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Elizabeth and Malcolm's Bluetit Pages
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My Garden aspirations
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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:51 pm    Post subject: Answers to your three pictures, then the last one! Reply with quote

Dear Geraldine,
The first picture in the messages are as follows!
! You are right it is one of the cornus group, generally known as witch hazel, generally sweetly scented, mine has yet to flower, but it on its way!
2, That one is of the honeysuckle varieties, this one is Lonicaera Purpussii, winter honeysuckle, the one I have in the back garden and facing North has already flowered, but the one in the South facing part has yet to flower.
3 Most definately is Daphne Odora Auriomarginata, I really miss the one I had as its scent makes the most disamal day seem sunny! Lucky you to inherit such a great display of winter flowers with the most delightful araoma!
4 The last flowering delight is definately Iris Reticulata, and these are reliable flowers in the harshest winter, especially if you have free draining soil! The seeds from these are frequently spread by black ants, the same applies to various forms of crocus, if the plant succeeds in setting seed then the black ants seem to carry them off as some sort of extra special prize! Hence the appearance from nowhere a little plant of the corm set to suddenly appear!
Well done Geraldine, I am getting pretty green with envy here! Mr. Green You very lucky lady, I wish you more delightful surprises as the year continues! Kiss I look forward to having more plants to identify from your secret hideaway!
I'm not jealous, just wish I had your luck! XX

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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS, the Iris reticulata can also be bought in shades of yellow too! I have several colours but they are none too keen on my soil, perhaps it's too dry! I planted them in with the snowdrops, cyclamen, cowslips, primroses daffodils and pulmonaria, and elephant ears, they dont seem too happy either, possibly as last summer was so extremely dry?
My helebores are already covered in buds, the 'Queen of the night' may be enormous this year as it has become so well spread, I may well have to divide it this year, but I have several claimants after a bit as it is such a deep Blood Red, and very expensive to buy from the plant catalogues! I also have a green one and a beautiful rose coloured one, they look stunning around Easter time.
I was rather naughty the last week, I went and bought a load of wild flower seeds so I can grow them in the borders where normally cultivars grow, I don't see any reason not to mix them up though, after all a weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place!

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badgerwatcher



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Kent

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nina,
Thanks for your help.
I'm excited to think I can sew the seeds from the irises, as there are heaps of them.
I know I'm so lucky to have got a garden that has been owned by such a knowledgeable gardner. There are flowers everywhere. It is inspiring me to do more.
The other day, James and I have bought some trees! And some other plants. We got an olive, a witch-hazel (Jelena), a victoria plum, a sweet cherry, a willow, some geraniums, a pyracantha with yellow berries, two wysteria (one white, one mauve), a gaillardia, a mahonia, an abutilon, a sarcococca and some hellebores( a purple and two white).
I also sent for some seeds, including teasel. I wanted to try to get lots of things that are active at this time of year, to encourage wildlife.
I will let you know what else we discover as it happens!
I also need more nest boxes. We have put up lots, and the birds are paying them much attention. A bluetit today has been doing woodpecker impressions on the one just by my window, a few feet away from where I'm sitting. What is he doing? He just taps rapidly.

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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Geraldine, seems like you have a real mountain of work to get on with, but I would like to advise you that the pyracantha having yellow berries is not normally so popular with the birds, around here the yellow berries are still on in the late spring, the red berries have all been eaten. It may be that is your intention of making sure there is something for a late spring!
Wisteria, I love them, I have a white, Mauve and a Pink one of them, and in the mauve one I have grown the evergreen clematis, that smells like and looks like appleblossom, I will have to go outside to read the label though, (as I can't rememeber the name)
Your Gaillardia geranium and Abutilon are none too hardy, so be ready to protect them from any late frosts, or you will lose them.
Words of warning over willow, be careful of having foundations close to these as these are the serious foundation destroyers, their root systems are on average two and a half times their crown width! So take heed of their spread, and allow twice more the root area, so as to avoid the common problems.
You have a wise Bluetit, may I suggest a metal plate surrounding the entrance hole as Greater Spotted Woodpeckers are reknowned for stripping bluetits from their nest boxes by pecking a larger hole into the wood? My next door neighbour put metal surrounds on all his boxes last year as half his breeding Bluetits were raided the previous year. I have also noted he has now encased the whole of the boxes with a metal coat, as he didn't lose one last year, but noticed the GSW attempting to lift the lid on one of his boxes, he has built a clasp with a padlock on them to enable him to clean them out after use!
Sounds like you are about to have a busy time, I fell stupid as I have finally found the seeds I wanted to plant last autumn, for my winter sweet peas, that are grown in cold greenhouses! Just a bit late now! OH RATS!
ANyway, you take care not to over do it! Catch you later, and don't forget to let me know if you have any problems!
XX Nina

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Strixaluco



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 5464
Location: Mayford, Sy

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a metal plate round the entrance hole of our bluetit box - but it didn't stop a great spotted woodpecker leaning in to take 3 of the 5 chicks. It was not a particularly big hole either - just the right size for bluetits.
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badgerwatcher



