Six on Saturday – 27/7/19

Good afternoon. I’m afraid I’ve been absent, even by my own infrequent standards, from the Six on Saturday throng for a month or so, but my absenteeism is due to an honest lack of time rather than lack of intent. Despite most of this week’s weather inducing a superlative laden series of headlines from the media, and a variety of imaginative expletives from the population at large, today is wet.

  1. Here’s a photo of a Canna Lily appreciating some well-earned rainfall:

Most of this post’s photos are from earlier in the week, but here’s another one I took today, hunched over at the end of the garden with my coat pulled up over my head and camera; a Quasimodo-esque figure to catch the eye of any neighbours who happened to be looking out of the window at that point.

2. The photo in question is of Adlumia fungosa:

It’s a climbing biennial, and a close relative of Corydalis and Dicentra: if I had taken the picture from a better angle, you’d be able to see the similarity of the flowers to those of Dicentras.

3. Next up is a picture of some ants and aphids. It proved rather difficult to get an in focus picture of these creatures, so here is my best effort:

You may or may not be aware that ants ‘farm’ aphids: shepherding (aphiding?) them to the best spots, defending them against predators and stroking them with their antennae for reasons that evade me. A rather fine specimen of Sollya heterophylla ‘Pink Charmer’ we have growing on the patio, has a fair number of aphids and ants on it and I find them too fascinating to get rid of. The plant itself is a free-flowering climber. Originating in Australia, as it does, I wasn’t sure whether it would be hardy or not but it came through last winter well enough, albeit in a sheltered position.

4. 5. and 6. Here’s a few photos of the Morning Glory I have growing up the whitewashed wall of next door’s outhouse. Firstly, an unopened flower on one of those rather warm, balmy evenings we’ve been having. Secondly, the following morning, when the flower has opened up. Finally, I left my spade and fork standing in the border, about a foot and a half away from the wall. Two days later, they’ve been acquisition by the Morning Glory and I’m not sure to what end. I’m hoping it’s just an innocent mistake on the behalf of the plant rather than the start of some sort of phyto-dictatorship. Only time will tell.

Do pop over to The Propagator to have a look at some other Six on Saturday posts. See you soon.

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A blast from the past IV and V

Some of you will be pleased to hear that we’ve come to the end of this little series of posts. Some of you may also be pleased to hear that this post is a double bill. I suspect those two groups of people will not overlap.

IV: Street Art/Graffiti/Vandalism

V: Best of the rest

A spot of cow parsley
Salford Circus
Coltsfoot growing in the verge by the towpath; some of the flowers are unopened, some have already gone to seed.

Well that’s all for now. This one’s a bit brief because, quite frankly, it’s very warm in here and I’d prefer to move to a slightly cooler room! Cheerio!

A blast from the past III

Good evening, today’s theme is Old Friends. This may be a little obscure for some of you, so many apologies. I’ll try to explain.

To begin, here’s an update on how Adrian the Alcoholic Ash is doing:

He seems to be doing as well as he ever was. The following links should give you a look into his backstory, and a way to begin to understand this complicated and troubled individual:

https://botanyinbirmingham.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/and-other-attractions/

https://botanyinbirmingham.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/botany-in-birmingham-continues-to-return/

To continue in the same vein:

This is a spot of municipal planting in Salford Circus. The trees are just starting to come into leaf but still manage to put the lack into lacklustre. Again this is a throwback to my Botany in Birmingham days, when my spare time was spent pursuing situations pretty much exactly like those pictured above.

Finally, a quick look to see how Felix the Magnolia is doing:

He’s doing badly. In fact he is no more. Sad times indeed.

Sorry to leave it on such a sad note. I’ll try and be a bit more uplifting next time.

A blast from the past II

As promised, here’s some more photos. Since yesterday, we’ve had a clown appointed as Prime Minister, and it’s gone from quite warm to quite boiling hot. With this in mind, I’ve chosen the calming and refreshing theme of water.

First up, a double bill of reservoirs:

On the left is Brookvale Park Lake, to the right Aston (or Salford) Reservoir. Both were built to provide the the people of the rapidly expanding city of Birmingham with drinking water in the 19th century. Aston Reservoir is now used mainly for fishing, and Brookvale Park Lake is now a thing to run round. Both are rather pleasant.

