Monday, April 30, 2007

Orchids Growing on...

The most advance Bletilla Striata growing nicely, it nearly has leaves :)

The chinese ground orchid, in sunny Wakefield, west yorkshire miles away from south east Asia.

Of pots and plants

The Asiatic Lilly I bought from Shelley nursery has gone mad in the ceramic pot. It has put up four leafy stems with the leaves falling outwards.

They are so soft to touch when you run your hand up the leaves. A very tactile plant.

There are flower buds now at the top of the stems, nestled between green leaves like eggs in a birds nest.

You can see the buds on the second photo.You can grow Asiatic lillys in a pot on a windowsill or table nearby to the window.

I hope to photograph the pink flowers, assuming it flowers like it said in the pot.

The other bulbs that i have put in pots have all come up. The oriental stargazer is developing slowly, but are not exciting enough to photograph. One plant has grown faster but the leaf development is much slower than the asiatic ones.
The Acidanthera I planted in the large pot have grown really quick. 11 out of 12 bulbs have grown stems that are pushing there way up. I hope they flower as they are scented and have beautiful white and black flowers. The lovely named peacock Orchid.
The only casualtys are the Nicotiana which i am thinking will all keel over soon, two of the rescued fuschias have died (from their treatment in the shop where they are displayed and left in heat and fluorescent lighting.)
The tomato plants seem to be struggling as well.The soil is moist, the light present.The lower leaves seem to get droopy, then shrivel. The upper leaves seem to curl up at night, then relax during the day.I wander if the temperature variations are hitting them.Warm during the day then cold at night.They were on the kitchen windowsill but have now moved to the bedroom table about a foot and half away from the windowsill on my black table.
My Dicentra Alba (bleeding heart with white flowers) has rallied around and has lots of new fresh green leaflets growing all over.I hope it might still flower, but maybe it wont untill next year.It is good to nurse an ailing plant back into health. Especially when it might reward you with showy flowers!!
My plants have one month before Hils Charity plant sale.I expect to have more room then on my windowsills. I want to make hanging baskets to for workmates. Angela has a caravan which she visits regularly and i want to do a couple for her to hang there.
Fran also will take some of my excess plants.I love growing them, but they want to be in gardens really flowering away.
I am back on nights this week, seven nights again. Its been four weeks since the last set!!I will post photos and a few words. Hope all your gardens are growing on well!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lavender/Chamomile Snail

Look, what had found its way onto my washing powder. My old garden adversary the common garden snail..

I thought it was dead, as i could not detect any movement.The shell was filthy with mud.I think he hitched a lift in from Frans compost.It was in her garden and was damp.The snail thought it was a cool, dark place to hang out.Before he got transported to my flat.

I washed the snail shell so I could photograph the markings... when lo and behold he came alive.

He was ALIVE, and wandering whoo put him through a shell wash?His patterning is clear now, he started to slide away...

Snails are not renowned for their lightning pace out of the trap..he eased his way along the washing powder box. to look for somewhere dark and cool to hide untill dusk..

He is quarantined now in a glass jar until nightfall.I will release him then.
Its amazing how he moved from either the compost bag from frans, or on one of the pots from the shed. He moved out from his hiding place out, into the pan cupboard (which also doubles for plant pots, seed trays, compost, and vermiculite), then up to the top left hand corner. He settled on lavender and chamomile washing powder! My Fav smell...
I think snails are cute, when they are not demolishing my Dahlias. Snails are part of gardening, as are slugs, and other pests.
I read KC MO's Blog about the terrible weather he has had, and the damage done to the garden there.
Gardeners cope with all manner of bugs, animals, inclement weather, freak storms, ice, snow, hail, torrential rain, and droughts where the soil bakes to a crisp. We just have to shrug, see whats still growing, and keep on going.
There is much beauty in nature, even the common garden snail with its concentric ringed shell, has lovely colours and stripey patterning. They are some of Natures art forms.
As Britt Arnhild says there is beauty in everything, even the common place things, if we just learn how to look at them with fresh eyes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Digging for Victory: Britains new pastime

