CYCLAMEN – Resignation, Goodbye
Many thanks to everyone who took part in the November poll, the results show that colourful Cyclamen has been voted most favourite winter bedding plant.
Rather fortunate really, as this is the winter bedding plant I have chosen for my drainpipe pots, the almost sorbet shades of pink do look so beautiful and full of colour, and seem to look good against the brick of the wall. I have them planted in homemade compost, and topped off with soil improver, which is made up of very small pieces of bark mulch, which makes a lovely foil for the beautiful markings on the foliage, which this variety have.
Make sure you twist off the spent flower heads as they turn to seed, doing this will help them to continue flowering over a long period of time.
Cyclamen, from the Greek, kyklos, meaning circular, a reference to the way the flower stems twist into spirals as the seed cases develop. Cyclamen were put to many medicinal uses during the first few centuries AD according to Pedacio (or Padanius) Dioscorides, a Greek military surgeon and naturalist of the first century.
Cyclamen received 50% of the vote, Pansies/Viola received 27%, Polyanthus/Primrose received 10% and Heather received 1%, I am so pleased one of you voted for poor Heather!
RED SKY AT NIGHT
This is what the sky looks like, today, late afternoon, down here in West Sussex. After a very mild, bleak, blustery and wet start to the day, it has cleared to become dry with a noticeable chill in the air. I passed through my patch today, just enough to put out my bin and box for tomorrow, to throw foodwaste and shredded paper into my compost bin and to take a photo of this lovely sky which looked incredible, as if alight, I like the skyline against the silhouette of the hedge.
What with one thing and another, (all of which I daresay will be revealed in my home blog in the very near future) and running another blog alongside this one, I have not been able to post a garden article for a while. I really must get off this computer and out into the garden today, so hopefully soon I shall have something to share with you. Don't forget to pop back in a day or two, or three!
In the meantime, I hope you are all working hard in your gardens and watching the lovely wildlife that visits.
Back indoors soon, Louise x
ROSEMARY - Remembrance
There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray you love, remember - (Hamlet) William Shakespeare. Rosemary is the herb of remembrance, and sprigs are often carried at country funerals or woven into wreaths.
I inherited this useful Rosemary plant from the previous owner, it is a hardy evergreen herb, and is still in little blue flower now in November! It likes dry soil and mine is more or less growing out of a paving slab, so that is how impoverished the soil is.
Rosemary is said to thrive in households where 'the mistress, not the master, rules', maybe that is why it thrives so well in my garden!
Rosemary Hair Rinse - Infuse a few stalks of Rosemary in hot water for several minutes, strain the liquid and allow to cool and bottle, this can be used as a final hair rinse, but always remember to keep it handy in the bathroom! This rinse will bring out the shine in dark hair, for fair hair replace the Rosemary with Chamomile flowers.
I remember as a kid my mum saying how much she disliked Statice in dried flower arrangements, so when a garden magazine was giving away freebie Statice seeds on the front cover I was in two minds about growing them, but I am pleased I did, I really like them. They are really easy to grow from seed, appear to be drought tolerant and flower for months on end, they are still in flower now in November. Established plants also survive in the ground over winter, the foliage does die down a little but they manage to spring back into life in the summer, well they do down here in the South.
The top photo is of plants I grew this year from seed they include some unusual colours such as salmon pink, orange-yellow, pink, carmine and blue, the blue being shown in the second photo.
The 'everlasting' blooms on strong wiry stems hold their colours superbly after drying. Pick when foliage is quite dry and flowers are well coloured. Tie in small bunches and hang upside down in a dry, well ventilated place until really dry.
My step-dad bought me this plant a few Christmas' ago, unfortunately that year all the developing flower buds decided to fall off! Last year the same plant flowered 'its socks off' with two displays of gorgeous blooms. Well you can see how well it is doing again this year, it is tight in its pot so I may have to repot it after flowering has finished?
I discovered some tips in a magazine of how to look after these plants, I didn't religiously follow these, but whatever I did do has produced good results.
January to March - resting period so water infrequently.
April to May - when compost begins to dry water well.
June to September - place outdoors in a shady spot but look out for slugs!
September - bring back indoors and keep compost fairly dry and cool until flower buds form.
Water frequently during the flowering period with rainwater.
I have four different ferns planted at the base of my Amelanchier tree, this is one of them. I love ferns and they are a great addition to any 'green' garden or to an area in shade. They were very popular with the Victorians and they displayed them beneath glass in 'ferneries' and also developed 'stumperies' where they planted ferns and other shade loving plants amongst tree stumps and roots, this is a great idea and this is a project which I want to undertake sometime soon. These have two purposes, one to look good and two to encourage lots of wildlife amongst the decaying matter, lovely!