Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Tree's this morning on the way home from work were fiery looking, golden leaves blowing in the cool wind. The sky was blue, the temperature slightly chilly. Masses of leaves have changed colour now on tree's.
The photo was taken from my mobile phone. I actually uploaded all my stored photos onto the computer. The fuji Finepix is chilling for a change.
Daily blogging makes you look for things to write about, and things to photograph. Mobile phone cameras can be used when you are out and about. Some have picture quality like a moderate digital camera!
I love the light effect here of sunlight streaming through the leaves. Real Autumn picture!
Monday, October 29, 2007
I wanted to come across a nice Aztec myth as they were great lovers of Dahlias, the Fleeting beauty and bright colours embodied their gods of War and Death.
Instead I came across an interesting article about the Southern Valley of Mexico of a people who grew flowers and vegetables on islands on a lake, the Xochimilca or people of the flowers.
These man made raised land masses were made by hauling mud from the lake in Baskets and forming Canals between these chinampas (islands). This meant the soil was probably extremely fertile and well watered.
Flowers and Vegetables grew spectacularly here, untill the Aztecs came and conquered these people. The Aztecs took the flowers back with them and put them in their most high peoples gardens, the Empereor and the nobles. The Spanish Conquistador Cortez came upon these beautiful flowers too called Acocotli. Three varieties were taken back to the Madrid Botanical garden.
I wrote before that the mother of all modern hybrids came in an 1872 shipment from Mexico to Holland, the Dahlia Juarrezzi.
Now Mo Gilmer writes that in the citys Nursery districts that there is a blooming cottage industry, and lots of varieties of Dahlias are being sold.
The Dahlia has come full circle, and returned to one of its original dwelling places. Through thousands of years and many cultures. Now it is the National flower of Mexico.
I want to visit one day the City of Xochimilco, and get a flower decorated boat ride to these islands, in the land of the flower people.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The Carpark tree glowing in the fading sunday evening light. The Clocks fell back an hour last night.
The leaves from the tree's are all on the floor like a brown/tan carpet.
I am watching Star Wars on the TV. One of my all time favourites. I have seen it umpteen times.
I'm hoping for good news this coming week about the house. Im back on nights, so the plants will be chilling out to classic FM.
They might listen to film soundtracks including the John Williams Star Wars music.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Today was Breast cancer wear it pink day.I only realised when a cardiology nurse was wearing pink badges. I sent staff looking for something pink for my ward staff to wear.
The cardiac nurse had brought in a hair bobble with pink ribbons. She donated it to us, and we cut it into double pink ribbons for one pound each.
An impromptu session made 17 double pink ribbons stuck on safety pins. My battered ribbon is pictured in the photo.
All the MAU staff had pink ribbons by lunchtime and we made £17, which was not bad for an improvised fund raise.
This is the website: http://www.wearitpink.co.uk/index.php
If I'd known I could have brought pink roses, or pink Carnations. The house is a step closer now with all my paperwork with the estate agents. Hopefully monday will bring good news before my seven nights!
I get to go to work now for thirteen hours, on my long day :)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Last year the Garden blogs became all literary. As winter cold took hold, and the dark nights closed in garden bloggers began to read garden books. Then post reviews of books both classic, old, and new.
As gardeners move from the garden into the computer chair, they can read books, seed and plant brochures, and relive highlights for the past year with their best or favourite photos. The amount of daily visitors here has slowed down from the heady days of summer, with sweet smelling flowers and buzzing bee's. I will be here blogging almost daily with plants, flowers, storys, photos galore, and books to remind us of spring and summer.
My trowel is in the canvas bag waiting for the go ahead to move. I have garden tools stored in Hils garage. I hope to be renovating the overgrown garden over the winter, and blogging my progress.
I have some brochures to read now. The Suttons flower catalogue, and the Marshalls kitchen garden catalogue. There is something comforting in a gardener reading brochures, making mental notes of what can grow where. How next year all your garden will grow beautifully and productively. Weather, pests, and soil problems are blown away on the dreams of a more beautiful garden. Lists are written, prices added up. I write wishlists, and work out how much i can really afford, then cross off the excess items!
