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Floral Friday

These Japanese anemonies are elegant and colourful.

Also known as Windflowers they are an herbaceous perennial, a member of the buttercup family, and they prefer partial shade.  Several plants were given me by a friend some years ago, but only one survived, probably because they got too much sun.  This flower is actually a native of Hupeh province in eastern China, but it was grown in Japanese gardens for centuries, hence the confusion.  Robert Fortune (1812-1880) introduced it into Europe in 1844, having discovered it running between the tombstones in a Shanghai graveyard.

“It’s pink or white, but never lemony
the charming Japanese anemone.”

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Floral Friday

Alyssum flourishes in many corners of my garden.  I planted it long ago, and since then it’s self-seeded continually.  Originally I had violet as well as white, but the white has taken over.  Alyssum has unparalled drought and heat-resistance properties, which is just as well as the temperature hit 40 degrees on our patio yesterday.  I’ve read that the leaves and flowers of sweet alyssum are edible, and they make a peppery addition to a fresh garden salad. However it’s recommended that you should eat it only if you’ve grown it from seed yourself, as plants bought from nurseries may include chemical fertilisers.

Alyssum was once regarded by Neopolitans as having magical qualities and was suspended in their houses as a charm against the evil eye.  Its name is derived from the Greek lussa meaning madness and it was believed to be a remedy for someone who had been bitten by a mad dog.

“This white sweet-scented little bloom
grows anywhere in sun or gloom.”

 

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Floral Friday

This plant is a phlox.  In the early 19th century phlox spread from England all over the world.  Eventually it became the rage of New England gardeners who thought of it as a fabulous European export until they learned it was a native of the Republic of Texas.  The centre of the flower is said to resemble the Texas star.  While the colour of the flower is attractive to bees they can’t quite get their tongues into the tiny hole to retrieve nectar.

“The bee may give the phlox perusal
but this flower’s likely to bamboozle.”

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Floral Friday

Courgettes have bright golden flowers.  These are edible, although I’ve never tried.  They should be dipped in a light batter and deep fried.

Courgettes are recommended for people with digestive problems, because they have a high concentration of pectin substances.  This means they absorb everything that is in the digestive tract and gently excrete without straining the digestive system, and it’s believed they can clean the entire body of poisonous products.

Last November a worried German pensioner called the police when he thought he had found a World War II bomb in his garden.  It turned out to be a courgette.

“They may grow as big as a bomb
and you may have a feast therefrom.’

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Floral Friday

My lawn gets no special attention or water, it’s simply left to fend for itself.  With recent dry weather it was, to quote Joe Bennett, “the colour of camels”.  A deluge at the end of last week stimulated some lush growth.  When I went to mow it I was surprised to find that there were clover flowers.  I’ve not seen these in our garden before.

I’m happy to have clover in my lawn, it provides nitrogen for the soil, but sadly have not seen any of the four-leafed variety.  Apparently while trying to convert the Irish into Christians, St. Patrick used the shamrock/clover to explain the holy trinity with each leaf representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Sophia).  The three leaves of a clover are also said to stand for faith, hope and love.  A fourth leaf is where we get the luck from.  A legend tells the story that Eve brought a four leafed clover with her when she was expelled from Paradise.  Anyone lucky enough to be in possession of four leaf clovers consequently has a piece of Paradise.

“My clover leaves are only three
faith, hope, and love will do for me.”

 

 

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The oriental lilies are flowering. a little earlier this year.  I’m aware that the stamens are toxic to cats, but Ziggy is too sensible (and too well-fed) to be interested.  These lilies were planted 19 years ago, and enjoy our sandy soil with good drainage.  Their scent is superb.

“They have the most enchanting scent
p’raps warning cats to circumvent.”

 

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Floral Friday

Scabiosa

Scabiosa is a pretty, low-maintenance perennial which is part of the honeysuckle family.  Another name is Pincushion Flower, possibly because after the petals have dropped a spiky ball is formed.  There are both mauve and pink pincushion flowers in my garden.  Scabiosa are attractive to bees and butterflies, and can tolerate drought.

In medieval times, Scabiosa plants were believed to relieve the itch of scabies and other skin conditions, hence their name which comes from the Latin scabere, to scratch.  The plant is also known as Devil’s Bit, and legend says that the devil found it in paradise, but envying the good it might do to the human race bit away a part of the root to destroy the plant, in spite of which it still flourishes, but with a stumped root.  This legend was spread through England and the Continent.

“Pincushion Flower describes it
and also known as Devil’s Bit.”

 

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