In A Vase on Monday: Fit for a Queen

On this momentous day in history I am joining the weekly meme with a nod to Queen Elizabeth.

The perennial sunflower ‘Lemon Queen’ and annual sunflower ‘Velvet Queen’ feature – along with an enormous yellow self-seeded sunflower – in my glorious vase today. They are partly a little washed out, as it has rained almost non-stop all week. I am not complaining, and neither is the garden! However, I do hope it remains dry in London for the thousands of people assembled there to watch the funeral procession today.

 

Not many of my sunflowers survived the summer, but as some of the flowers were bent to the ground, heavy with raindrops, I decided to cut them anyway.

 

I added a deep red Gaillardia at the centre, some of the last unspoilt stems of Golden Rod, Verbena bonariensis, the royal red Persicaria ‘Blackfield’ (my current favourite for withstanding the drought best 😃) and some Miscanthus ‘Federweisser’.

Do visit our meme host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. She has a lovely red, white and blue arrangement in tribute to the occasion.

World Bee Day, 2022

I just saw Eliza’s post about World Bee Day, so felt compelled to post something before this day goes by unnoticed. Like Eliza, I ask all gardeners please not to use chemicals to get rid of weeds or pests. There is almost always a kinder alternative that will not harm pollinators.

This is my Peony ‘Claire de lune’ which opened yesterday, with a bee in her ruffles. 😃

 

Fascination of Plants Day, 2022

Fascination of Plants Day is May 18th every year.

Steve, from ‘Portraits of Wildflowers‘, alerted me to this date the other day, which I must admit I had not heard of before. I don’t feel guilty about that though, as there is zero awareness of it in Germany. All the more reason for writing something to mark this day. 🌷

 

First, a definition:

The sixth international “Fascination of Plants Day” will be launched by plant scientists across the world under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

The goal of this activity is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and the production of plant-based non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation is also a key message.

As a gardener and plant lover, I find plants fascinating full stop.

But as a vegan there is the additional interest because they form the basis of absolutely everything we eat. We substitute oat and soya drink for milk, coconut milk for cream, and use nut ‘milk’ for sauces. We eat products made with wheat, lupin, pea and soya protein. Amazing… meat alternatives made out of lupin protein… 😃

We consume leaves, fruits, roots and tubers, seeds, vegetable oils, pulses and grains.

Like many Germans, we heat with wood in the form of wooden pellets. We all wear clothes made of plant fibres.

And since becoming vegan I use far more herbs and spices for flavouring than before.

To put it in a nutshell, plants are our life, and not just for vegans!

But as I said, I am a plant lover at heart and the flowers that I grow fascinate me for so many reasons…

Their shapes..

Their resilience…

Hellebore on a frosty morning

A couple of hours later

The way they produce pollen and seed…

 

And their ingenious strategies for surviving…

For example, this year has been a mast year for spruce, which means they are producing more flowers/seed and hence pollen than usual, rather than putting their energy into new growth.

Spruce this spring

This is often considered to be a reaction to drought or disease; to reproduce as quickly as possible to preserve the species for the future. It does happen at irregular intervals regardless of climate or environmental conditions though.

Here a few fun facts I found while thinking about what to write for this post:

  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds. It’s the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside.
  • Peanuts are not nuts! They are in fact legumes, related to beans and lentils.
  • It can take up to 50 years for an oak tree to produce its first acorn.
  • An estimated 100 billion bananas are consumed worldwide each year!

What fascinates you most of all about plants? And have you heard of this special day before? Maybe a botanical garden near you is marking this day in some way. Why not check and see. And if you know any unusual facts about plants, do share in the comments below! 😃

I will certainly be giving plants a bit more thought today while drinking my coffee, picking my radishes, or cooking some vegetable or other with herbs for dinner!

 

Have a great day and happy gardening!

22:22, 22/2/22

I just could not resist posting something at this time on this date, for posterity’s sake. 😉

A frozen hellebore bud…

It is still very windy here after all the storms that have gone over, but no damage done and milder days ahead. Hopefully that will mean more garden time and more blogging subject matter soon! 😃

Into the New Year

As I write it is still the last day of the year and we had some lovely warm sunshine today: 13°C!

So to ring out the old year here are a few pictures of my leisurely wander around the garden with Anouk this morning.

The blue sky and sunshine was a real treat…

This is the corner Anouk likes to inspect first every morning, as the hares come through the fence there…

Still a few rose hips left in the hedge…

And some morning mist across the meadow beyond our fence…

Anouk, checking for mice…

The buzzards often sit on the perches first thing to warm their wings in the sun… we put up several of these to encourage the birds of prey to help keep the mice population down.

The hellebores are in bud!

 

Can she smell Spring? (No, probably deer or hares!)

Wishing you all the very best for the new gardening year. Health, happiness and lots of flowers!

Happy New Year!

 

Happy Christmas!

Another old Christmas carol has been popping into my head the last few days  – ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’ – with the line ‘comfort and joy’ seeming just perfect for the kind of Christmas I would like this year. A few days of cosiness, with good food, music, and some relaxation. So I wish you all the same: Comfort, joy, a happy and peaceful Christmastime and all good wishes for the New Year!

🎄🎄🎄