Monday 26 September 2011

Not the usual plant thefts

Wind stole the Elderberries this month

Gales stole Clematis Miss Bateman in late Spring

Powdery Mildew stole the Geranium Phaeum

And I stole this single rose, from the bushes near the dentist, 2 yrs ago, but the memory of the scent lives on.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Hawthorn Shield Bug

Hawthorn Shield Bug nymph - Acanthosoma Haemorrhoidale, about 5mm

Look at the Panda faced little fellow I founf in the garden this month. It's a mid instar nymph of a Hawthorn Shield Bug. There are very few Hawthorn berries around but they clearly like the Pyracantha too and get the goodness out of them with what I call their 'doober' a little sucking tube, which may or may not be similar to the proboscis of other insects. I know with butterflies they can curl theirs up whereas the shield bugs tend to tuck theirs under their body when they are not using it. I don't know what they eat the rest of he year but they are vegetarian.

Hawthorn Shield Bug hiding out in the Pyracantha berries

Hawthorn Shield Bug mid instar nymph

The distinctive red of this fellow is already beginning to take on some hints of green, which can be more clearly seen on the photo below from a week earlier. I didn't even realise it was there till I checked my berry photo's and spotted it. When I went out a week later he/she was still on the same clump of berries, posing for the shots above (too windy for good focus).

The webstite British Bugs is great for Identifying theses sorts of critters and shows photos and illustrations of them at all difference life cycle stages. I'd seen the much larger adults before but I'd never seen the tiny and variously coloured young. I'm very happy to have a garden they like since they are becoming rarer in Scotland. Below is an adult one I spotted in April and which I tend to see around the garden from time to time. I had no idea about all the variations they go through before adulthood.

Adult Hawthorn Shield Bug - about 15mm long

I'll be watching out for the wee thing over the coming weeks to see if I can photograph it as it turns green and grows bigger, though perhaps it will move elsewhere to blend in.

Another first was spotting a 5th instar nymph of a Parent Bug beside my Sweet Peas, I managed to get it onto a broken terracotta pot for some photo's before returning him to the foliage to hide.

5th instar nymph of a Parent Bug - Elasmucha Grisea

It's hard to believe but the wind here still hasn't stopped, I'd hoped the tail end of Hurricane Katia would mark the start of a calm period but I was very much mistaken. Last week continuing gales trashed my coldframe and lots of the propagated plants inside. They represented months of time and love and were going to make a huge difference to the new bit of my garden next Spring, and for filling out gaps left by winter casualties.

I've saved what I could but it was a very sorry mess, and now I have nowhere to house the 100's of plants that need winter protection. Time to cobble together something that can handle wind, rain, pest invasion and possible heavy snow (and on that note the men still haven't replaced the garage roof that collapsed in the snow in December).

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Scabious 'Black Cat'

Scabiosa 'Chat Noir' (Scabious 'Black Cat') logged here on Folia.

These were slow to develop from seeds sown earlier this year but are now opening up. I expected the dark ones, it's all in the name, but there are actually more which have the brighter colouring. The two colours look great together

The closed bud stage lasted about 2 months for them to open up. Last week the larger ones began to open one or two tiny flowers around the edges and this week those same ones are fully open. There are still lots in the early bud stage so I think there will be flowers into October. This year they are mainly growing up through the dark Sweet Pea mix but I'd love to try them in amongst golden or lime green foliage.

The two colours that came up, bright and dark.

Saturday 17 September 2011

John & Fish - Stunning Bird Photography

White Eared Sibia: Photography by John & Fish

White-eared Sibia: Photography by John & Fish

Japanese White-eye: Photography by John & Fish

Formosan Yuhina: Photography by John & Fish

Incredible Birds photo's by John & Fish. I'm totally taken with the photography of this brother and sister team in Taiwan, John is the Photographer and Fish assists. All the photo's are from their Flickr site which I could look at all day long. They have the sort of vibrant colour that I love in print designs, but rarely see in real life bird and plant shots that aren't tropical rainforest based. And they have such wonderful names too. I've always wanted to visit Taiwan for the beautiful landscapes, but I had no idea that they had such wonderful small birds. Somebody get me a suitcase, but until then, Thank You John & Fish for sharing your amazing photographs. Get details of where they are exhibiting here.

Here's what they say about themselves on their Flickr profile page.

Hi, we are John&Fish, John (勇士丸) is elder brother (artist), Fish (小魚) is young sister (assistant), we came from Tainan - a ancient capital of Taiwan, and now we are working and living in Taipei city. We like bird photography very much, almost spent every weekend (since 2005~now) went around the island to capture their beautiful shapes, for those we have to thank our motherland-Taiwan for giving such beautiful creatures to us.

As someone from a Country known for it's less colourful birds, often referred to as LBJ's (Little Brown Jobs) I'm reluctant to look out at the bird feeder today lest the Sparrows sense my disappointment at their lack of sartorial pizzazz. On seeing the next shot I said "Ooh, look at these two" but when I showed Mr.P he only had one thing to say... "Jedward".

Taiwan Yuhina
The Taiwan Yuhina (Yuhina brunneiceps), formerly known as "Formosan Yuhina", is a small songbird endemic to the island of Taiwan.

Jedward (Photo by Getty Images Via The Telegraph)
Jedward (Juvenis Dementis), formerly known as "John and Edward", are twin singers endemic to Ireland.

