Why is the beautiful Taraxacum so despised?

dandelion

My garden has a wonderful collection of the Taraxacum flower.

dandelions
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/dandelions-spring-yellow-hill-3404750/

I think they are really beautiful. The bright yellow flowers brighten the garden on even the dullest day.

dandelions
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/dandelion-pollen-nature-grass-3344544/

And the seed head must be one of the finest in the world.

dandelion
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/nature-dandelion-macro-close-3092555/

So why is the dandelion so loathed and the number one contender for eradication by the majority of gardeners?

The Royal Horticultural Society says:

Dandelion is a persistent, perennial weed of lawns, borders and hard surfaces. It’s difficult to eradicate dandelions by digging alone as the deep tap root can regrow and fluffy seeds are readily spread by the wind.

Well, I think dandelions are lovely and I’m pleased to find that Garden Betty agrees with me!

dandelions
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/forget-me-not-dandelion-flower-3336719/

How about you?

Love them or loathe them?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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Is my camellia going to flower after all?

camellia

Last year my potted camellia was swathed in fleece to protect it from the winter frosts.‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’.

I erred on the side of caution and didn’t remove the fleece until May 1st. It may be May Day for you but it’s Camellia Day for me!

If you read Camellia Day update you’ll know what happened next!

A few days ago I tried to do a bit of tidying up around my containers. I haven’t been strong enough to do any gardening since I started chemotherapy but now I’m on a modified treatment my energy levels have increased. I’m gradually finding my new limits and have managed to resume gardening for twenty minutes or so. On  checking out the camellia I was amazed to see it was laden with buds.

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How could this be?

After  a very cold winter with no fleece for protection I didn’t expect to see any buds at all. And some of the buds are slightly tinged with pink. Now I ‘m checking the plant every day, hugely impatient to see what happens next.

Watch this space!

The illustrations below are from Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe by Louis van Houtte (1810 – 1876).

camellia
image credit: Louis van Houtte [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Louis van Houtte was a Belgian horticulturist who was with the Jardin Botanique de Brussels between 1836 and 1838 and is best known for the journal Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l’Europe, an extensive work boasting more than 2,000 coloured plates in 23 volumes published between 1845 and 1883. Van Houtte is a fascinating character who after the death of his wife travelled extensively in South America collecting orchids. He established a very successful business growing orchids commercially in Belgium and introduced the Victoria lily into Europe. By the 1870s, van Houtte’s renowned nursery covered fourteen hectares and comprised over fifty greenhouses.

camellia
image credit: Louis van Houtte [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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Sleepy, picturesque Leefdale soon becomes a place of petty, bitter conflict after the sale of The Old Rectory. More details.

Camellia Day update

Back in May, just five days before my health problems commenced, I promised an update after unwrapping my potted camellia from its winter fleece.

Now I’ve returned to 3sixtyfiveblog, here’s the update!

Absolutely disappointing.

Not a single further bloom appeared.

I downloaded the photo on this post from Pixabay but my own plant was virtually bare.

In autumn last year it took me ages to wrap the plant in its winter fleece. Not helped by trying to cocoon it on a rather breezy day! I used a whole bag of washing line pegs to keep the fleece in place plus half a ball of garden string. And some very expensive fleece from the local garden centre.

All to no avail!

Needless to say, it won’t be happening this year. The plant can take its chances with the rest of our shrubs, bushes and pot plants. Since I’ve been having chemotherapy, I’ve had to pass all gardening jobs over to my husband, Michael. He says the best part of gardening is when you’ve finished! He’s handy with the strimmer and doesn’t really differentiate between the plants that are supposed to be in the garden and those that are unwelcome. Several of last year’s perennials have gone the same way as the entwining bindweed, burgeoning buttercups and stinging nettles which took over much of the garden when neither of us had any interest in it. I’m happy to have wild flowers in the garden but not when the most robust dominate and take over. We had a fine crop of four foot high thistles this summer which were starkly dramatic but challenging to remove.

I doubt that we’ll see any flowers on the camellia next year. The buds seem to be so susceptible to frost damage but who knows? I hope I’ll be able to let you know!

Thanks for reading my blog today and hope you’re having a great day.

You might also like September Song on my Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

 

It may be May Day for you but it’s Camellia Day for me!

It’s May Day: the day the fleece comes off my potted camellia.

IMG_0835

I’ve been hanging on

and waiting for any last vestiges of Spring frosts to disappear before risking the fleece’s removal.

I concede that my arrangement of the fleece is a little bizarre.

It took two packets of clothes pegs and half a ball of garden twine to get the camellia bagged up. There have been moments during winter storms when the fleece has billowed like old sails. But some judicious  re-pegging has kept the fleece in place since last October.

It’s bright and sunny. There’s only a slight breeze. The temperature is about 11 degrees.

Time to pick off the pegs.

Time to get out the scissors and cut the strings.

Time to unroll the bubble wrap round the pot.

camellia

And, yes, there are buds!

And even a couple of flowers already.

I’ve watered the camellia with some diluted ericaceous plant food.

Now, watch this space! I’ll let you know what happens.

camellia

Thanks for visiting 3sixtyfive Blog and hope you’re enjoying a great Bank Holiday Monday.

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Two plants for a cheap and easy splash of summer colour.

seeds

I found a couple of half-used packets of seeds in the garage yesterday.

And there was a nice empty space in one of the large containers at the side of the house.

So, I just shoved the seeds in,

gave them a dash of water

and now I’ll sit back and wait for a splash of summer colour in a few weeks time.

(I hope!)

