Welcome to my gardening blog

flowerpot for a pillow

I hope I can share a little of what I've learned - and there is so much more to learn. Let's learn to love dandelions! and all those wildflowers that are so helpful for bees.dandelion

If you want to share anything, please post at https://www.facebook.com/gardenwithoutdoors/.

Victor using a flowerpot for a pillow

 

I'm sharing these signs I made for free as I feel so strongly about saving bees (and the planet), message me on Facebook or email (julie@gardenwithoutdoors.org.uk) with your UK address and I'll send you one.

Rosettes - extremely large and extremely small

size extremes of rosettes, from a huge spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) to tiny storks-bill (Erodium cicutarium), shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) and green alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) (I think - not totally sure on that one)

spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) initial basal rosette, over 1.2 m so far

large spear thistle rosette cirsium vulgare

a very small rosette on the pavement

a close-up of that rosette, I think it's green alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) but I will keep an eye on it

storks-bill rosettes, the one on the right is tiny

storks-bill rosettes

the environment where some very rosettes are growing in the cracks, including shepherd's purse

that tiny shepherd's purse rosette from above, small but perfectly formed

shepherd's purse

another grey wet November day

It was a somewhat grey miserable day yesterday but I had to go to the post office and drop off a book so I was able to observe some plants and of course, I had to take some photos.

cat's-ear rosette

cats-ear

another cat's-ear

cat's-ear

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed

autumn hawkbit which has already bloomed

autumn hawkbit

hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue

bristly oxtongue

bristly oxtongue

winter heliotrope

winter heliotrope

left to right, hellebore, pulmonaria, winter heliotrope

the hellebore was just starting to bloom

hellebore

left to right, smooth sow thistle, horseweed, dandelion

the year of hoary mustard

I continue to see lots of hoary mustard (Hirschfeldia incana) - it is this year? or just a reflection of the places I walk to?

hoary mustard

hoary mustard initial basal rosette

hoary mustard initial basal rosette

hoary mustard inital basal rosette

on my favourite railway bridge I also continue to see hawkweed oxtongue rosettes

hawkweed oxtongue initial basal rosette

hawkweed oxtongue initial basal rosette

I also saw some red clover

red clover

red clover

I was surprised to see this buck's-horn plantain on the pavement - and in bud. 

close-up view

buck's-horn plantain

wider view of the entire plant

buck's-horn plantain

along the railway line

I love access to the railway line - a guaranteed isolated area for wild flowers to grow. The problem is so many of the railway lines in London are fenced off, walled off, inaccessible. This one area of the north London line where the Overground and freight trains run is at least visible through railings which allow my small camera to fit through so I can take photos and I don't see evidence of weedkiller along the tracks recently. 

plants along the railway line

And as a bonus the Post Office Tower is visible in the distance.

plants along the railway line

 

plants along the railway line

This is the year (or time of year) of hoary mustard (Hirschfeldia incana)! I have seen so much of it, especially along the railway line here.

hoary mustard along railway line

hoary mustard along railway line

hoary mustard in front of the railings and behind the railings to the right, hawkweed oxtongue to the left behind the railings, Post Office Tower in the distance

hoary mustard Post Office Tower in the background

this line runs underneath the line above, smooth sow thistle and hoary mustard

Oxford ragwort (Senecio squalidus), famous for spreading along the railway lines of Britain

Oxford ragwort along railway line

Oxford ragwort on the left, hoary mustard on the right

oxford ragwort along railway line

Oxford ragwort

Oxford ragwort

Oxford ragwort

Oxford ragwort

purple toadflax and hawkweed oxtongue

purple toadflax and hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue (Picris hieraciodes)

hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue

hawkweed oxtongue

a huge hawkweed oxtongue initial basal rosette

hawkweed oxtongue initial basal rosette

aster amellus, Michaelmas daisy in flower

Michaelmas daisy

aster amellus Michaelmas daisy in bud

aster amellus

toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

toadflax

more toadflax with a dandelion amongst it

toadflax

stinging nettle nearby with huge leaves

stinging nettle huge leaves

Rosettes Sept 2020

I saw a lot of rosettes yesterday, some before the flowers grew but some with flowers where the rosette was still there.

Shepherd's purse, quite variable. Sometimes there's no rosette at all when it blooms but this one has a full rosette and flowers in the centre.

shepherds purse

I saw a lot of hoary mustard, some just rosettes and some with flowers and rosettes and some with flowers but no rosette.

These hoary mustard have both the rosette and flowers.

