Ever since this blog has been called what it is we have never had a picture of Amaryllis so its time to put that right. I have never really thought of amaryllis as cut flowers but I was given a bunch of this fabulous dark red variety for Christmas and boy were they good. They came as tight buds and gradually blew out to these huge, rich, powerful blooms. Had I given this picture a bit of forethought I might have moved the tray of eggs and the plastic shampoo bottle but take a look at the shape of that yellow gourd and hey the browns and blues of the egg tray do a nice job of complementing the jugs and teapot. The teapot is a salt glazed pot by Toff Milway and it is a great shame it is hidden by the plastic bottle so take a look at Toff's pots here.
....and while we are on berries let's hear it for the Cotoneasters or at least until the birds get to them. The large leaved evergreen and semi- evergreen species including C. salicifolius, C.bullatus, C x watereri and C. frigida all make large shrubs with very good berries.
No name on this Sorbus but the leaves are too big for S. vilmorinii and the fruits too small for S. cashmeriana. Name or no name Sorbus are great value for money with good flowers, bright berries and very often rich autumn colour.
These fleshy delights always look so tempting hanging in straggling strings through the dankest of hedges in winter.In summer the flowers are small and unremarkable but the heart shaped (heart shaped if you have a pointy heart that is.) foliage is unbelievably shiny like a coat of spray-on lacquer. Black Bryony, Dioscorea communis is a poisonous, hardy herbaceous climber which crops up as a wild plant in hedgerows across the UK and Europe. It is never recommended as an ornamental plant but it is very shade tolerant and I am happy to let it grow through the hedge under my old willow tree.
I don't really grow this climber for its berries which are a small bonus in late summer. I grow it for its magnificent foliage which is aptly describes by its specific epithet, Ampelopsis megalophylla. The leaves are 30 to 60cm long and split into several leaflets. They are deeply veined and shiny. It climbs by means of grasping tendrils and really need quite a bit of space in fact far more than I allow it along my garden fence and I have to cut great lengths off it in the autumn. It roots quite readily from hardwood cuttings taken in autumn.
I took this picture of what looked like elderberry fruits on a low growing plant near the Olympic Park in London. It is not an elderberry but I don't know what it is. Any ideas?
This is supposed to be a garden slanted blog so I have to fight hard against myself to stop me putting non gardening stuff in and particularly holiday snaps.
However it doesn't always work and sometimes I lose my battle against me.
We went to Kracow in Poland for a few days recently and there were so many opportunities for good photos that I couldn't resist sneaking a few in here. I am big fan of patterns so these old doors were irresistible. The door with the gold flowers was at the university where Copernicus studied in the 1500s. Copernicus realised the planets all went around the sun rather than the earth. Some of his original instruments were on display - brill!
I find it hard not to notice the practical and the mundane particularly when they are as good as this. These are cables that run from the surface straight down a hundred or so metres to the bottom of the salt mines we visited in nearby Wieliczka. A hundred metres of heavy duty cable is going to weigh an awful lot and obviously you have to have then clipped to the wall for tidiness and safety so what if you can devise a clip that not only holds them neatly against the wall but also takes the weight of on each clip and grips more tightly the more weight is put on the clip. These clips do just that. The tapered design of the pegs and brackets causes the cables to be gripped by the wood and so support the weight.
Many intricate and detailed carvings have been made in the rock salt during the mines seven hundred year history.
A huge amount of heavy duty timber was brought into the mine over the years to support some of the larger galleries. The timber workers were held in high regard because the safety of the mine workers depended on their skills. In case you were wondering, yes the chandelier is a recent addition.
Depending on the geology of different parts of the mine not all galleries needed support. For scale you can see the railings along the walkway at the top right of the picture. Could have been a set from the latest Hobbit film.
I am fortunate enough in my work to visit various private gardens a surprising number of which have some very exciting features. The garden as a whole may not be particularly special but many have a particular detail that stands out and that the owner can rightly be very proud of. I recently came across this fantastic piece of topiary in the Cotswolds. What I particularly like is that rather then the usual rounded 'cloud' style of clipping this has been clipped, at least this year, with flat facets which raises it way above the ordinary.
Suggestions of the Guggenheim in Bilbao?
Very often old topiary can be seen to have come from say a couple of old box plants or, if the plants are in a line, the remnants of an outgrown old hedge but these seem perfectly random
Below is another garden I visit and if the drive was a canal you could easily be tootling along the cut in another country, France perhaps, or is my imagination getting a bit too stretched?
The botanists tell us that Magnolias are fairly primitive plants and were one of the first plants to develop flowers, flowers which it would seem did their job well enough for them not to need to evolve into anything more complicated,. Whatever the case this Magnolia grandiflora produced some large, dramatic flowers which were followed by these beginnings of seed pods. Kinda cute and cuddly ain't they?
Just as cute and cuddly is this seed pod of a climbing plant which I am guessing is part of the cucumber family and was flowering in yet another garden I visit. Any ideas what it is?
That's it for a while.