Friday, 15 January 2016

GBBD: From Monday to Friday

A quick, very chilly, lunchtime browse for plants in flower today was a serious contrast to Monday’s garden wander showing a Scabious bloom. How quickly the garden can change in just a few days at this time of year.

On the 15th of every month garden bloggers around the globe share images of what’s in flower in their gardens - joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens where links to blog posts can be found. It’s fun to see what we all have in common and to share the differences we have too. January blogs are especially interesting.

Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (GBBD) everyone :-) Here's my contribution from Perthshire, Scotland...


Monday’s out of season flowering Scabious trying to dodge the snow.


A couple of spider-like insects sheltering in the scabious bloom
(photo rotated to side view to show the insects more clearly).


Together with the odd snow covered, perennial wallflower Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve flowers, the Scabious flower above brings my GBBD count to a very generous two! I'm not too worried there as I enjoy the winter structure of my garden more than blooms at this time of year.

A little worryingly for the birds, garden berries are really struggling holding on just now. Water for drinking is also a problem with ponds and birdbaths frozen over. Fortunately for birds visiting my garden, a small spout of running water is available at my more sheltered, rock pool pond with ground bird feeders nearby.



Monday’s cotoneaster & Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' berries.
Wildlife Pond iced over (wind-blown bags below the ice… oops!)


The ‘Oops’ in the caption above refers to me not being a vigilant wildlife gardener in keeping wind-blown rubbish out of my pond – not good at all for any wildlife like the damselfly nymphs that I know will be living in my pond just now. I know this, after capturing video of them crawling along the water's edge during the summer. I also captured video of a mating pair of Large Red Damselfles laying eggs below lily pads and other plant material – very exciting that was!

Consistently heavy rain and winds prior to Christmas knocked my wildlife pond (not seen from any windows) out of my radar completely. When temps increase and the water thaws I should, fairly urgently, also remove the wind-blown leaves that are in the water as I spotted a small oil looking patch on the surface during my Monday browse indicating leaves are decomposing. This can’t be good for the wildlife either.

An even bigger garden ‘OOPS’ is required for the image below showing Gunnera flower spikes also taken today. On the positive… I forgot to add them to my GBBD count so that brings my flowering total to a more respectable three ;-) On the negative…


So... what’s wrong with this photo of January GBBD flowers?
Answer: You shouldn’t be seeing them!


To clarify this further, this Gunnera is not flowering out of season. These flowers are holding on from 2015 and they might well be the last seen from this plant (although I have thought this before and it has come back). Why do I say this?

After posting on more than a few occasions on how to protect a Gunnera plant for winter, I haven’t followed my own advice here, here and here. These flower blooms should be covered at their bases (with only the tips exposed) to protect the crown of this plant and that is how a Gunnera survives the cold and snow of winter. And here’s me thinking I was an attentive gardener in 2015 (hangs head slowly down to keyboard).

Okay, I’ll stop rambling on and let you get browsing on through the many GBBD posts and other blogs on gardening, birds and wildlife – there are a lot out there. Enjoy :-)


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in January 2016.

12 comments:

Lisa Greenbow said...

It is pouring rain here. My area just came out of below average temps with ice and snow. All gone now except in piled up places. All I have blooming are two orchids. This makes me happy.It is January after all.
Your poor gunnera. Maybe it will survive despite your inattentiveness. :)

Brian Skeys said...

I think we should enjoy the plants of the season in their season to keep each time spiecial.
Wildlife make an important contribution to enjoying the garden.

Sue Garrett said...

It looks rather chilly thereabouts. Our bird bath was frozen this morning.

Dorothy Borders said...

Very interesting post. Love your photos.

SeagullSuzie said...

Lovely to see the garden differently Shirl. Maybe I should join in on this 15th Jan garden watch as here is warmer and sheltered Torbay, I might have a few surprises (although it is 0 degrees this morning!

Pauline said...

I hope your Gunnera survives the snow. I lost mine years ago, even when I put the leaves over the top, I lifted the leaves and found a frog looking at me, so quickly put them back.
It certainly looks a lot colder with you than with us, keep warm and stay safe!

Shirley said...

Hello again to you all, thanks for popping by. I expect you are in shock that my posts are still coming – no, I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution to blog more often ;-)

Lisa, what fun, our gardens are in reverse order since Monday. Ah, from memory your blooming orchids are quite special :-) Yes, that poor Gunnera. I’d best get out and get some hay today. From my gardenwatching window I can see the leaves of my small yak rhododendrons looking miserable so it was very cold last night. I’ve just popped outside to see the Gunnera flower spikes and they are bent over now – that will make them easier to cover with a dome this time (filled with hay) . Fingers crossed.

Brian, I agree completely, but on the other side I like surprises. I couldn’t agree more also on how garden wildlife can transform our enjoyment of our gardens. Blogging for over 9yrs has properly opened my eyes there :-)

Sue, it was and it was even chillier last night so my wildlife pond will stay frozen too. There will be many frozen birdbaths in UK gardens this morning I suspect – I wonder how many UK gardens have birdbaths.

Dorothy, thank-you, I really enjoyed seeing your colourful blooms yesterday :-)

Suzie, how quickly gardens can change can’t they. What a great idea for you to join in with GBBD - especially having inherited a new garden and not knowing what will turn up. It would be great record for you also. It could be a good selling point for people thinking about moving to Torbay if your temps don’t get as low as the average UK ones just now :-)

Pauline, So do I, although in reality it’s the cold night temps that will finish it off (it got considerable colder last night). Sorry to hear you lost your Gunnera, good to know a frog found shelter with it. I was really surprised to see the insects in my Scabious flower. If only they had popped over the fence to where my Gunnera is and they’d find a log style insect house there :-)

Anna said...

Well it's quality not quantity that counts Shirl :) Brrrrrr - it's looking seriously cold in your garden Shirl. We had a cracking frost this morning but no 'real' snow as yet.

VP said...

Brrrr, that looks most chilly and much more like how a January garden should be than we have here in the softy south!

Here's to a wonderful 2016 to you and yours :)

Vicki Green said...

Amazing to find a few blooms even with the snow - what a delight! I'm intereted in the birds as well, so enjoyed the photos of your feathered friends on your blog.

The Wessex Reiver said...

Scabious blooms and ice? its a sign of the times :-)

Shirley said...

Hello again to you all, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments :-)
It’s January 26th as I catch-up here and the weather is way warmer now with rain instead of snow.


Anna, Not had too many cracking frosts here this winter. February is the month to watch here.

VP, well, quite a different picture now – a wet soggy garden. Thanks, best wishes to you too :-)

Vicki, it was. Although in saying that my garden is pretty lean on flowers compared to many other Scottish gardens and others in the UK. Thanks, although a plantswoman at heart I keep getting caught up in watching what the birds are up to in my garden. Pre blog my garden had a completely different focus :-)

Andrew, yep… not early bloomers either… they just haven’t stopped flowering!