Sunday, 13 December 2009

Last flowers standing

This morning the perennial wallflower Bowles’ Mauve was standing up to the cold carpet covering my garden overnight. I went out with my camera to get photos of it as I have no idea how this plant will do over the coming winter months. However, it looks like it could beat penstemon ‘etna’ to be the last flower standing for this year!

Bought in flower back in April this wallflower still appears to be pushing up new flower buds even now.

However, as I don’t know if they will open I have avoided cutting back the almost past flowers which would give the new ones a chance to open. I have thoroughly enjoyed this plant in my garden. What an addition it has been. I'm only sorry I ran out of time and didn't take any cuttings from it.


Knautia ‘Mars Midget’ can be seen in the centre of the top row in the montage below between the wallflower and penstemon. I’ll also be watching how this plant does with the cold too. It has had a very late second flush of flowers but its stems were bent forward with the cold unlike the penstemon and wallflower. I guess it will take third place in the last flowers standing. I wonder if it will be around on the 15th.


Back inside in the warmth, I sat breakfasting at my window watching the birds. They too were eating. As you’d expect on a cold day, the feeders were very busy. My garden had a hurried buzz about it.

The baubles decorating my pine tree don’t appear to be bothering the birds at all as they enjoy the peanuts in the feeder also hanging on it. I’ve peanuts in seed feeders too and I’m guessing that’s why the numbers of blue tits have increased recently.

Starlings are also starting to appear in increasing numbers. Their visits don’t last long but they cause quite a bit of commotion all the same. You can see how small the blue tit is compared to the starling in the middle row above. If you click on this image it will enlarge.

Blackbird numbers are also increasing again and on a few occasions this morning they gave an alarm call and all the birds scattered into my hedge. Although, the one above decided to stay where he was under a shrub instead.

Winter scenes just aren’t complete without a robin and today this little chap above was chasing all the other smaller birds (except the blue tits) around. Now, this is the time of year I’ll start looking out for Blackcaps spending the winter up here. If any males do arrive that robin and all the other smaller birds will have a new bossy boots in the garden to deal with!

It's minus 3C here just now so I suspect my last flowers standing will have a hard night ahead of them. Brrr… keep warm!


All photos above were taken in my garden on December 13th 2009.

19 comments:

Liz said...

Brrrr, sounds very cold for you Shirl!

We had a wonderful frost on Friday morning... Just wish I wasn't at work to enjoy it!

The wallflower is definitely a winner! I'm not usually a fan as I don't like the colours but this one is perfet for me! :D

shirl said...

Hi again Liz,spookily I was just heading over to leave a comment on your stunning tree shots!

Yes indeed (Brrrr), I think we’ve dropped another degree since too. The car is in a sheltered spot close to my garage and has minus 2C now. If it drives away from this spot it goes down another 2-3 deg. Brrrrrr

I agree the frost is wonderful to see and for you with your camera too! I also agree that that wallflower is a winner… it just has to face the hardiness test next :-o It was the colour of flower and the blue/green foliage that drew me to it :-D

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Shirl! I used to have a wallflower, and it was a great addition to my perennial garden. It survived a couple of winters, but then just said good bye. It had another name on the label: Russian wallflower. I checked the Russian internet and found only a yellow variety. So, could be a purple one a hybrid? What do you think?

Randy Emmitt said...

Shirl,
Glad something is still thriving in that cold! I had the same temps here on Saturday and the pond had ice on it. The pansies were droopy and I could not bear to look at my camellias. I'm sure I lost some buds but the flowers should persist.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

A beautiful montage. I don't have one flower blooming now. Much too cold. Stay warm.

patientgardener said...

Hi
My perennial wallflowers flowered all winter last year here in Worcestershire. They are quite short lived perennials so worth taking cuttings from and they do get quite leggy so need cutting back from time to time

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

Interesting to see that some of your plants are still doing so well in the freezing weather. We have some winter-flowering Jasmine's out at the moment, although it hasn't got that cold where we are!

Nice bird photos, especially the Blackbird one. The birds here are also feeding frantically at the moment, and its been great to see so much action.

leavesnbloom said...

Hi Shirl

You've got Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' there in the garden - mine had buds and a few flowers last week - not sure after this weekend's frost if they are still there. Its touch and go whether you'll get it back again - I have to replace a few of mine each year - 2 did not make it last year but I still have 3 that have made it through 2 winters. Best not to cut it back until Spring time.