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Kent

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nina and Elizabeth,
I hadn't realised that baby blue tits were at risk from great spotted woodpeckers in this way. We do have a few GSW's, which are very bold and close around the house all day, in the ash tree at the front and in the silver birch in the back garden. I hope they don't cause problems. Can you buy metal plates for the boxes? James drilled it slightly larger according to Elizabeth's advise.
I got the pyracantha with yellow berries because I had been told that the birds left them until last, and we have profusions of red berries as well as lots of ivy berries. I assume they are just as nourishing for them?
I have got the Abutilon and geraniums inside at the moment, and the Abutilon is flowering, red. The gaillardia is in the porch, as is the mahonia and still flowering while I decide on a suitable site for them.
I think I may keep the abutilon in the sun room, along with the olive. We have orchids in the front windows of the house that are producing new flower spikes at the moment, so I feel they will be ok there.
The willow is a graft, so I think it will not grow very big, but I will make sure that it is confined in some way, thanks for the tip. I made the same mistake with a bay tree a few years ago!
Thanks for your help.

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badgerwatcher



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Kent

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two plants coming into flower in my garden, which I can't identify, and wonder if anyone can help me with. The first, dark green leaves, spreading over large areas, with little hanging white bells, looks a bit like a tiny comfrey! Leaves about bantom egg sized.
The second is a bare twigged woody shrub/tree, that has just started producing pink flower buds. I am hoping it might be another flowering Cornus or dogwood, but as I have only just discovered these, know nothing about their habits.
I'll try to post the two pics.




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Unknown, like very small comfrey?
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bare twigged shrub
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or faraway.
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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Geraldine,
I have been trawling through my RHS botanical book, now the first one looks very like Pulmonaria, this variety may well be Sissinghurst White, it has the same shaped flowers, and as far as I can judge the leaves are not unlike the ordinary pulmonaria I have that has no spots on its leaves. I am looking at the picture shown in the encyclopedia, but they are shown looking into the trumpets, not side on, but I would imagine they do look like the ordinary pulmonaria so look similar to Comfrey, but with the weather as it is currently then it could even be a late flowering autumn plant!
The pink flowers on the bare stem are very Wygelia looking, the stems seem to look like the old wood where the leaves have been cold wind seared so have srivelled up from an icy blast. I too have the pink variety but I also have several different foliaged ones, this one could have either plain green leaves or even variagated ones. I know they are early flowers and could get hit at any time with the chilly winds or cold snap that may come any day now, if you can give it some protection they may open. I have had one wygelia flower last autumn and still is budded well for spring, but it is north facing so will wait until it feels right to flower again.
I took my Mum around the garden today and was absolutely amazed at the ammount of flowers actually showing, There are five camellias with different colours varying through the pinks, some with stripes on their petals, two Fatsias covered in their ivy like blossom, Helebores in several shades, the 'Queen of the Night' is a veritable mountain of flowering spikes preparing to open before Easter!, the snowdrops and crocuses are looking wonderful all over the place, I have noticed even some of the later Daffodills (the big blousy affairs) are up around eight inches high, the Viburnum Burkwoodii has some flowers open and perfuming the air, but loads of buds waiting to shout out their beauty. My Iris reticulata has produced the deep purple flowers, but the yellow ones have not shown at all. Mahonia Japonica has finished flowering now, but the evergreen clematis is rather over crowding the blue Wisteria, this one is called Apple Blossom, and when it opens the sweet scent is there as you step in or out of the front door! Heavenly!
The Kerria Japonica is starting to flower so the front of the house will soon be delightful, I also noticed the new growth on all the roses, oooeerr! They could very well get slammed! There are plenty of my heathers looking varying shades of pink/purples plus one of the tree heathers is starting to give off its own delcate perfume, georgeous!
Down the very bottom of the garden is the winter aconites, the first time I have ever got them to flower!! but also with them is one lone anemone blanda in blue! I will have to try and get the weeding done down there as the bulbs are starting to appear, the Scilla Peruviana has lush growth and this year I hope to see them flower as they have been shaded too long, so the flowers failed, but now they are in their favourite habitat so with luck I should have a wonderful display. I am amazed at the length of flowering my Anemone De Caen has been doing, I still have several buds for cutting, and I have been fairly well supplied most of the winter, well at least two a week, but then I don't have many bulbs planted.
My husband has manged to get some wood from our neighbour for the Barn type of building I want put up at the bottom of the garden, these are roofing joists so perfect for what we need, so he is still planning to get that done. That is the hardest part, his working nights means he is always so tired, as sleep in the daytime is not very easy, each motorbike, heavy lorry and the various trees getting treatment means he isn't allowed much peace, and the doorbell getting rung or telephone ringing is such a trial for him. He has to see the Medical department as they have to lose three more members of staff, so they are trying to medically retire him, so whatever happens I just hope it's for the best for him. We tend to be fatalistic as the powers that be are intent on fixing what doesn't need mending! Seems 50 /55 is the age they no longer want staff these days.
Oh well, Summer will be here soon enough, maybe we will get to enjoy some of it this year?
Geraldine I will try and answer your queries as soon as I can, I do hope that I have given you the names for the lates pictures, I reckon you have really inherited a cracking place to live! I was able to actually see the drumming woodpecker today, his echo tree is one covered in ivy, so it has a wonderful resonance, last year hubby managed to fool it by tapping the copy rapping on the gate, that bird came really close to investigate the imposter!
Happy birding and gardening to you all!

