Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gone bananas

There are lambs...
And there are bananas...
But, there are also lambananas.

Conceived as part of the Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008, there are 125 lambananas. And seeing as it is now 1/3 of the way through 2009, this post is rather behind the times. We had encountered one in Ness Gardens last July...the superstegbanana.

But when we were there last time, just under a month ago, we discovered superstegbanana now had a friend, cwtched up* in the conservatory along with some Wollemi pines.

Meet Green Lamb

Aren't they great?
Most have been auctioned now, and can be seen in a variety of places in the north west.
Did you see any superlambananas last year?
There is a complete photocatalogue of the different lambananas on this website.

For those unlucky enough ever to have come across the wonderful word 'cwtch', read this link. It's a lovely word, and one I remember fondly from my childhood :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cow Mumble

This post was brought about by a post of Karen's from An Artist's Garden. Her post is called 'GBBD in an alternative universe' and shows some of the beauty of what we call weeds in our carefully tended gardens (or not so carefully tended, in my case). Her photo of cow parsley reminded me that a colleague I used to work with in Suffolk always referred to cow parsley as Cow Mumble. He assured me that it was commonly called that where he came from and not just a random name that he alone used.

Thanks to Karen's memory jog and the power of the internet, I discover that he wasn't having me on. This website dedicated to umbellifers (or apiaceae as we now have to call them) lists some of the local names for cow parsley. And lo - cow mumble appears! And it's been in use since 1822 or perhaps even earlier.

I've been searching on the internet to see if there is a website which has collated lots of local names for wild flowers, but haven't been able to find anything. Do you know of any great websites? Alternatively, what local names do you have for wild flowers?

According to this web site, now I live in Cheshire, I should be calling cow parsley Devil's Parsley. I prefer cow mumble.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lilac time again

I waxed lyrical about the magical properties of the scent of lilac at almost exactly the same time last year. This evening I caught the first scent of the year and my stomach had butterflies of delight again. Bliss.

No sign of the dreaded blight yet this year. Fingers crossed...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Right flower in the right place

Pernicious perennial weed?

Well, yes, perhaps it is.
But if you're stuck in a traffic jam at the M5/M6 junction*, it's a little ray of sunshine and a link with nature

(*Note: this photo was taken in the garden** - the Inelegant Gardener does not condone wandering around on the central reservations of motorways to take photos of dandelions).

(**Oops - I've just admitted to having a weedy garden).

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Tulips are appearing all over the blogosphere (see VP and James' posts, for example). Having come back to the garden after a week away, these jewelled bowls are glowing in the April sun here, too.

Most people have heard of tulip mania. I wouldn't go as far as saying I had an obsession but tulips appeal to the child in me. I do like the sophisticated, elegant lily-shaped flowers but to be truthful, I have an equal love of the pillar box red and sunshine yellow flowers of the municipal plantings. I even love them as their silken petals are shucked to the ground as they go over.

My tulips get no special treatment. They don't get dug up and stored after the leaves have withered. And some seem to have changed colour since planting - probably due to viruses, which means I should dig them up and dispose of them. Perhaps next year...

Friday, April 10, 2009

GBBD April - a little early

A little early as I shall be away on the 15th of the month, the date that Carol hosts GBBD. There is so much going on at the moment. Every day, a new flower bursts out and new shoots spring from the ground.

April is a time of bright whites in the shady border.
Erythronium 'White Beauty' (Dog's Tooth Violet)

Dicentra spectabilis Alba (Bleeding heart)

Fritillaria meleagris (Snakes Head Fritillary - white form, without lily beetle)

Also in flower (spreading over the front garden) is the forget-me-not. For a lot of the year I grumble at its habit of spreading, and looking untidy after flowering. But now - so sweet.

Joe Swift has said that green is 'in' in the garden this year. It's not often I'm fashionable!

Gunnera manicata

Polygonatum x hybridum (Solomon's Seal - before the sawfly get to it)

But best of all, April is brash and blousy - bring it on!

Don't forget...

...that lily beetles are also quite keen on fritillaries.
Unlike last year, however, SomeBeans despatched the creature with alacrity.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Hot or not?

So, Gardener's World arrives at its new home (as described by Arabella Sock). Mud, bespoke greenhouses, and what appeared to be a large well in front of the greenhouse (is that where they keep Monty, or were they trying to bag themselves a leopard?). They also vandalised a perfectly useable new shed in order to make interesting TV.

But, it seems to have morphed into horticultural Top Gear. Competitive tree planting between Toby and Joe, and, heaven help us, a 'Cool Wall'. What next - the Stig racing sit-on mowers around the lawns of Greenacres?

Actually, I seem to be coming across as a bit of a curmudgeon, as I did enjoy it. The return to a bare field site gives lots of opportunities. And Toby is much more of my type of gardener than the be-corded one was. But just because a format change made Top Gear very successful doesn't mean that it should be used on every type of programme. Who knows - we may be seeing Aled Jones and Pam Rhodes becoming ever more resourceful in introducing ways to blow up caravans on Songs of Praise.