ju1i3's blog

Welcome to my gardening blog

flowerpot for a pillow

 

I hope I can share a little of what I've learned - and there is so much more to learn.

If you want to share anything, please post at https://www.facebook.com/gardenwithoutdoors/.

 

Victor using a flowerpot for a pillow

monkeyflower on the canal

I first saw the small monkeyflower plants along a wet area of the Regent's Canal towpath: the gutter at the base of the wall where it's green from the plants self-seeding there. View from St Pancras Way bridge over the canal.

While walking along St Pancras Way and looking over the canal, I noticed a monkeyflower had self-seeded there on the pavement.

monkeyflower

a close-up of that seedling

monkeyflower

after seeing the monkeyflowers on that section of the canal, I noticed some by one of the locks near me (Hawley Lock)

monkeyflower

and another younger one without that distinctive 3rd or subsequent leaf

monkeyflower  near lock

Hedge Mustard and Groundsel

Hedge Mustard

I've been looking at so many rosettes recently, especially hedge mustard and shepherd's purse. The shepherd's purse bloomed first, there are lots in bloom now and no sign of that initial basal rosette. I saw my first hedge mustard in bloom yesterday. It obviously takes a bit longer to develop.

This particular one I saw on St Pancras Way (22-2-2019) which is on my walk to and from the garden centre. It's right on the pavement so obviously pretty tough.

hedge mustard initial rosette

2 weeks later, the central stem has shot up and it has buds

hedge mustard in bud

and a few days later, the buds have opened and it's in flower

hedge mustard in flower

everywhere seems to be being mown but this has survived as it's on the pavement away from overzealous "gardeners"

Groundsel

I saw this in February and wasn't sure what it was. 14-2-2019

groundsel

11-3-2019

groundsel

15-3-2019

looking very groundsel-like now

groundsel

close-up of the buds

groundsel

after seeing the buds and how groundsel-like it looks, I decided to look around the area further and found a groundsel in bloom nearby

closer view of those flowers

groundsel

close-up of the groundsel flowers nearby

groundsel in bloom

close-up of the groundsel buds nearby

groundsel buds

More Rosettes - It's That Time of Year

I've been photographing a lot of rosettes recently. I didn't need to go far yesterday to find more. My garden and the patio next door had some interesting ones.

this one has knautia - a large one at the bottom and a small one growing on top of that, green alkanet in the middle and herb robert just left of centre

a close-up of one of those small knautia rosettes growing from a large knautia rosette

knautia rosette

another large knautia rosette with a smaller growing on top

knautia rosette

that large one below with dandelions either side and a green alkanet to the right

knautia rosette

Identifying Bluebells

In February and March, some plants may be unclear whether they are bluebells or hyacinths, especially if you're not completely mad for hyacinths like me and know them very well. I do find bluebells annoying in my garden as they take up more space than they give in flowers and I'd like to grow something else. I want my Chinese lanterns to spread rather than any bluebells. I have tried to dig up the bluebells but it's difficult as they are very deep and difficult to dig up. Also, digging that flowerbed disturbs the Chinese lanterns which spread via their roots. 

These are hyacinths, in bloom and in bud, in March.

hyacinths

The hyacinth leaves are wide,upright and shaped around the hyacinth buds / flowers.

hyacinths

hyacinthhyacinths

Below, in front of the vinca are bluebells, thinner leaves than the hyacinths and not upright but sloping over and with a ridge down the back of the leaves.

bluebells

more bluebells

bluebells

another bluebell

bluebells

and another

bluebells

Daffodils are around at this time as well. They are distinctive with greyish-green leaves. I think any daffodils I have in the ground are old and not blooming. The bluebells are there on the left with brighter green leaves.

more daffodils on the right, bluebells on the left

few of each below

I am going to try to dig up a few more bluebells if I can but if I can't I'll just cut off the leaves and prevent them from blooming. Eventually the bulbs will weaken and die. I'm sure they're all hybrids of native and foreign bluebells (and were in the garden when I moved in), see also  Bluebells. and bluebells in the Weed guide.

muscari, hyacinths and bergenia

I don't have many daffodils but in a pot at this time of year they are so cheerful and shout SPRING and a nice contrast to those fat rich purple hyacinths.

daffodils, hyacinths

there are some borage in bloom there as well

hyacinths and borage

beautiful big hyacinths but why has one of the three bulbs not grown?

hyacinths

The weather has pushed the muscari to bloom early.

muscari

I had a few leftover hyacinth bulbs from forcing so planted them in pots outside. They are in bloom and huge, as expected.

hyacinths

hyacinths

hyacinths

The previously forced hyacinths I planted outside last year (and previous years) are also in bloom but quite small and sparse.

previously forced hyacinths

previously forced hyacinth

previously forced hyacinth

previously forced hyacinths

previously forced hyacinths

previously forced hyacinths on the left, bergenia on the right

previously forced hyacinths and bergenia

vinca and bergenia on the shady side of the front garden

bergenia and vinca

In both my front and back gardens I have foxgloves and green alkanet self-seeding everywhere - and now knautia as well. This pot was supposed to have lupins as the slugs are so voracious and I was trying to keep the lupins  away from the slugs but I have lots and lots of foxgloves! Slugs don't eat them.

pot with lupins foxgloves knautia

pot with foxgloves

Observing Weeds

I try to leave things exactly the way they are when I take a plant photo. If there's rubbish, that's the environment in which it is growing. Cigarette butts are also useful for showing scale.