The photos are pristine flowers, and vegetables, airbrushed to perfection. These perfect specimins are our inspiration during cold, dark nights. They are predicting a very cold winter here after a few mild years.
How do garden bloggers prepare for winter?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
In the News today was the story that 720,000 Ladybirds have been released in Manhattan as an effort to stop an aphid infestation. These lovable bugs were collected in Oregon, California and Nevada and have been chilled to put them in a sleepy state. They were then flown by aircraft across the USA, by the company planet natural:
I lifted the image from Wikipedia as my own photos were not great that I have on this computer.
There must be some Aphid problem in Manhattan. I like these coloured beetles as a sign of Spring. My photos of them were taken in April and May.
Heres the AP news story link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i7KnV8_sIAZQ7B019c_KUG0daUzAD8SDFTB80
The BBC reported it as well, a day later. The story has grown wings just like the ladybirds (or Lady Bugs in USA).They will be feasting well, the natural balance will have be tipped in favour of the good guys. Not a pesticide in sight either..
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It has got raggedy leaves growing at the base, with the daisy like flowers, so Ragwort is a descriptive name. At the moment they are the only colour in the car park as all the other weeds are dying down.
Its been called amongst other things Stinking Billy, St James Wort ( In English folk lore he was the patron saint of horses.), Tansy Wort, and many other names.
It was called Stinking Billy as it started appearing in Scotland around the time of the battle of Culloden in 1746.
William, the Duke (Or Butcher) of Cumberland, who after the battle had all the captured highlanders executed, and rode into a town with his blood stained sword. The weed seeds were maybe brought on the English army's feet. It apparently has an unpleasant odour when the plant is bruised. William has had a weed named after him in bitterness i think.
St James Day is July 25th , when it is first supposed to start blooming. It was thought once that it could cure a neurological disease effecting horses called the staggers. The people connected the Saints day with the plant and used it as a folk remedy using the plant as in infusion. They believed in its power and named it after the Saint.
However it is toxic to horses! In large doses it kills liver cells off, because of the alkaloids inside the plant. It has a bitter taste to try to deter grazing live stock. During periods of drought it can become palatable to some horses. It is only detected when 75% of the liver is damaged by which time its almost fatal to the horse.
Cooking it or drying it has no effect in removing the poison either, so even if you pull it out it needs to be disposed of.
It effects cattle as well as horses. Younger animals are more at risk than older ones. With this in mind it became an injurious weed in the 1959 weeds act. It is required that the owner of land takes reasonable action to stop the spread of the weed. Its not illegal for weeds to grow on your land, but illegal to let them spread to adjoining lands.
Defra (the Department for Environment, food and rural affairs) has a website advising how to recognise it, how to prevent it spreading, and a complaint form if the weed is not being dealt with.
You would not believe such a colourful flower could wreak such havoc to the point it made it into the statute books.
This website has more about the common names for this plant. It has apparently been spread to the Pacific Northwest too!
The snappy gardener has been educated this morning googling all around this one photo.They say a photo speaks a thousand words. This one has a colourful legend and history. Just growing alongside the Flats outer walls!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Its been a long day so more posts tomorrow. Saturday is barbeque day and the rugby world cup final between England and South Africa. Come on Johnny Wilkinson!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Ophiopogon Planiscapis Negresens or Black Dragon, or Ebony knight. Also Mondo Grass I think someone called it once. I saw this first at Harlow Carr. I love the way the leaves turned black when exposed to Sunlight.
It is a dwarf evergreen (or black?) perennial that looks good in the front of borders or in raised beds to form clumps, that contrast in colour and texture. The centre of the grass is emerald green.
It likes full sun or partial shade, and well drained soil. It has been awarded the RHS award of garden merit, which means most people can grow it in most conditions. What a beautiful plant though. This is waiting patiently for news on the house front.
I was watching some video clips today from the Gardeners Corner website. It is reported on the GC website by the BBC radio Ulster team. There is an allotment project that helps vulnerable young people gain new skills in preparing, maintaining, and growing an allotment. The Project is called MACS, or Mulholland aftercare services, and is based in and around Belfast I think.
