I recently spent some time with my parents on Madeira. It is seriously a plant-lover’s paradise! Here are some of the crazy-looking plants I saw…
This wonderful creature is called the Mickey-Mouse bush. The yellow flowers fall off to reveal these cute red sepals, and eventually produce black fruits which give the plant its common name. Isn’t it lovely?
And this is the kapok tree. Earlier in the year it has striking red five-lobed flowers which are apparently very attractive to bats, but its main importance is the fruit: a light fibre which is used as an alternative to down as stuffing for soft toys and upholstery. I’m told that the fibres loosen and float off, to the great annoyance to residents…but to me they are just cool!
Yes, I’m aware it’s July…
The phenomenon known as June Gloom is a marine layer that covers the coast of California, and a little way inland, in spring and early summer. As the name suggests, this happens most commonly in June, but can also occur in May and July. We are about 50 miles from the ocean and at an elevation of 1700 feet, and the cloud usually burns off by mid morning. But mornings can be magical!
Bowood House, near Calne in Wiltshire, is a fine example of an English Country House. The gardens and part of the house are open April-November and are well worth a visit. Every spring the owners open their justly famous Rhododendron Walk to the public, and this year I was able to go. But though the rhododendrons are spectacular, my interest was elsewhere…
So exciting…! I have been so preoccupied with house and visitors that I have rather neglected my kitchen garden. But this week I got two new presents.
First is a pair of gooseberry bushes. It seems gooseberries are not popular in California but Lovely Man loves them. And so I managed to track down some plants. Here’s hoping…
And second is my first actual produce……mulberries. Not going to be making jam any time soon, but it still very rewarding to have results so quickly. Now if I can only keep the birds off until they’re properly ripe!
March is a colorful – and busy! – month at Descanso Gardens. While the camellias are still giving their best, joined now by the clivias planted beneath them,
other trees and shrubs are getting in on the act. The cherry blossom in the Japanese Garden warrants a festival all to itself, well-deserved when you see how beautifully they combine with the azaleas and acers with which they share space.
is holly. I’ve never seen it blossom before.
– a real reminder of English springs!
The dogwoods (though not strictly a blossom) deserve an honorable mention.
And a relatively new plant to me – the redbud.
And don’t get me started on the bulbs…!