I was up early today, watching the BBC new and there was a piece about people growing their own vegetables in there gardens and allotments. I googled for the news and found an article in the Guardian.
It says that for the first time since the second world war vegetable seeds are outselling flower seeds. People are getting fed up of the extravagant prices that large supermarkets sell their organic vegetables, fruit, and herbs. These are specially marked Organic, grown without chemicals or pesticides. The price is double or three times the normal cost for non organic vegetables. I guess these have been sprayed, GM altered, or something similar to not be organic.
Several years ago Allotments (community gardens to the USA) were declining in popularity, and plots lay deserted, abandoned. Councils began to sell off the land previously set aside for the growing of fruit or veg.
Today there are waiting lists of years to gain an allotment. Some councils are reducing the plot size in half to make more available.
The major seed sellers note that vegetable seed and plant sales are up 31%, whereas Traditional flower seeds sales are down by a similar amount.
People want to grow their own veg, for organic reasons, for health reasons, and for a return to old fashioned values. Family's are growing the potatoes, onions, green beans, carrots etc, and pick them for dinner from the plot.
Keeping chickens is on the increase as a pastime, and now beekeeping ,once a declining pastime has become popular, for home made honey I guess. Even within the city of London, bees are buzzing around.
I have my three windowsills, until such time as I move again. The house MUST have a garden or some space suitable for growing fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
The poster is from the British National Archives. Whilst looking up Dig for Victory I found this article by a guy called Erin Koch about the British home front during the second world war. The flower beds and lawns were cleared for growing vegetables during the war when food rationing was in force, and when we were dependent on importing food from outside Britain.
How strange that time has turned 360 degrees from a country at war, to personal crusades against the buying power of the national supermarkets, and a desire to return to agrarian roots of our Island. How long have the British cultivated land and grown plants for personel use? The original cottage garden..
There are two main groups on allotments now, the typical older man, probably retired, and the thirty something growing exotic vegetables. That could be man or woman too. Families have also moved down to allotments too.
The satisfaction of eating something you have grown and nurtured is being fostered, a whole new generation of green fingered children will see their parents doing it.
Allotments will pass down slowly between the old timers to the younger generation, and potatoes, carrots, leeks, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring onions, etc will be grown to go from plot to dinner plate.
I think I will have a house before an allotment, as long as I have somewhere to grow things I will be happy.Until then I will dig and tidy other peoples gardens for pleasure :)

Mock orange in Wakefield

The white, sweetly scented flowers. Growing in a hedgerow along the alley.How did mock orange cross from the united states to Wakefield?

Did a bird eat the seeds then drop it onto the hedge.It germinated and has grown up and down the hospital alleyway.

A photo swiped from Cambridge gardens, of a Philadelphus, mock orange. Thanks to Eal who said what it looked like :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

End of week

Two days off now, after five long thirteen hour days.I can blog loads, catch up on garden blogs from around the world.
The photo is cherry blossom flowers blown along the kerbside.I saw them one day blowing into the physio department.Pink blossoms all over the blue entrance carpet.
Hope all your gardens are growing on well.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Little bird and unknown flower

Taken yesterday on my long day, between admissions..

This cheeky chappy was hopping around my feet yesterday as i ate a turkey sandwich.

He was unphased my camera clicking, and got rewarded with a piece of bread.
Does anyone know what type of bird he is?
His feathers are a mix of reddish brown with a yellow tipped beak.
He is looking quzzically on the second photo.

He grabbed his piece of bread, then hopped back into the hedgerow. It is full of Dandelions, queen annes lace, nettles, and an unknown flower . I will post, growing in the hedgerow on green shiny leaves.

The Hedgerow along one side of the Alley that runs up past the hospital. The queen annes lace blows in the wind.A sea of white flowers.

The birds love this, to sing in, hop around, find snacks to eat.

They fly between one hedge and the other, quick as lightning.

Its hard to photograph them, or they fly up to the trees in the foreground.

Pretty white flowers with cream circles between them. They smell faintly sweet, for attracting insects i guess. They are climbers grappling through the hedge to flower on the upper outer branches, taking in the light from the sun, and the first falling raindrops.
Does anyone recognise it?

The Jewel Orchid flowered...

.. last night.I have yet to smell the scent, maybe it comes out on a night.
It gets misted daily, and is sat on some wet pebbles below the pot.

The Orchid thinks it is in South east Asia, not cold but sunny wakefield.

This Orchid is supposed to be easy to propogate, so i want to try to grow lots more for friends and workmates.

The flowers have a vaguely bird of paradise shape.I can imagine them in a forest floor, growing in the shade. The velvety leaves and the bright white flowers with egg yolk yellow on the lower petal.

I am reading slowly the Orchid Thief and I will review it when i have finished.

The magic of Orchids.I think I will try not to buy any more Orchids.

Is there one called Black Magic? As they cast a spell on people who then covet them, and grow them, try to make a natural environment for them to flower.

Aquilegia today

Aquilegia Purple empereor.There is a mystery though with this nursery bought beauty of a plant..

If the flowers are all purple why did this one make a white flower?The aquilegia spurs are there with the stamen like a dragons tongue poking out of the flower.