They were all amateurs the young people and their mentors, and asked for email advice through the BBC's email address.They planted potatoes, leeks, garlic, onions, runner beans, carrots, and strawberrys. They must have planted Peas, Pumpkins, Corn, and Swedes but not with the video camera there.
The idea was to grow some things that could be used in two weekly meals arranged at the allotment. A lot of the Young people (16-25 years old) had never experienced gardening, or growing vegetables. They all contributed, and did their allotted tasks in the videos.
It gave them new skills, brought groups of people together in a communitywho otherwise would be isolated, made them work together, and shared the things they grew. Either taking them home, or by eating them at the two weekly meals.
The funny part was what they could call the Allotment which is a dull name. They came up with the Lost Plot, a play on words where to lose your head is to lose the plot. They have somewhere to go now when they think they are losing the plot.
In essence it was like the Monty Don Growing out of trouble series. These were young people in contact with a charitable organisation which aims to support them and integrate them into a network for housing, training, education, mentoring, etc. Montys were Young people with Drug addictions on court orders.
The two projects work on the premise that healing that takes place is putting hands in the soil. and planting seeds. This simple act, and the maintenence of the crops seems to be working out, with the projects aims. There are all kinds of analogys you can draw between life, and planting seeds, growing on, flowering etc.
In the USA they call allotments Community gardens, which seems to be a better way of describing them. On the Video an old gent gives his advice about how to treat an outbreak of potato blight. The older gardeners must have accepted the younger generation in the plots.
My green fingers are itching to get some dirt on them, under my fingernails.The act of touching the soil and planting seeds makes us aware of the seasons, of the weather, and the wildlife around us. The simple act is the stone dropping in the lake, the benefits move outwards like ripples from a single act.
The bloggers who love gardens are a further extention of the gardening community. Thats how so many disparate groups and people can come together with a single passion. Whether its tomatoes, daylilys, orchids, or broccoli the passion binds them all together.
I hope that you who have Real Player can see these videos.The link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/gardenerscorner/allotment/index.shtml
I am back to work tomorrow, so maybe a late post, or one on Saturday. May all your gardens be healing ones!
No news on the House front yet.I rang the estate agents today. It was actually sunny outside when I went to the little shop. The thing I miss about being gardenless is the simple act of sitting outside, and feeling the wind and the sunshine. I will be encamped outside with a table and chairs. If I can get a laptop with Wireless I can blog from the Garden.
Thanks to Canatico for sending me your Orchid photos. Now the Blogosphere can admire your plants happily growing :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
At Cats I saw a larger than life fake Cyclamen. It never needs watering, and will never die. I prefer the real life version with all the problems that plants can get.
It is a real life Persian jewel.
I can finally upload my photo of the Costa Rican Phalenopsis. I have been emailing a Canadian Orchidophile over the past few months, a regular reader. He sends me regular orchid pics from his Treasure house of many beautiful and unusual orchids, as I love these strange looking flowers.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The heater has been on a few times, so the heat must have taken all the moisture out from the soil. It is reviving now on the Kitchen window Sickbay :)
What interested me is the flower from beneath, a pollinators eyes view. It has a blue crown with pollen fillaments as the golden adornments. The dark Pink strip highlights the crowns position.
The Reflexive petals are usually held aloft like a pretty pink Light bulb and you do not see the underside of the flower. This is usually hidden from view above the variegated green leaves. I hope my plant recovers from its shock. It already looks more healthy.
Photographing the fallen flower has shown me a part of it I have never seen before. Its always good to try and look differently at things we think we know. The wander of Vision as a sense!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
A Begonia on Cats Windowsill. I love the pink petals that are almost rose like in their form, and the different colours of the petals.
I photographed a Robin at Cats Garden. She said she had never seen the wildlife before. We saw a Grey squirrel running back and fourth along the fence mission impossible style. A Magpie that was hopping up and down a tree refusing to be photographed, and the Robin.
I want a bird table and feeders in any new garden because I love to watch them hopping around and watching me, watching them. The Under Gardener in Cheltenham was a rather portly Robin red breast. He watched me every day and ate the worms and insects I uncovered digging the borders..