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badgerwatcher



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Kent

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, you could be right about the Pulmonaria, Nina! The flowers are similar to lungwort, and the plants about the same size, but very spreading. Leaves are unspotted, but if there are other varieties, then I think that must be it. I will try to find pictures. (I found a picture of Sissinghurst white, but it suggested spotty leaves, but it looked very like.) Thank you.
I hope the other one is Wygelia, which I love. Nothing is happening to it yet, but the weather is fairly mild, although fairly heavy morning frosts.
I'm seeing lots of Lonicera in flower all over the country, and Cornus mas. I'm delighted to have them both. I've also spotted a pretty shrub with powder-pink berries which I must get, and Camelias everywhere, which unfortunately wouldn't grow in this soil. And I must get Vibernums!
And Kerria Japonica! That's what I've been seeing, and no idea what it was called. I've always called it Batchelor's Buttons. Fantastic! Now I can get some.
I've got lovely drifts of pink and white heathers, but didn't know you could get tree heathers. I'll investigate those.
I've just bought scillas and grape hyacynths, as well as multicoloured primulas in flower.
Anemones de Caen, another for the shopping list. And Aconites?
Thank you so much, Nina, for all your help, and ideas.
I hope your course is going well, and that your husband's job situation resolves itself happily.
We have just come back from a trip to Slimbridge, which was wonderful.
And we bought more bird houses, roosting pockets, and huge niger and seed feeders, as we can't keep up at the moment.
Best wishes to you, Nina.

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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:31 pm    Post subject: I am just checking if there is a problem. Reply with quote

I have written two posts to this thread today, but been unable to get them posted, first time I blamed my telephone line, then it still wouldn't post, I wondered if it is the forum having problems? I will see if this posts!
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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Dear all, finally BT have given me a better connection! Reply with quote

I found out that it was most definately BT playing around with my telecommunications that gave me such grief! Not BBF thank goodness! I got cut off so many times I gave up until I could get a decent connection! Today it is now up to 1824 mbps, crikey, that is the best I have ever had!
Mind you, I will have to write less and post more, then I hope not to get the same troubles!

Geraldine, my dear, if you are able to grow heathers, rhododendrons, azaleas, then you can definately grow camelias! I know they are acid lovers, and if you are losing your acidity, how about giving them a pot of cold tea every day during summer, the stronger the better, it replaces the acid naturally!

I promise to write a piece on how to develop your soils for whichever type of soil you use, one for alkaline and one for acid, but that will be next time, so those who are interested get your bins ready, unless you only want one type of soil!

My camelias are looking very good I am waiting for the yellow one to open then I will take some photos and put them on here, but it is a bit tricky, I have to put the pictures into the laptop, then edit them then burn them onto CD before I can put them on this PC to post, I am fast running out of time. I have to be up at 5.00am tomorrow to get packed up with my stuff, collect my friend, get her stuff packed up and all into my car for the BIG DAY! I open the stall at 08.30 sharp, so I really hope to be busy all five hours of the market being open. Wish me luck!
Nina

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badgerwatcher



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Kent

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nina,
Just got back from working in Newbury, so too late to wish you good luck with your stall I do hope you have a good day. It is gloriously sunny here now, and has been all across the bit of the country I've seen today.
Thanks for the tip about cold tea, I'll do it with my witch hazel, as I'm slightly worried that the soil here won't suit it. I will look forward to your soil info.
I didn't know there were yellow camelias. I must go and look it up. It would be fun to grow the one that produces tea. Does anyone know if it can be grown in this country? Lovely to grow one's own tea and coffee. And lemons for the gin and tonic! Wink
I haven't got rhododendrons and azalias here, but would dearly love them, especially the big wild mauve rhododendron.

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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: The disaster stall! Reply with quote

My first attempt to seel was rather dismal, 1.50 and the cost was 8, I'm not very likely to get fat on that?LOL! Oh well I will give it a month, if nothing doing well at least I have given it my best shot!
I am going to try and post some of the pictures I managed to take the other day, so here goes!
If this works the picture should be of the front border, with fatsia, and New Zealand Flax, with camelias in the background.




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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well as that worked, I can now start to show what is looking good right now! Like the camelias I have got helebores, my favourite one being Queen of the Night



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Nina



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 193
Location: Wimborne Dorset

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now for the prarie border, with crocus peeping through with the heathers, these did look really lovely when I took the picture.



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