Yesterday In The Garden ~ Kind Of Pink With Added Blue

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I love the way these Blue Lace Flowers have leaned in among the plumes of Hydrangea paniculata. It was not planned. In fact I did not know what to expect of the seedlings grown from the free packet of seed that came with a gardening magazine back in March. The water colour image on the packet verged on the surreaI and I was certain I had never seen anything like it in real life.

Didiscus caerulea also known as Trachymene coerulea  was apparently introduced to Britain from Western Australia in 1828 so I can’t excuse my ignorance of its existence by thinking it a ‘new’ plant. Anyway, it is well worth growing – a half hardy annual, delicately scented, good for cutting, long flowering and around two feet tall. The leaves turn a lovely shade of tangerine as they age.

An all round good-looker then, and although dead-heading encourages new flowers, I haven’t persuaded myself to do it so far. When the petals fall the flower turns into a star burst, which then curls up into a little fist of seeds. I’m wondering if it will sow itself, though imagine the seeds would not survive an English winter. But I might try collecting some and drying them for next spring’s sowing.

That the flowers also attract hoverflies is of course an added bonus.

 

In the Pink #3

Warning: Reptile Alert

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On several warm days last summer I found a slow worm sunbathing on our lawn. When I say ‘lawn’ I use the term loosely. There’s not much grass in it, only many buttercups, dandelions and even some dreaded ragwort.  Nor is this so-called worm a worm, or even a snake. And for that matter it is not slow. If it doesn’t like the look of you it can slither off at quite a pace. At other times it may pretend to be a bit of old rope, not very convincingly I might say.

Slow worms (Anguis fragilis) are in fact legless lizards, although this is possibly no comfort for those of you out there with a snake phobia. (Sorry, if you viewed this by accident).

That they are lizards is apparently proved by the fact they can blink their eyes and shed their tails when attacked. They grow up to half a metre in length, and may re-grow a shed tail, although it won’t be quite as long as it started out. Provided they are not caught by the local cats, who do not know they are dealing with a protected UK species, they live up to 20 years. They like old gardens and to burrow in compost heaps. And best of all, they eat slugs.

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Until the first Sunday in April, Jude is looking for examples of garden wildlife at The Earth Laughs In Flowers

And thank you Anna at http://unavistadisanfermo.wordpress.com for nominating me for the 7-day nature photo challenge. As I’d just done this post on slow worms, I thought I’d start with it. Anyone who wants to take up the challenge from me, please do. The actual M.O. is to nominate another blogger to take up the challenge on each of the 7 days you post a photo. But since every likely soul seems to have already been nabbed, I’m following Gilly’s lead and throwing it open. In fact I think I’ll just link back to Anna who got me into this – because she’s lovely and takes some great photos around Milan. Please do visit her.

#7-dayNaturePhotoChallenge

Autumn in my garden

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This little crab spider is for Ark at A Tale Unfolds. He regularly shares with us the fascinating wildlife in his Johannesburg garden. He’s rather keen on spiders. The one on my sedum (Misumena vatia)  is, if internet photos are anything to go by, capable of taking on a big, fat bumble bee. The bees here are being a tad regardless I feel, so keen are they to guzzle nectar.

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In fact sedums are bee heaven at this time of year, so everyone who can, do grow them. There’s a huge range to choose from. The bees are doubtless stoking up energy for the winter ahead. I also forgot to mention that the crab spider can, in a limited way, change colour to match the flowers it is hunting on, though it usually frequents yellow and white ones.

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In my September in my garden post I mentioned that the rose at the top of the steps, Teasing Georgia, had come into bud for a second flourish. At the time  the weather promised to be so dismal, I wondered if she’d get a chance to bloom without the flowers being rained off. Well, the sun came back and Georgia came out in all her golden flounces:

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And here’s another tiny spider, identity unknown, sneaking in the echinacea (centre right):

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And finally, a sun-dappled Japanese Anemone with a hover fly:

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I’m linking to this Cee’s flower of the day

Please visit her blog for a daily floral fix.