Away from Gardening, I will watch the Rugby union World cup semi final tonight between England and France. The Entente Cordial. Our oldest rivals from the middle ages to napoleonic Wars... Its always good when we play France, whether in the Six Nations Championship or the World Cup. Win, Draw, or lose the Stadium will be full of patriotic songs.
Swing Low sweet chariot on one side, and Allez Les Bleus...Allez les Blues on the other.
Paris is Chocha full of ticketless English hoping we can beat the French team. My favourite player this tournament is Sebastian Chabal, nickname Sea Bass. The long flowing hair, and beard..
There is a connection between the Begonia and the World Cup semi final in France. The man who's name gave us the word Begonia was Michel Begon de la Picardiere. A French patron of Botany.
Allez Les Bleu's!
Friday, October 12, 2007
The Scarlet flowers of the Runner beans: Phaseolus coccineus
Pat grew these plants in a raised bed, a foot above the water logged grass. They went ballistic growing eight feet high, and were covered in the Red flowers and the Beans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runner_bean
I love the Rain drops hanging on the edges of the flowers. My magic beans post displayed the purple/white seeds.
Some people grow them for the flowers alone, and would not eat them. Im not sure how you cook the beans..Any ideas or recipies?
I have planted a single Daffodil bulb in a pot today. I brought it back from Mums when I was digging her borders. A single Bulb. After my How to Articles I thought I had better plant a spring bulb.
The house is a possibility again. After much chasing the Landlord is agreeing to send a reference to an agency.How much easier is it to plant seeds, then it is to get a rental house through an estate agent?
The plants are excited that they may finally be leaving the Flat, for a proper garden with soil and sunshine. I will have to move the Internet too and phone line. It is a proper address so it should not be difficult as it was setting it up here :)
I have about a Dozen Runner bean seeds in a clear plastic pot. I watched a programme the other day called the Victorian Garden. It was from the 1980's I think, and was an experiment to use Victorian Garden techniques to run a small country estate. They planted runner beans directly into the ground, grew Melons in a steam pipe heated green house, Prepared seed beds by shuffling in straight lines with shoes held together.
I may need UK tv Gardens on Cable to see how they got on. They used Heirloom Seeds commonly used by the Victorians. My Fav was dried pea seeds fifty years old that the head gardeners Dad had used. He found his Dads old seeds in an envelope in a shed. Amazingly some of them still germinated.
I want Runner beans growing up poles and strings, for the Scarlet flowers :)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The White Rose is also present on the Leeds United Football Shirt in the Clubs badge. My Grand parents and their family introduced me to Leeds united through gifts of Scarves and Pennents. The First Club you are exposed to is generally what team you follow throughout your life...
Mum had these in our first Cheltenham garden, and they self seeded magnificently. I always tried to transplant them around the garden. I like their claw like seeds which just need the soil turned to germinate them. They must be one of the longest lasting seeds that will germinate years after being produced.
No good news on the house. The Snappy one is being forced to stay untill December. The best laid plans of Mice and men...
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
I am back in the land of the living after falling asleep for twelve hours Zzzzz.
The Flower is a Streptocarpus Happy Snappy. My plants have grown on well, or keeled over on my week of nights.
I need to prepare for moving,if the estate agents ring up. It was wet and cold this morning
not good gardening weather,as the soil is waterlogged and sticks to your tools.
This week I will photograph Pats Garden, and Help Fran plant her 140 Spring bulbs.I want some Hyacinth Bulbs to force indoors so I can smell them over xmas.
I finally read the First unit of the RHS course. will sit down and try to send off the questions for that. might just answer them as I best can and post it. hope the units get easier. it might be my academic lay off, six years has made my studying rusty.
Just need to blow the cobwebs and dust off. I enjoyed the more in depth knowledge of Seeds, and Taking Cuttings. Ideally I want some real life plants to propagate so the Academic knowledge is applied in real Horticultural practise. I must look for some placement somewhere like a Nursery to see these techniques in use..
A house with no DAMP will be more conducive to growing plants and seeds. Fungal infections have wiped out a lot of my plants. I guess Cleanliness is next to Godliness when you want to grow beautiful disease free plants that are not stressed!
