foraging birds who can reach higher than we can.

Cherry blossoms symbolise spring and the fleeting nature of life because they last only a short time. After about two weeks the blossoms start to fall.

The cherry blossom looks just great
for cherries we will have to wait

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My garden has many annual flowers. They’re inclined to self-seed (volunteer) and I’m happy to let them do this wherever they want. There are often alyssums and others growing in the gutter outside, but this is the first time I can remember seeing an aquilegia/granny bonnet there.

Council workers swept the gutter earlier this week, but they didn’t remove any growth as they sometimes do. There’s a volunteer hollyhock close by this granny bonnet and I’ll be interested to see if that survives long enough to flower.

She settles into any cranny
persistent, never-daunted Granny

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Floral Friday

The lavender I planted a year ago is finally showing signs of growth. Checking the label I see it is a compact bush likely to reach just 40cm (16 inches for those of us who haven’t gone fully metric). That should be high enough to poke through the front fence and greet passersby.

It’s name is Joyful Cherub and it was bred in Australia to perform in hot dry conditions. The label said it would continue to show good colour when other lavenders have burnt off with the heat, so sounds ideal in a climate crisis. Interestingly the first three Aotearoa nurseries who mention it on their websites have no stock at present. Maybe because the Tasman bubble is paused?

Cleopatra is said to have worn lavender scent to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, and some claim that the asp that delivered the fatal bite was hidden among her lavender bushes. Perhaps I need to take care when weeding.

A year’s gone on the calendar
since I put in this lavender

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This morning Christine and I strolled through the University and the Ilam Gardens. As we walked beside the river we noted a beautiful scent coming from this tree:

Does anyone know what it’s called?

We were thrilled to spot a family of ten ducklings, all still with yolk yellow on their heads – the first I’ve seen this year.

The cherry blossoms are breathtaking at present. Earlier in the week Stephen and I had driven along Harper and Riccarton Avenues just for the pleasure of seeing the ones there.

Over in Ilam Gardens we saw a rock with a plaque honouring the 51 Muslims massacred in March 2019.

The Saxon word Ilam means at the hills and the name was given by JC Watts-Russell the original owner of the Ilam Homestead, who died in 1875. He is credited with starting the magnificent Ilam Gardens which are at their best between September and November.

Spring bulbs at Ilam Gardens
Rhododendron & Azalea

If you would like to walk in spring
these Ilam Gardens are the thing

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Making a Meadow

Behind our cottage is a small lawn, and in September I made a decision to stop mowing.  The southern half had bare patches, leading to the washing line, bins, and shed.  I’d planted grass seed in bare spaces in August and some of that was growing well.  My decision was to leave this part alone and see what happens – there was little to mow anyway.  My tidiness proclivities mean I had to remove the fallen cabbage tree leaves, but I’ve left the dandelions.  (Cathryn says they’re like mini sunflowers.)

The northern half is lusher and would usually be mown regularly.  I considered mowing a pathway through it, but that seemed to be defeating my no-mow purpose.  Instead, I marked the path I’d usually walk, then dug up five small patches of turf beside that path.  A friendly blackbird watched interestedly, but there was no sign of worms.  I stirred potting mix and blood and bone into the patches, then sowed the contents of a packet of bee-friendly cornflower seeds, and watered them.  They were supposed to germinate in 7-14 days, so having sown them on 30 September I expected to see new plants before Labour Weekend, and flowers in early January.  Today the first flower appeared, and more buds are showing colour.

All the flower beds in my garden tend towards being meadows as the annuals are all volunteers.  I let most of them grow where they please, although I do remove weeds and grass from the beds.  I realise that allowing my lawn to grow free may mean the boundaries will be blurred.  I will keep the ground under the feijoa tree clear, and I cleared other areas for my Little Garden vegetables.  I transferred a lupin from ‘flower garden’ to ‘lawn’, but sadly it didn’t survive.

I’m pleased to see the first cornflower
appearing in my meadow bower

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Floral Friday

White flowers predominate in our garden this week:

Banksia Rose
Lilies of the Valley

White isn’t an absence of colour. It’s the presence of all colors. White light comprises all hues on the visible light spectrum. Sigmund Freud wrote about why flowers are so restful to look at. He said: “They don’t have conflicts or emotions. They are harmony, and the colour white in flowers takes the harmony to the next level.” White flowers symbolize new beginnings, purity, innocence, beauty, and spirituality.

It’s restful to see flowers so white
they bring soft feelings of delight

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Culling the Cacti

I have never liked succulent plants, especially cacti.  However I had two cracked coffee mugs sitting in the shed, and when I saw three small cactus plants for sale on a stall last December, I was tempted.  One had a flower on it, and I thought if they produced flowers they might be okay.  I planted two into the cracked mugs and the third into a glass bowl, and placed them on a window sill.

They received a few drops of water weekly, with an occasional addition of Baby Bio.  I watched them get taller (they needed staking), and produce new growths, but never saw another flower.  Today I decided they’d lodged here for long enough, and at 10.30am I put them outside the front fence with a sign saying Cacti free to good home.

When I went out at 2pm they were still languishing there.  I forgot to check when I came home, but at 4pm I noticed a mother with a toddler stop to examine the plants.  When they walked off I was delighted to see the toddler was carrying one of the mugs.  I’ve just been out to check and there’s only one left now.  Surely someone will want to adopt it.

New homes are what they need to find
and leave this cacti foe behind


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Dandelion Dilemma

Climate Crisis could be diminished if we all stop mowing our lawns.  Yes, it’s true!  The use of petrol-powered mowers creates carbon.  A study in New South Wales found that lawn mowing accounted for 5% of carbon dioxide emissions on a single summer weekend.  Even using an electric mower, or a hand mower as I do, can contribute to air pollution.  That fresh cut grass smell comes from organic chemicals which oxidise and contribute to air pollution.  If we leave our grass to grow long the number of bugs living there increases, and they provide food for birds and lizards.  So it all helps the planet.

My small lawn hasn’t been mowed for several months, and I’m wondering whether I might just leave it alone, but I’m uncertain what to do about the dandelions.  Previously I’ve dug out those that were noticeable, and picked the flowers off others before they had time to seed.  If I want to leave the lawn alone should I let the dandelions provide a splash of colour?  I know that dandelion leaves and flowers are highly nutritious, but I’ve never harvested them.

A friend tells me her chooks keep her grass at a low level, but much as I’d love them we don’t have room for chooks.  I plan to experiment with not mowing and see what happens.  I’ve bought a packet of bee-friendly cornflower seeds and will try sowing them in patches in the lawn, hoping a flowery meadow will emerge.  That means I’ll have to water the l;awn until they grow, something I’ve not done before.

I do wonder how I’ll get on with walking across the meadow/lawn when the grass is high and wet (not that we get much rain these days).  Maybe I’ll need gumboots.  We shall see.

I plan to try a no-mow lawn
and wait to see just what may spawn

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