FLUTTERING AROUND… SALLY’S CHOICE

FLUTTERING AROUND… SALLY’S CHOICE

While walking around the garden today in the warm sunshine, I was totally taken aback with the incredible amount of insect life that has flocked to the profusion of garden flowers that are out at present. What really caught my eye was the beautiful Peacock Butterfly on one of the Verbena bonariensis. Her vibrant colours glistening in the sunshine and she did not even mind if I got up close to take a photo as she was too busy sucking the sweet nectar.

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Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Unassuming, low-growing and evergreen but I can only describe this plant as enchanting. Cocooned in its spiders’ webs, it looks like a magic carpet of ancient, neglected rosettes. The plant that time forgot in Ms Havisham’s glasshouse. Now it has produced a delicate pink flower, bringing a dash of colour that seems to say “Don’t be fooled, I’m still growing” and living up to its name which means “always alive”.

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From the Canaries to Fota

From the Canaries to Fota

Gabriella’s choice….Aeonium arboreum

In the first week of February I was travelling in the hilly northern part of Gran Canaria. There I saw a huge number of big plants with yellow flowers growing in the wild. It dawned on me that this was a plant I’d seen previously in the glasshouses in Fota. It was the Aeonium Arboreum, which had been presented to Fota’s Frameyard by Mrs Reiker.

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Local (gardening) Heroes

Local (gardening) Heroes

Sally’s choice…. William Baylor Hartland and Árd Cairn Russet apple trees 

I spent a very informative morning in the Fota Frameyard at a Pruning Workshop last week with the very knowledgeable Ian.  After which we all went into the Orchard to assist him in pruning the old Fota apple trees back into a manageable shape.   I went home inspired and determined to see if I couldn’t reinvigorate my own apple trees, one of which is an ‘Árd Cairn Russet’

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Strawberry Trees Forever…

Strawberry Trees Forever…

Arbutus unedo – Edwina’s choice...

Many of the beds and borders in the Fota Frameyard are planted in alphabetical order with plants beginning with ‘A’ grouped together, followed by those beginning with ‘B’ etc.  The majority of the plants in our Frameyard come from warmer climes and far off places, with the exception of a few natives – Arbutus unedo being one of them.

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Gabriella’s Choice -The Sweet Pea

Gabriella’s Choice -The Sweet Pea

Lots of Sweet Pea are grown in Fota every year. When the Frameyard is open to the public, some volunteers collect their flowers and make beautiful bunches of them. They don’t last long, as they are among the first items to be bought by our visitors. The scent reminds me of my Granny’s garden. It has the power to bring me right back to my early childhood.

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Edwina’s choice – Morina Longifolia – Himalayan whorlflower

Edwina’s choice – Morina Longifolia – Himalayan whorlflower

On first glance you might be forgiven for thinking this plant is a weed, especially without its flower, as it does resemble a thistle.  But this plant has so much more to offer and has an intriguing story.

Morina longifolia (Himalayan whorlflower) is quite the elegant plant and comes from the Himalayas.  It originates from an altitude of about 3000m in an area from Kashmir to Bhutan.  The genus Morina is named in honour of a French nurseryman, René Morin who issued the first printed French plant catalogue in 1621.

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