I need to take some more photos this week, for the Blog mainly. David Austin Rose's have extended their judging until the end of October. I guess the Popularity meant they have been swamped with photos of their roses. If they don't Pick any of my entry's I will blog the photos I sent off to them. Fifteen Rose Pictures!
I can catch up on the Gardening Blogosphere, and see whats been growing and what people are writing about. I love the creativity of people, and the shared passion between gardeners of all ages, sexes, and nationality.
I am Happy the week of Nights are over. Now the Snappy gardener is Happy :)
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Sunday morning.I never posted yesterday as I was exhausted from work.Even the snappy gardener misses a days post sometimes.
Six night shifts down one to go.I needed a photo to blog today....
Its my Strawberrys cup.So sweet I can almost smell them. With the Serrated leaves and White flowers with yellow centres..
The new garden will have strawberry plants too, to eat freshly picked from the plants.
I hope the new week coming brings good news.I can continue my RHS course, after reading the first unit book. It has been hard going though so far.
They would be nice with sugar and fresh cream...yum. I will have to dream of them instead at the moment. More blog posts soon :)
Friday, October 05, 2007
I have been told the streptocarpus with the Furry leaves is a Cape Primrose.That did not show me any exact pictures on a google image search.
The Fourth night shift is over, three more to go. I love this flowers colours, the blurry Pink colour reminds me of an ice cream, with swirling white and Red colours inside the petal.
It is similar to the Happy Snappy streptocarpus. Will dream soon of the new garden and all the flowers that will bloom :)
Thursday, October 04, 2007
This winged beastie was resting on Pats green bean leaf the other day. He has handsome black and yellow stipes, metallic wings, and a shiny visor like front.
My Camera batteries decided they were not going to recharge overnight, so I could not take some photos for todays post.
Luckily I have taken soooooo many photos since March I have lots that I never post!
No news from the Estate agents about the house, or from David Austin Roses about my photos.
It was cold last night, with a clear sky, and a quarter moon. The only noise outside the ward was the wind rustling through the trees.They are so calming, healing noise is barely audible, but when I had the silver birch tree I loved to stand outside in the dark to hear its leaves.
I read about sensory gardens, and they mentioned Silver Birches are very good for the calming noise. Its like running water, or the rhythmic sound of waves crashing onto a beach...
Now im resting like my Green bean Wasp. Remembering the Trees.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
A Spider hanging around from the visit to Pats Garden a while ago.
Spiders get themselves busy in the Autumn spinning intricate webs between anything vertical and just dangle in the Breeze.
This Spider let me photograph him closely. Another wander of Nature.
The estate agent have not rung me yet about this house, so I am hanging around too :)
The Camera is empty of Battery, and needs recharging again, ready for more flower photos!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
It is a shimmering red and black, like Satin, you can see how the flash has reflected off the leaves surface. Its sat by the Front room window with light, but not direct sunlight.I need to do more research about the plant when im not working.
I love the colours!
Monday, October 01, 2007
The Happy Snappy in flower today. I like the Red/pink flower with the vanilla throat, and dark stripes, like Adam and the Ants from the 1980's. Stand and Deliver!
I got another flower catalogue through the post. This one was from Dibleys, pages and pages of Streptocarpus, African Violets, Foliage Begonias, and Other Strange Houseplants that I have never heard of.
From never hearing of Streptocarpus before, I now have five plants growing on the windowsills.
I am thinking about other colours that I dont have like White, yellow, or Blues. The plug plants only cost £2.30, which is probably about $3 in US money.
They are easy to grow, and give lots of flowers from April to Winter. They have survived the flat and will be moving with me to Windowsills new.
Im back on Seven night shifts this week, so the posts will slow down. I got a comment from Sue about a Retro Carnival Blog post, republishing your favourite old post again. I need to think as I have posted over 2200 times in three years :)
I will leave the link here: http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/2007/10/lets-have-garden-bloggers-carnival.html
Hope all the people who visit here click on the link to read Sue's post. It will be a little bit of Winter Warming as the Northern Hemisphere slows down a little.