This is the Purple Empereor flowers in its glory :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Frans Caveman Poppy

The photo is from Fran of her Caveman poppy, the iceland poppy.It had the green furry flower buds.

It looks like red flying saucers.It likes the bark chippings i think.

I have just finished a 13 hour day on a surgical admissions unit (not my usual medical admissions).

Now is the time for gardening, and plant care.They help you unwind and focus on them and not on the daily stresses and strains.

Healing flowers and plants, wish i had a garden...Fingers crossed i do soon :)

Dont cry for me Argentina...

The peace lilly with the tear, droplet hanging off the end of the leaf...

Back to work again

Its 6.14 am, nearly time to leave house.I will do some posts tomorrow.I can tell when my days off are because I post lots of photos and words.
Aquilegia purple empereor is star like from the top, purple petals with yellow tips on edge.
Who cant be happy with a flower that mad looking and colourful?
Have good days wherever you are in the world :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jewel Orchid Photos

The Jewel Orchid today...

The velvety leaves with the red parallell veins running along the leaf..

The Velvety texture is captures here at the point of where the flowering stem comes up from the leaves.

The flower buds, these remind me of my table lamp with its golf ball shaped light bulb.
Hope they flower soon, the are suppossed to be scented too.
You can imagine these on the forest floor is south east asia growing in Dappled shade.

My growing list,part two

The second part of my list is seedlings raised from seeds in a mixture of either seed trays or pots.
Some seeds germinate quicker than others.The record on the seed packet was may take 90 days to germinate!Thats nearly 13 weeks from planting to seeing any growth :(
I have growing on now:
1) Mimulus, think these are called monkey flowers.They have spectacular flowers with an explosion of colours.I hope they grow for me as they will be good to photograph..
2) Viola Midnight Runner, these have grown really well in a mixture of compost and vermiculite.The mix was like cheesecake biscuit base!All the seeds germinated.I have high hopes for the very dark purple/black flowers.
3) Convolvulus Blue ensign, lovely blue flowers with white and yellow centres.
4) Echinacea Purpurea, Lustre hybrid mix.These cone flowers grow a mixture of red, pink, or white flowers.These were free from Hils and i did not expect them to germinate but they did.
5) Datura Ballerina: one seed has germinated, but this is the record slowest germinator i think.Up to 90 days before i know if its failed or not.One brave Datura has grown so far..
6) Clary, purple sage flower.These annuals are grown for their lovely foliage colour and can be used in dried flower displays with their purple, pink, or blue leaves.These were from Frans old seeds collection but germinated quickly and are quite strong seedlings.
7) Thunbergia Alata Salmon Shades: Another free seed packet of uncertain age, which has germinated.There are five seedlings.The seed case breaks open and forms what looks like two early leaves, then the first paired leaves grow from the bottom of the seed pod.They are nice colours of salmon, orange, and yellow.Commonly called black eyed susan..
8) Gazania Tigerstripe: every plug plant i bought from Wilkos has grown on..
9) Nicotiana: close to nightmare.I think these would be better sown into a garden, and left to grow.They do NOT like being transplanted, and are still keeling over...
10) Snapdragons: I have two lots growing.The first lot are growing on well.The second lot were Beurre Blanquii or something? Yellow flowered snapdragons, a present from Hils seeds collection.
11) Impatients: two lots of busy lizzies have been planted.Boy are these slow this year.Every year i try to raise some busy lizzies from seed.This year the germination has been erratic.Maybe when it warms up they will be quicker..
12) Lavatera: only one seed planted from a dried seed pod case.It has not done anything yet...
13) Purple flowering Honesty. Not a Single seed has germinated but this was an old seed packet and has been exposed to the air.
14) Frans poppys: In her shed, in a glass jar were some dried seed heads, and lots of black seeds.A small handfull got put into a seed tray, watered, and a propogator lid put on.These look to be starting germination.