Calendula

Common Marigold

calendula marigold
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/marigold-calendula-officinalis-437818/

Must be the easiest seeds to grow.

They’ve never let me down and I love their bright orange flowers. As the RHS says:

a fast growing annual or biennial with aromatic leaves

and heads of vivid orange daisy-like flowers,

borne in long succession in the summer and autumn until the first hard frosts.

What do they mean – common marigold indeed!

Nasturtium

“Even kids can sow them easily!”

nasturtium
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/nasturtium-red-flowers-blossom-444387/

And these might actually be even easier to grow than the calendulas.

I had nine seeds left in last year’s packet and they’re supposed to trail so hopefully the nasturtiums will cascade over the edges of the pot.

As the oracle says:

easy annuals

with seeds so big that even kids can sow them easily.

They germinate quickly,

grow quickly too,

and the flamboyant flowers are large and colourful.

I’ll let you know when the seeds germinate…….

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great day.

Here’s my book promo for today:

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4 easy-to-grow garden flowers that didn’t cost a penny!

On Saturday, I cut the grass for the first time this year.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call our grass a lawn

as it’s full of moss and and other assorted plant life.

It’s just a patch of cut grass for the garden chairs when the weather is warm enough for sitting out and enjoying the sunshine.

IMG_0821There’s a clump of daisies near one end of the grass

and I’ve left them uncut to see what happens next as suggested in The Guardian.

As well as the daisies, our garden has several other very pretty flowers all provided free by Nature.

IMG_0830These pulmonaria have self-seeded from somewhere.

I haven’t planted them and don’t know where they’ve come from. I’ve been told they can become prolific and take over all the available space. They’re behind the garage where the soil is extremely poor so I don’t mind if they do go on the rampage.

This little beauty has made itself a home

between the rocks bordering the path.

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IMG_0828

IMG_0829And, although I pull loads of these out, they are lovely.

Thanks for  stopping by my blog today.

You might  also enjoy Like a Garden Full of Weeds

or take a moment to sample the opening paragraphs of

Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray.

From The Visitor’s Guide to Budeholme House 2001

Sir Maurice Brearley was born in 1893 at Southfell Hall in the county of Derbyshire. He was the only son of the industrialist Reginald Brearley and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Brearley. Maurice was educated at Trafalgar School and Caius College, Cambridge. At Caius he read History and began his lifelong interest in Botany.

Shortly after Maurice’s graduation in 1914 the First World War was declared. He volunteered immediately and obtained a commission in the North Wolds Light Infantry Regiment. In early 1915 he was sent to the Western Front and saw action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Festubert. For his “conspicuous gallantry, leadership and devotion to duty when under fire” at Festubert he was awarded the Military Cross.

On the 25th September 1915, whilst in action at the Battle of Loos, Maurice received a wound to his leg which disqualified him from further active service. Nevertheless, he was still determined to do all that he could for the war effort. His father had diversified into munitions and in 1916 Maurice went to work in one of his factories, starting on the shop floor. After the war Maurice and his father remained in munitions and together established a number of arms factories throughout Europe.

In 1929, in recognition of his status as a horticulturalist, Maurice was invited to become a member of Professor Copeland’s celebrated expedition to the Amazonian Rain Forest. He returned home with many new specimens of Orchid, and, in later years, he became a leading authority on the species. Maurice’s collection of Orchids which is housed at Budeholme remains one of the most extensive and diverse in England. In 1965 he was awarded the British Horticultural Association’s Medal of Honour for his contribution to horticulture.

In 1937, Maurice’s uncle, the Eighth Marquis of Elderthorpe, conveyed to him his share of Budeholme; as Maurice had already inherited his mother’s half share on her death, the entire Budeholme Estate passed completely into his ownership. Later that year Maurice married Miss Celia Madden who was also a keen horticulturist. On their return from honeymoon, Maurice and his young bride embarked on the many years of hard work that would transform Budeholme’s neglected gardens into the finest in the country. They now extend over forty two acres and fan out from the house in a series of descending terraces.

Throughout the nineteen thirties Maurice was active in the campaign to re-arm Britain and ensure that its defences were sufficient to repel Nazi aggression. When the Second World War came he was immediately co-opted to the Ministry of Supply where his extensive knowledge of the arms industry proved invaluable. For this service to his country he was knighted in 1953.

The post war austerity greatly depressed Maurice. His response was to inaugurate, through a trust fund, the Magnificent Britain competition. The competition was to be held annually and its aim was to determine which communities throughout the United Kingdom had achieved the highest standard of horticulture. The first Magnificent Britain competition was held in 1946 and it continues to take place every year, attracting thousands of entrants ranging in size from the tiniest rural hamlets to the largest London Boroughs. The competition is now held in many countries throughout the world.

Although Sir Maurice and Lady Brearley left England in 1946 to reside in the South of France, they always returned annually to judge the finals of Magnificent Britain.

In 1953 they resumed permanent residence at Budeholme House and six years later Sir Maurice allowed the gardens to be opened to visitors during the summer months. This proved a great success and in 1979 the public were also given limited access to the house. In 1996 a BBC television documentary was made about the work of the Brearley Trust and the production team spent a whole year following and filming the Magnificent Britain competition. This led to even greater interest in Budeholme and visitor numbers increased dramatically.

Late in life Sir Maurice taught himself to draw and paint. Many of his works in oil and water colour are on display in the house.

Sir Maurice Brearley died in 1969 aged seventy six. Lady Brearley is thankfully still with us and retains an active interest in horticulture. Indeed, she still participates in the judging of the final round of the Magnificent Britain competition.

Read more of Magnificent Britain:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007A4F71G