Archive for June, 2011


The Astrantia flowerhead is like an exploding firework of tiny stars...

This Astrantia surprises me every year, as when I see the leaves in its pot I think what’s that? Then I remember it’s something beginning with A and eventually I get the name before it starts to flower, around May or June.


An Astrantia coming into flower at the beginning of June 2011

Wikipedia doesn’t (more…)

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This teddy in the Wimbledon tennis colours is currently available online for just £14 - click on the pic to go to the Wimbledon Shop...

It’s the Wimbledon tennis championships at the moment, so what better time to look at that iconic colour combination of purple, white and green used by the tournament – and also by the suffragette movement. But (more…)

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A pair of urban foxes in a neighbour's garden

OK, I know it’s “a frog he would a-wooing go” in the old song, but I couldn’t think of anything else as a title for these pictures of a pair of urban foxes in a neighbour’s garden, basking in the morning sunlight after a wet few days. They look so devoted to each other.


If I had to guess, I would say the one lying down (left) is the female and the other is a male fox...

I don’t worry about (more…)

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Fuchsia in a container in my garden - the variety is called Lambada

As you walk around a garden, you are surrounded by living memorials to people long dead. Mahonia and Camellia in winter, Forsythia and Magnolia in spring, Buddleia and Escallonia in summer, Dahlia and Fuchsia in autumn – all are named after people.

No wonder the Latin names of plants are so varied and sometimes difficult to pronounce – I’m thinking Kniphofia here (named after Kniphof), Fuchsia (named after Fuchs), and Choisya (named after Choisy)… I’ve only just realised that last one, and now I’ll never spell it wrongly as “Choysia” again. That’s the thing – I’m a stickler for spelling and knowing where names come from helps.

When botanists started giving Latin names to plants and ran out of folk names or descriptive names to Latinise, they turned to their friends (more…)

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Red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) on ivy in the garden, June 11, 2011

I was so pleased to catch a picture of this red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) that I thought I would post it, as well as adding it to my spider identification project page.

It was running around very fast on a variegated ivy plant outside in the garden, over and under a leaf, and kept on evading me. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been moving, as it was less than half a millimetre long. It must have paused for just a moment on the stem when I shot this.

Spider mites are a pest on house plants and in the greenhouse, weaving their webs and sucking the life out of the plants. I don’t mind them in the garden, though (I say this even though this is the first time I have seen them outdoors…). More information about red spider mites on Wikipedia here.

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Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) from Marks & Spencer...

For many years I have seen the buckets of bunches of Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) at the Marks & Spencer checkouts and thought maybe one day I would buy some – although I usually prefer big yellow chrysanthemums or roses.

Last week I bought some. I had hoped for the heady nostalgic spicy smell I recalled from childhood, when my “Auntie” Margaret grew them in her garden and gave me fresh little bunches. Her lovely second husband was called William (Bill) Baldwin and she sometimes called him Sweet William.

But back to the M&S bouquet. What a disappointment! Nothing! Hardly a whiff of perfume. Is it because they are stale? Or have the plant breeders knocked the odour out of them?


Sweet Williams come in several shades of pink and white...

They are of course (more…)

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