Sunday 10 April 2016

Beauty of Springtime

I thought I'd break up the art posts with some gardening - after all, it is one of my hobbies too, right? First of all, I have a GARDEN CENTRE HAUL to share! On Wednesday, dear friend B took me to the garden centre - I cannot drive and I also cannot carry heavy things due to my disability - I only have one free hand at any point in time. Given we both love plants and I'm liable to spend far more than him, thus making him feel better, he takes me to garden centres, helps me with large bags of compost and so on. I was relatively restrained, spending about £40 but entirely on plants this time - no pots or compost needed.

First off, here are eight beautiful Fuchsia spp. L. - the cultivars here have a wide range of flower colours and shapes and foliage colours too - they are as follows:
Right Column (from top) Golden Swingtime, El Camino, Rosemarie Higham and Minirose.
Left Column (from top) Insulinde, Genii, Alison Patricia and Caroline's Joy.

I have run these - still in their original pots - around the front of my big pot cluster - once the tall spring flowers die down, these beauties will come into flower!

I love herbs both to cook with and as garden plants. They look beautiful and you get wonderful smells from them. This beautiful Thymus vulgaris L. (German thyme aka Garden thyme) cultivar is called Faustini and smells amazing. I already have another T. vulgaris, but it was 3 herbs for £5.00 and this was the third, basically.

This one is a bit odd - it's labelled both "Garden Mint" and "Mentha spicata", but garden mint is Mentha sachalinensis (Briquet ex Miyabe and Miyake) Kudô, not Mentha spicata L., as that is spearmint. I've only just realised this - I'll sniff a leaf and see if it smells of spearmint tomorrow. It certainly does look like M. spicata.

This one is is labelled properly at least! Mentha × piperita L. - the peppermint, which is a hybrid of the above M. spicata and the watermint, M. aquatica L. - I love those purple stems so much! I've mixed these herbs along with my others - another T. vulgaris, a struggling little Salvia officinalis L. - the garden sage or common sage - and a very happy Melissa officinalis L. - the lemon balm. Cute fact - the lemon balm's flowers attract the honey bee (Apis spp.) - and such bees were known in ancient Greece as "melissa". I love to attract insects to my garden so I love to have flowers they can enjoy as much as I do. My herbs sit amongst my other pots of all sorts of spring and summer flowers - a separate "herb garden" wastes their beauty - but then I even mix in my vegetables!

This sorry-looking pile of twigs is actually a Callicarpa bodinieri H. Léveillé, Bodinier's beautyberry - so named because of the wonderful bright purple berries it will produce later in the year.

Slightly happier-looking I've planted two fruit bushes together - on the right is a Rubeus idaeus L. - the European raspberry - but this is a special cultivar - Fallgold, which is going to produce beautiful golden yellow fruit! The little plant on the left is the poor cousin of one of my favourite fruits of all time - it is Chaenomeles japonica Thunb. Lindl. ex Spach - the Japanese quince, which is not to be confused with the true quince, Cydonia oblongata Mill., which is my favourite fruit of all time. Apparently one can still cook the fruits from the Japanese quince, so if it ever has any of decent size, I'll be trying that! Beyond them you can see one of my grow-bags - this one has got French beans, courgettes and a summer squash planted in it - I'll do another post on those.

And finally, the crowning glory of my garden right now - standing right above the crowd is this beautiful-yet-smelly beauty - the Kaiser's crown (Fritillaria imperialis L. aka the imperial fritillary) - named because those big dangling red flowers are kind of like an emperor's crown...yeah right. This beauty came to me in about September last year when I picked up a bulb for about £3.00 and the instructions to said to plant it sideways so it didn't rot. It STANK - really musty fox-like or even cannabis-like (allegedly) smell - so I planted it in a huge pot and surrounded it with a ring of Viola spp. Cut to 2 weeks ago, I was out in the garden and could smell this plant and thought it must be about to come through the soil - I checked the middle of the pot, nothing. Then I realised it had grown THROUGH the plastic pot, breaking it, and had erupted to the side of it, wit a 1 metre tall spike of leaves with these big red flower buds under it, ready to open. And my word - it STINKS...! I'm told it should stop smelling now the flowers are out but nope, it still stinks!!!

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