Next up: I came across this intriguing sign at Salford Junction (The convergence of three canals underneath Spaghetti Junction. The original Spaghetti Junction, if you will.):

This is a warning to all narrow boat owners that they’re moving to fast. They need to slow down, take in the sights and appreciate life more. Flippin’ hooligans.

Finally, here’s a heron having a little snack from what may be water, or may be filth.

Watch out for the empty (presumably) gas bottle, needles and unwanted Jimmy Savile memorabilia, my feathered friend!

Stay cool to tepid, dear readers; pop by again tomorrow for more photos of concrete, weeds and other such novelties.

A blast from the past

Those of you who follow this blog may remember that I had a little trip down to Spaghetti Junction on Easter Monday, and that I had intended to write a post or posts relating to this trip, but that it was spiralling into a gargantuan essay on the human condition. Well I’ve put my thesis on hold and I’ve decided to just put a few photos up over the next few days, ideally with a loose theme connecting the photos.

Today’s theme is…

Idiosyncratic individuals, or, doing one’s own thing.

First up is this chap:

‘Nuff said.

Next up: whilst there are many interesting characters to be found loitering here and there, beneath the cloistered pillars of the M6, by far the most intimidating individual I have come across to date is this Angry Goose:

He (or, indeed, she) doesn’t look all that angry here, but my pounding heart and be-sweated hands spoke to the contrary.

Finally, here’s a cowslip: the M6 in the background; the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal sitting stagnantly to the side; the litter-strewn towpath on t’other side and our cheerful friend just soaking up some early morning rays in the middle.

That’s some pretty mindful stuff. See you tomorrow.

Solstice Special

Happy Summer Solstice. Well here’s a couple of things that you may consider worth your attention. Or not, of course, I wouldn’t want to dictate your thoughts and feelings on the matter.

I took these pictures a while ago, so I thought I may as well use them:

I think I mentioned a while back that most of last year’s seedlings refused to show themselves, but that a number of seedlings had cropped up here and there in the garden. While I was sowing this years seeds I dug up a few of the those seedlings so they don’t get lost in the future:

Finally, here’s a few pictures relating to Kind Hearts and Coronets (the film)

https://www.theguardian.com/film/gallery/2019/jun/06/kind-hearts-and-coronets-on-the-set-of-the-brilliant-ealing-comedy-in-pictures

Over and out.

Six on Saturday 15/6/19

How d’you do. I hope this post finds you well, and basking in sunshine, although I think there’s a fair chance it’ll find you under grey skies and a little soggy around the edges. It’s been a little while, so this Six on Saturday has a few photos from the over the past month or so.

  1. The Pulsatilla that featured in the last Six on Saturday post seemed quite popular, so here’s a more recent photo; the seedheads are just as decorative as the flowers, in my humble and often misguided opinion.

2. Have you noticed how mail order catalogues often have photos of new varieties of plants, alliums and hydrangeas in particular, with a small dutch child next to them, as if to say “Look, it’s bigger than this kid’s head!”? Well here’s the best I could do:

Unfortunately I didn’t catch them in full flower, but here’s one of them from a few weeks back:

I can’t remember the variety, but I suspect it’s ‘Purple Sensation’. The purple shrub in background of the first photo is Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’, in case you were curious – another good do-er. Also, it should be noted that my apprentice was busy ‘boinging’ the alliums – quite an advanced horticultural technique.

3. Next up, these funny little chaps:

This is Silene uniflora ‘Alba’. I presume ‘Alba’ refers to the calyx (the bit between the petals and the stem in the photo, technically the collective name for the sepals ) as the flowers are white in the species anyway.

4. A very soggy looking bee on some thyme. I think we all know how he feels.

5. Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis). This one put itself there, but I reckon it can stay for as long as it likes.

6. Corydalis flexuosa ‘Tory MP’. This is a photo from back in May, it’s now in full flower but I quite like the picture, so this is what you’ve got!

That’s me done for today. Do pop over to The Propagator to see what he and various other plant obsessed people are up to. I have various photos and other little blog-appropriate trinkets that will perhaps make their way here over the coming week so I’ll hopefully see you soon.