Saturday, 28 July 2012

Pretty and Productive 1 - Pretty

A well-balanced garden will contain a good mix of these two elements. I will be the first to admit that my garden normally tends towards the productive rather than the pretty, but even I can muster a few good-looking plants, so I have put together a little collection of photos to demonstrate this.

My first subject is a Ladybird Poppy, one of several such plants given to me by my good friend Rosemary. The black-on-red markings of these flowers give them the edge over the more common plain red ones, in my opinion.

Ladybird Poppy

Like many other plants, my "Autumn-flowering" Cherry tree is thoroughly confused by this year's stange weather, and has decided to start flowering now, a good 4 months before it is supposed to do so.

Prunus Autumnalis "Surbhitella" - flowering in July!

At least the Greek Oregano knows what to do.

Greek Oregano

The Hypericum flowers have mostly finished now, and have gone on to produce some beautiful pale pink berries. They look almost good enough to eat.

Hypericum berries

The Bronze Fennel flowers are fully open now. The plants are covered in a mass of bright lemon-yellow blooms. I would normally expect them to be buzzing with hoverflies, but I still haven't seen many of those insects around.

Bronze Fennel

The Buddleia has produced some long gracefully arching stems, each one tipped with a 12-inch array of vibrant purple flowers. The individual "flowerlets" open successively over a period of 2 or 3 days, starting at the end closest to the plant's main stem and working down towards the tip. This would make a great subject for time-lapse photography.

Flower-head of Buddleia Davidii "Royal Red", partially open

Whilst of course more on the Productive side than the Pretty one, the cocktail cucumber plants do contribute a bit on the ornamental side as well. Individually small, the flowers are nevertheless very striking in close-up (and of course they have the added bonus of leading towards edible delights later on).

Cucumer "Iznik"

I'm calling on the Fauna as well as the Flora too...  This Shield Bug knows a thing or two about camouflage.

Shield Bug

The Ladybird in this photo looks as if it has a voracious appetitie for plastic, but I know that the cane-topper was damaged before she ever appeared!

Here's a variation on the theme:


Tomorrow I will tell a similar story with the edible plants.


  1. I've never seen a cane topper. I've seen people put their pots upside down on canes. I've never liked that. I tried to find them on the internet. They don't sell the inexpensive ones in the US as far as I can tell. Too bad.

  2. It's amazing just how many varieties of ladybird there are. I smiled when you called the first one she!

  3. Lovely photographs Mark. I try to have flowers scattered through my plot, it makes it easy on the eye aswell as attracting beneficial bugs.

  4. I've started to become much more intereted in growing flowers about the place too. I love that ladybird poppy.

  5. Ladybirds are a favourite of mine - and most everyone else, I imagine! Wonderful photos.

    Those cane-toppers are a great idea. I'm very wary of stakes and canes after hearing about someone doing irreparable damage to her eye, bending over in the garden. It sends a shudder down my spine, still. I sometimes use old gardening gloves on thin stakes - they look quirky!

  6. Love the insect photography! For cane toppers her I use the hideously visable rebar toppers. They are very inexpensive, they do the job, and are easy to see!

  7. The Veggie Man doing flowers? - Awesome! Great pics!

  8. It's just a shame that poppies don't last longer - I haven't seen any ladybirds around yet.

  9. Love the ladybird poppy, must grow some next year again. Hope that your buddleia invites lots of butterflies this year, ours is just starting to flower too.

  10. Hi Mark,

    Love the Ladybird Poppy-very striking-must try and find some seeds for that! My lovely Californian orange poppies have failed to put in an appearance this year so I am bereft of poppies this year!


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