My Growing List

Fran found this book, and bought it for me. Mr Smiths indoor garden, from a 1980 BBC tv series..
I have gone through the plants and seedlings and seed trays today to come up with my growing list.I have split it into two , pot plants and seedlings.
The pots have growing in them:
1) Candy pink trailing Fuschias
2) Bletilla Striata (chinese ground orchid)
3) Tomato plants: one each of red pear, tigerella, and gardeners delight.mmm cheese n tomato sandwiches..
4) Crocosmia from Frans garden, when we planted the Honeysuckles.
5) Geraniums
6) Primula, flowerless but alive.
7) Hydrangea, the cutting fell off the main plant and is growing nicely in a pot. Waiting for my garden..
8) Sansavieria: mother in laws tongue.Bought in york years ago.It keeps making baby plants for me.
9) Japenese Maple
10) Dicentra Alba: the white flowered bleeding heart.It took some damage at the nursery being left to dry out in the hot sunshine.This has damaged the growing flower buds and leafs.
11) Bird of Paradise: small but perfectly formed.It has a long way to grow before it flowers i think.This will be a long term goal :)
12) Asiatic Pink lillys
13) Jewel orchid: nearly flowering.The white flowers have lovely white flower buds like light bulbs on a pink stem, from the veined velvety leaves.
14) Easter Cactus, rescued from my Nans..
15) Peace Lilly; photographed today
16) Acidanthera (still asleep in pot full of soil.These are commonly called Peacock orchids, with scented flowers).
17) Oriental Stargazer lilly, slow growing compared to the Asiatic pink lilly.
18) Aquilegia purple empereor.
That completes part one of my whats growing list...

Whats growing today

The Aquilegia purple empereor is more beautiful in the daylight than lamp light. I have taken loads of photos off the flowers and the buds.

The two long days over the weekend meant I left the plants to grow with no interference from me.

My Nicotiana have keeled over terribly.For big flowery plants when fully grown they have very shallow roots.A dirt dozen have survived the repotting.
With so many pots its hard for me to keep track of what actually i do have growing, or am waiting for to grow...
Thanks god for the blog.I would love a notebook but I lost the last one Doh.Plant labels are also mysteriously dissapearing.
I have put more sugar syrup in the Dandelion wine, racked off last years wine.I have been told to wait for both containers to clear before bottling them.The handpainted labels are sat on the winebottles waiting for the clearness to develop.

The Asiatic pink lillys have gone mad in the Ceramic pot.They are very green, and have lovely rosette like leaves that fall from the centre, and grow outwards.

The Oriental stargazers are slower movers too.They are growing slowly on day by day.

I have a few seed trays growing seedlings still, but after the Nicotiana disaster I will wait for them to grow bigger.

I am driven by the fact that seed trays are not a good way to use my windowsills.The take up more room than if the plants were in small pots.

I think you can plant seeds in cells and grow them from a pack of 24 or 36.Im used to sowing in seed trays then transplanting them into small pots to grow on.
The rehomed Peace Lilly has started to green its leaves up.Its a funny plant because it cries
occasionally. Tear drops form at the end of the long green graceful leaves.
The Bletilla Striata have grown some more, and now look like they are about to unfurl some leaves. They grow upwards rolled up like a persian carpet.
The Candy pink Fuschias I have bought are okay.One plant died though, because they were all quite ropey.It must be in a gardeners sensitive side to take pity on sickly/ unloved/ unlooked after plants and try to nurse them back to health.
Three Fuschias survive.They will be beautiful when they flower in a month or two..
I will write the list on the next post.As a sign of my passion/madness and to remind me what is actually growing today.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bloomed today when i was working..

This morning at 6am....

This evening at 9pm...

What a difference a day makes.I will take more pictures soon in daylight to highlight the flowers colours.I love Aquilegia, and this was the first one i have seen flower so im Excited.It means its getting the proper TLC to make sure the plant flowered!!

Jewel Orchid

The Flower buds on the Jewel Orchid stem, like a sheaf of wheat.
Its scientific name is Ludisia Discolour.

The Velvety leaves do their best to avoid being photographed.This one is with the flash on, in the front room, about eight foot from a windowsill.It is sat on a pebble tray with water in it, to mimic a humidified atmosphere.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Photos from the indoor greenhouse :)

The Asiatic pink lilly's (I only repotted them.The pink pot must have had a few bulbs in it).There are two growing stems, and a third emerging from the soil...

The Aqualegia purple empereor again.Soon to flower I hope.This was from the Nursery at Shelley.Every plant has come from somewhere I have visited..

My new plant from shopping today.A Japanese maple.This will be grown indoors untill I have a house with a garden. My first got chewed by a dog, the second and third got blown away then dried out before dropping every leaf!
I hope this one survives indoors.It has been repotted and watered today.
My indoor garden has taken over three windowsills, one plant stand, a black trolley, and the kitchen top.Its like an indoor greenhouse!

Aqualegia nearly blooming

The Aqualegia Purple Empereor.I hope that i will have a purple flower to photgraph soon!
Frans Favourite plants!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Early Morning and Last pic of Day

Sun rise at 6.30 am

Sun setting at 8.10 pm
I worked a long day, and saw the sun rising and the sun setting.Time for bed now...more photos tomorrow.Will sleep well :)