I saw this monkey flower along Regent's Canal near me in northwest London. It was something I didn't recognise but the leaves are quite unique. An exotic garden escapee.

monkey flower

-update- a couple weeks later

monkeyflower

and in the wider environment

monkeyflower environment

It obviously grew last year. I never noticed it but imagine any flowers would have been quickly picked as the numbers walking the towpath are quite large. 

monkey flower

-update- couple weeks later

monkeyflower canal

monkeyflower

A couple weeks later I saw another monkeyflower.

monkeyflower

and its wider environment

monkeyflower

it's a tough environment for plants, amazing any survive at all, the monkey flower is at the base of the wall on the right

regent's canal towpath

further along the canal the alexanders are blooming

alexanders flower

alexanders flowers

I've been observing a lot of initial basal rosettes and hope to identify and document all those I see. There have been a lot of hedge mustard and shepherd's purse especially and it's easy to confuse the two. That initial rosette of leaves is not observable on the shepherd's purse by the time it blooms.

shepherd's purse

back in my garden the ivy berries are huge, looking like bunches of grapes

ivy berries

after total failures both attempting to grow monkshood from seed and buying some small plants in the "wildflower" range from the garden centre (which never came back the next year), I bought 2 full-size plants last year as an impulse purchase from a garden centre (I try not to buy full size plants) and they've actually survived the winter and are growing, amazing

monkshood new shoots

A World of Weeds in Two Planters

The lack of weeds / wildflowers recently has been so depressing with new building developments and weedkiller limiting their numbers, so finding these planters full of weeds (outside Warren St / UCLH on Euston Rd) has been a real treat. I've been down there a few times and noticed new things each time. A previous recent blog entry featured a Study in Nipplewort which I saw in this planter.  I'll go back in a couple days to check on some, especially the swine cress buds.

looking west, the other planter is across the road

looking east to the other planter

weed trough outside UCLH

The most interesting thing I've seen is swine cress which I'd never seen before. Why I'd see so much of it here and none anywhere else, I don't know. Certainly the neglect of these planters has been beneficial for the weeds and I'm pleased.

swine cress

these are the fattest buds I've seen on the swine cress so will go back in a couple days

swine cress buds

swine cress

swine cress

swine cress

swine cress

swine cress

swine cress buds

swine cress

smooth sow thistle, to the right small rosettes of swine cress, nipplewort, hairy bittercress, groundsel, petty spurge

another smooth sow thistle

smooth sow thistle

compare the smooth sow thistle leaves above with the hedge mustard below which has very textured grey-ish green leaves, both have similar rosettes of lobed leaves

hedge mustard

close-up of one of the hedge mustard leaves

hedge mustard leaf

ribwort plantain, few shoots of petty spurge

ribwort plantain

mouse-ear chickweed

mouse-ear chickweed

mouse-ear chickweed

hairy bittercress

hairy bittercress

hairy bittercress

hairy bittercress

hairy bittercress starts with a low rosette of leaves and then a taller flowering stem emerges as below

hairy bittercress

prickly sow thistle surrounded by swine cress, hairy bittercress to the left

prickly sow thistle

common knotgrass

common field-speedwell

common field-speedwell

common field-speedwell flower bud close-up

common field speedwell

nipplewort

nipplewort

dandelion

dandelion

mallow

mallow

herb robert

herb robert

groundsel

groundsel

a little further north from the intersection with the planters (in view of the Post Office Tower) is this weed which I've been trying to identify, wild lettuce? prickly lettuce?

the cold weather has been tough on it but it's still alive and green

it's soft and not prickly at all even though the leaves have this edge

Weed Therapy

(adapted from Bird Therapy as seen on Winterwatch 2019)

1. Learn
2. Be Active
3. Connect
4. Give
5. Take Notice

I will also add, 6. Be Patient. It can take months of observing a plant and seeing how it develops and blooms before being able to identify it.

only while at my pc did I notice those tiny buds in the centre, thinking this is swine cress (a new weed - to me), waiting (impatiently but trying for patiently) for further development

weed rosette

Geranium Molle, early rosette. I didn't notice those square stems next to it. Think that's the smooth sow thistle I was photographing but concentrating on the buds not the stems. Never realized they were so square at the bottom.

geranium molle

Not sure on this but thinking mayweed?

possibly mayweed

A Study in Nipplewort

I happened to walk past a planter on Euston Rd that had a lot of weeds, including nipplewort, in all stages of its development so thought it would be interesting to have a look at it.

initial nipplewort rosette

nipplewort initial rosette

second rosette with additional leaves

nipplewort rosette

3rd nipplewort rosette, thick with leaves

nipplewort rosette

4th photo with the nipplewort as a small plant with larger leaves rather than just a low rosette

nipplewort small plant

5th photo with longer thinner leaves at the top of the nipplewort plant and flower buds (not to be confused with the smooth sow thistle behind inc its darker leaf on the left)

nipplewort

6th photo with a taller nipplewort plant and a number of flower buds, clear longer thinner leaves

nipplewort

7th photo with the first nipplewort flower in bloom and additional buds, The differently shaped leaves going up the plant are clearly visible.

nipplewort

 final 8th photo of the nipplewort with a number of flowers and a number of buds

nipplewort

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