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

these are just the rosettes

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard rosette

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hawkweed ox-tongue and hoary mustard without obvious basal rosettes

hoary mustard, hawkweed ox-tongue and buddleja along the railway line with the Post Office Tower in the background

I saw a few bristly ox-tongue, some flowers with bees. The leaves have those distinctive blisters.

bristly ox-tongue rosette

bristly ox-tongue rosette

bristly ox-tongue

bristly ox-tongue flowers with bee

bristly ox-tongue flower with bee

horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) rosette

horseweed erigeron canadensis

hawkweed ox-tongue (Picris hieracioides) rosette

hawkweed ox-tongue

hawkweed ox-tongues  with no visible rosette

hawkweed ox-tongue

hawkweed ox-tongue

Geranium molle rosettes

geranium molle rosette

geranium molle

Autumn hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis), rosette with flowers

autumn hawkbit

with all this surrounding growth, the rosette / leaves are not visible

autumn hawkbit with bee

autumn hawkbit

autumn hawkbit, to the right shepherd's purse and an autumn hawkbit rosette above that

autumn hawkbit Scorzoneroides autumnalis

late summer flowers

the recent rain has brought some new growth: the salvia sclarea var. turkestanica has some new flowers and buds, scabious in the background

salvia sclarea turkestanica

closer view of those buds, I don't know if there's time for them to open

salvia sclarea turkestanica

a hollyhock self-seeded in the pot with the melancholy thistle, I didn't want to disturb either so I left them both

hollyhock

the sage I grew from seed recently is doing ok but it won't bloom this year, random snapdragon in the pot and I see some verbena bonariensis which I see self-seeding a lot

sunflower in bloom - amazing as the first bud was eaten by slugs but the plant came back and produced a new one, bee enjoying it

sunflower with bee

nepeta cataria with bee

japanese anemone

leaf comparison: foxglove, borage, comfrey, green alkanet

It's a common problem to differentiate between foxglove, borage, comfrey and green alkanet before flowers appear. I have blogged about this before but I saw queries online recently and happened to notice I had all four in my garden yesterday so was inspired to take photos and blog again. This is a particular challenge if there are no flowers (all the flowers are quite distinct). 

I happen to have a green alkanet (bottom) below a comfrey (top) which makes comparison easier. This is my only comfrey and it's in bloom so ID is easy. Green alkanet is variable so further examples below.

comfrey and green alkanet comparison

closer view of the comfrey

comfrey

I do love green alkanet and at a certain point in the spring my back garden is covered with it so I have decided it is not necessary or possible to have it in pots (it would soon be in every pot!) as well so I have pulled this one out of a pot. The green alkanet leaves have a bristly feel unlike the soft foxglove leaves.

green alkanet

another example of green alkanet

green alkanet

more green alkanet

green alkanet

these are foxgloves which had self-seeded and I planted them in this flowerbed (behind is a bedraggled hollyhock leaf), the foxgloves are soft unlike the green alkanet which have a bristly feel

foxglove

another foxglove

foxglove

I happen to have a borage at the moment as well. They do come and go more quickly than the others. The initial borage leaves are more distinctive. This one is from an established plant in bloom.

borage

another borage leaf

borage

more borage

borage

July 2020

Forget-me-nots

I have forget-me-nots self-seeding in my garden every spring, in bloom generally March and April. I never knew exactly which type but looking now, seem to be wood forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica).

forget-me-not

they have distinctive leaves

forget-me-not

I was surprised to have this new plant self-seeding with different leaves but something about it said forget-me-not. It has finally bloomed and appears to be Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) which I've never actually seen before. No idea where it came from. 23-7-2020

chinese forget-me-not Cynoglossum amabile

a few days later, 26-7-2020, more buds have opened

chinese forget-me-not

this was it a few days previous before it bloomed, with quite different leaves from my usual forget-me-nots

chinese forget-me-not

As the season progresses, my lack of bees is becoming more pronounced. No bees so far on my globe thistles - usually a real bee magnet or my new monarda Cambridge Scarlet, which I haven't grown before but I understood it was attractive to bees.

monarda Cambridge Scarlet

just recently I'm seeing a lot of hoverflies, on the hollyhocks (also have seen bees on them)

hollyhocks with hoverfly

scabious

scabious with hoverflies

a bit overexposed but there is a hoverfly on one of the flowers

nemophila snowstorm

earlier in the month, bees on the centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

hoverfly on the centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

echium Blue Bedder with a bee

echium Blue Bedder

cornflower with bee

cornflower with bee

sea holly with bee

sea holly

sea holly with bee

sea holly with bee

June 2020

This has been a very difficult time with hot dry weather. It finally really rained this week but how long the effects of that last, not sure. The slugs are back wreaking havoc. The only positive thing about the drought was fewer slugs and snails.

The poppies have been amazing for the bees. "The" plant of this spring. in the background, sea holly, echiums vulgare and Blue Bedder which the bees are visiting but as long as there's a poppy in bloom (sadly they don't last long) that takes the bees' attention.

lauren's grape poppy with bees

the melancholy thistle is blooming and has had a few visits from bees but I guess I just don't have that many bees, sadly

melancholy thistle with bee

viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare) with bee, knautia macedonica and nepeta in the background

vipers bugloss echium vulgare with bee

the salvia sclarea var turkestanica is blooming but so far I have not seen a bee visiting, sadly

salvia sclarea var tukestanica

the nemophila is blooming, first flower of the Penny Black

nemophila Penny Black

Penny Black on the left, Five Spot on the right, the two are wildly different in their seed germination, each pot was one packet of seeds

nemophila

my first veronica flower of the season

veronica

viola

viola

centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

echium vulgare on the left and echium Blue Bedder on the right, Lauren's Grape poppy

echium vulgare and echium Blue Bedder

hollyhocks (teasel to the right, artichoke behind) sadly crawling with hollyhock weevil

hollyhocks

I loved seeding bees on the monkshood this week

monkshood with bee

a bee has climbed right inside a flower, bottom left

monkshood with bee

monkshood with bee

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