I was out taking photos on Sunday and must have been standing so still that I had a robin perched on my hat!

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I do like that wallflower - I took cuttings from a friends, so fingers crossed for next year!

One of the things I enjoy about this time of year is the birds in the garden - they really bring the place to life with their chatter.
K

shirl said...

Hi Tatyana it’s a pity you lost your wallflowers. I am expecting this wallflower may time out too and will take cuttings next year if it survives the winter. If it doesn’t survive, I will definitely replace it :-D

Erysimum Bowles' Mauve is the full name on my plant label. I did a quick Google search and some plant sites do describe it as a hybrid. I do love it. Perhaps you might get seed where you are?

shirl said...

Hi Randy, yep, me too and is brilliant that this plant is right beside my front doorstep too so I enjoy it every time I go out and in :-D

Oh… I sympathise completely over your camellia buds. I hope some survived. I wonder if you still have a cold snap. Our temps went from hard frost on cars at around midnight to very little in the next morning. That was a surprise. It’s been cool but not frosty since but it’s set to change again tomorrow. Guess this morning is a quick tidy up and planting one :-D

shirl said...

Lisa Thank-you, I was a bit disappointed with the quality on this montage when I uploaded it. It looked much nicer on my screen before. The starling shot in particular was a good one.

Our cold left us over night. We have had no frost since but it is due back very soon. Happy GBBD for yesterday. Oops, I forgot all about it :-o

shirl said...

Helen, brilliant! I wonder if this one will keep going. Perhaps it’s time to brave some deadheading :-o

Yep, cuttings are a plan for next year. I have seen many leggy wallflowers in gardens. I’ll bear in mind cutting back in the future. For the moment this looks like it might have a fairly tight habit. I’ll keep my eye on it. Thanks :-D

shirl said...

Hi Joe, there really are just a few but all the more special to see :-)

Enjoy your jasmine, my last garden had one. They are very pretty little flowers. I suspect it will be okay with the cold. It got warmer again here. Jack Frost and winter is set to come back very soon. I see many parts of England are getting it cold today.

Thanks, I enjoyed watching that Blackbird sitting quietly there. It was nice to think when all the other birds scattered it felt safe under my plant. Enjoy watching your birds. Mine are a bit frantic today too… the feeders are all almost completely empty. I need to get out a refill them very soon.

shirl said...

Hi Leavsnbloom, yep that’s the one. I usually refer to it as Erysimum but thought I’d just use the common name this time.

Aw… I was thinking after Helen’s comment it could possibly survive although she is in Worcestershire and it’s likely to be much warmer with her.

For the moment it is still going strong. I have two large plastic bell jars that I could put over two of my three plants when it gets cold next. Although, they may damage the flowers. It will definitely be a test this winter and I would replace them if I lost them. I am guessing your location is North of me and therefore it is likely that you will get slightly colder temps.

Thanks for the tips. LOL… oh I wish someone got a photo of your hat!

shirl said...

Hi Karen, (cringe) yep I remember you said you were doing that and I said I planned to do it too… but I forgot about it :-( Guessing it’s way too late now. Mm… perhaps I cold dig up some roots :-)

I agree completely about the birds at this time of year. The garden really does come alive as the plants die off.

I’m just about to go out into the garden (after I post this) to cut back some plants that I might have left for a naturalist style. I’d like to get better views of the birds on the ground from my window view here. They are also affecting the frantic flight path of many birds to the branches of small trees, shrubs and on to the feeders. Pruners at the ready… it isn’t going to be pretty! The view after will be though :-D

leavesnbloom said...

Oh Shirl you're right about wishing to have had a photo of that moment - it would have been great - first thing I did when I got into the house was check that I did not have any little "deposits" on the hat!!

I think the wallflower would survive in Worchestershire and yes my garden could be alot colder than yours - it gets down to -9 at times - we'll know in the spring as we compare when our bulbs appear! my mums bulbs appear 6 weeks earlier than mine and the same with her camelia.

shirl said...

Hi again Leavsnbloom, LOL… yes I did wonder if you’d have a different kind of Christmas present there. Yes, I agree it will be interesting to compare our bulbs.

BTW we had a Robin hanging about my pine tree with baubles today. I got a sweet little video that I’ve just added to my latest posting :-D

Virgnia said...

Glad to see a spot of oolor in the garden--the only thing in my garden at the moment is dirt, dirt, dirt and some leaves that escaped my rake (and my compost pile!).