Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Great Dixter , Star Rot, Mystery Chinese writing.

New blogs announced on twitter @pwhorticulture 

Not the moon  but my best shot of the eclipse. 

Mystery characters.

I was planting some  trained  hornbeam  panels which had been  splayed out on  a bamboo  frame   when I spotted these Chinese symbols on one of the  bamboos stems.  I am pretty sure they  are upside down but I  am intrigued as to what they say. Are they  a stock count, a makers name or  perhaps just a bit of Kilroy was 'ere? Are there are any  Chinese readers who know what it means? I am sure it will be something mundane  but it might be  a 'Hey I am in incarcerated in this bamboo factory please get me out of here' though that might be pushing it for the number of characters there are.
And just out of interest what do you think he/she might have cut it with? It is very dexterously done.


Early Iris

Each spring  I get  completely bowled over by  the exotic look of this hardy Iris . It flowers regardless of frost but looks far too colourful,and  brilliant  to be flowering in March. This particularly variety  is Iris histrioides  'Katherine Hodgkin'. which I have seen colonise  large areas of a rock  garden to brilliant  effect. It is just a few inches/ centimetres tall but boxes well above its height.  


I went to Great Dixter on a day out arranged Garden Media Guild.  The first thing I noticed was this view out  from the car park away from the garden. This  building stood very solitary but  also very purposefully in  the middle of this sloping field. I hope to have a few shots of the garden itself  in the next issue.
 If you have never been it is well worth every effort to get there in the summer ,

Great Dixter has fabulous border displays  some of which rely on exotic, tender plants such as Dahlias  and if you think their over-wintering tubers are stacked neatly in tiered trays think again. Here they all are stacked in the cellar  in plastic bread trays (tut - tut) , polystyrene boxes and whatever else comes to hand.  It makes a great if ramshackle sight as you peep  in through the cellar door.

The wood working shop in the great barn is a sight to behold. The garden  produces hurdles, gates, and outdoor furniture from its own woodland and with its own staff . There is a strong tradition of  training and the sharing of knowledge and experience not only in the woodwork department but throughout the garden .
The enthusiasm and energy creates an ethos you can almost feel.


I came across this blob of  what looked  like  dense frog spawn  almost in the water on the edge of a lake where I was working. I got quite excited  because I had no idea what it was and you always like to think you have found something new or rare. On my way home I called in for petrol  and was explaining  this stuff to the guy on the till   Phil Clayton who said, oh yeah that is  star rot, almost nonchalantly. I was deflated. He asked was there just the  one blob  because there are usually two  and of course he was right there were two about a foot apart. He explained that it  is frog spawn from a frog that has been eaten by a heron or other predator and that because the spawn is very hygroscopic the  animal rejects it otherwise if it ate it it would swell up inside it using the moisture from the animal and might well kill the predator. Of course once the  spawn gets into the water it can swell to its hearts content. The spawn is produced in two sacks either  side of the frog hence the two 'blobs'.
It was thought to be dying stars that had fallen to earth  at one time and there still remains a mystery about some of the  jelly like blobs that get found on the ground.

It was quite stretchy and sticky.

That's all for now. 

1 comment:

  1. Re Chinese characters.
    i) they're upside down
    ii) probably reads liu bing 六柄 "six handles" which either refers to an ancient ruler's six rights, or more likely, just means "six pieces" since bing is a measure word for long, thin things. Without more context, impossible to say which.

    Many thanks J. L for sending me this