The Garden Blog

Adapts shoots and leaves: the cactus.

The spines of a tall cactus.Cacti are interesting plants and a bit strange; some look like they could hoik themselves out of the ground and lumber around with spiny arms flailing, and others like they’ve just landed, and a door will slowly hiss open unleashing a thousand tiny aliens. They used to be something we only saw in Western movies, an indication of an arid landscape, usually accompanied by a lone rider with chapped lips shielding eyes from the sun.  There’s been a resurgence in recent times, a lot of care and love is being heaped on these fascinating and unusual plants in houses around the country.  It’s about time they received the attention they deserve; they’re one of the plant world’s many success stories, settling comfortably in the harshest environments with ingenious adaptations. (more…)

Toxic beauty

Daffodils on a sunny bank.The daffodil is symbolic to many of us; an innocent sign that winter and spring are side by side before walking away from each other taking the past and the future with them. The nodding yellow flowers of Narcissus can be bathed in sunshine or covered in snow, or, as I write this, blown horizontal by storm Eunice. It will weather all of this, experiencing everything that this time of year throws at it until it fades while other flowers form. Playing the role of seasonal buffer to perfection, the Narcissus must be able to withstand hungry bulb grubbers as well as the weather; it has become the icon it is through its attractiveness and its defences. (more…)

Birds of the Botanic Garden

Long tailed tit taking off from a branch; its wings are open and its looking directly at the camera.
Long tailed tit.

As long as there have been gardens there have been birds in gardens; as gardeners we’re continuing the long relationship that will ever end. There may be some ups and downs, pigeons pecking seedlings or fruit bushes stripped; but on the whole gardeners and garden birds have a bond that goes deep. Here’s how I see some of the birds that visit the Botanic Garden. (more…)