Playing at dressing up - Summer into Autumn

Another spot of pretend shopping from August, inspired by the change from Summer to Autumn. It was before the reds started to show on the leaves and is more about those lovely pale but vivid Summer skies we see here in Scotland on many August evenings. The light still speaks of Summer but there is a noticeable drop in the temperatures as the sun sets and you know Autumn is around the corner and you'll need to start looking out warmer clothes. Most of my warm clothes are Black, Teal, Grey or Red but I love the idea of some Mustard/Yellows that so perfectly link the late summer Rudbeckias and Heleniums that are then overtaken but the yellow leaves of many of the trees.

Items shown in the composition are: 1. Wool blend coat by Pink Martini 2. Look From London Laugh On Tights 3. El Naturalista Shoes - Spring-Summer 2010 4. L'annello in titiano realizzato da Michela Nosè. Photo: Fondazione Politecnico di Milano 5. Techno PULL & BEAR pvc - 6. Green Butterfly photo from 7. Cally Creates: a drawing from The 4 Day Sketchbook, 1991 8. Illustration from source that had no credit (if you know the name please leave a comment) 9. Yellena James - Gallery

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Terada Mokei - Architectural Model Series

Terada Mokei- 1/100 Architectural Model Series No.11 Cherry Blossom

When I was a kid I couldn't afford furniture for my dolls house so I made my own from paper, especially graph paper from old school jotters. For a few years I was obsessed with designing paper flat pack house contents and folding and slotting them together into bits of furniture. I'd colour them with felt tips, and add details cut from magazines to give them some style, like furniture facades, lamps, kitchenwear etc. from my Mum's old Habitat catalogues (RIP) and cut out clothes from magazines for the wardrobe, though that then eveolved into making little clothes from fabric scraps. It was fun, and I loved having a chance to create fantasy homes, landscapes and wardrobes where anything goes, slides, swings, secret compartments, mountains, spaceships,undersea themes. Clearly that it was the beginning of a lifelong passion for creating them in real, full scale life for living with or for themed parties.

The Architectural model series by Designer, Architect and Modeller Naoki Terada would have totally enthralled me. The scale is far smaller than a dolls house, but all the more captivating because of it. He was tired of late nights making the tiny paper models that were needed to bring alive his Architectural models and decided to mass produce them so that he could get a bit more sleep, and also share the pleasure of working (playing) with the paper models themselves. As a kid I'd have spent hours making them outfits, though for people with less creative urges (or time) there are Dress-Up Stickers to add to your tiny models.

Here are a few of the many models you can buy as kits to self assemble from Terada Mokei.
Photography by Kenji Masunaga.

Terada Mokei- 1/100 Architectural Model Series No.12 Construction Site

No.6 New York and No.8 Christmas

Paper Tweezers from the 1/100 Architectural Model Accessories Series.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Rudbeckia 'Rustic Dwarf'

Annual Rudbeckia - flowering for a second year

Damn slugs completely demolished several perennials this year* including Helenium and Eupatorium, but these Rudbeckia 'Rustic Dwarf' have almost made up for the loss with their late summer colour. I have a few perennial Rudbeckia but these ones were sold as Half Hardy Annual seeds so I was most surprised to see them growing with great gusto in this their 2nd year (having not been very impressive last year).

Not only are the much more floriferous with the flowers sporting several colours, every one of them like an autumn roast dinner, but they also grew to twice the height, about 2ft instead of 1ft and have the happy habit of being ignored by the slugs. I'm hoping they'll return every year, but to be sure of more I'll sow what remains of the seed packet. Even in areas where I only put a few (to test where they'd be happy) the individual flowers that have arisen have been so varied that they give lots of delight. This and my perennial Rudbeckia plants are all tracked here.

* we couldn't do the usual protective measures because the constant rain made the clay soil/grass inaccessible for most of the year.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Jung Jung's Knitted Vegetables

Intricate and detailed Cloch Lace knitted vegetables by Jung Jung.

Finally a good use for old drained batteries - power an Energy Seed Lamp.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Time to buy tulips

Tulips amid Brunnera at Inwood Garden in Spring

For Liz, me in an actual skirt beside Lathyrus vernus at Inwood Garden

Yes, it's the time of year when many of us are excitedly thinking about Spring, even though Autumn hasn't kicked in. It's bulb t buying time. For most Spring bulbs we can buy and plant now, but with Tulips they prefer it if we wait until October at the earliest before popping them in , so there is time to ponder what will work. The examples above are from Inwood Garden, just South of Edinburgh in April this year.

I've never seen quite such an amazing display of Tulips in a garden, there were 1000's, some grouped in pots near the entrance, others planted in borders. Many were very artfully coordinated with the trees and shrubs that were coming into leaf which doubled their beauty. I was actually a bit speechless, which is very unusual. Unfortunately the sun was so bright most of my photo's were hard to make out. The ones above were in teh shade but all the others were in full sun.

Tulips toned perfectly with Hosta at Inwood Garden.

Tulips in the borders at Inwood Garden

It was during that amazing 2 weeks of hot, dry gloriously sunny April weather, before the month of gales, when we joked that maybe that was going to be Summer over. Turns out it was fairly true. I'm glad I made myself go out that day and enjoy other people's gardens (also went to Shepherd house, another gorgeous local garden). My own display was much more humble, but brought us equal joy and over a surprisingly long period, eben through all the bad weather. It was pure luck that the Tulips matched the Honesty so well.

Tulip Atilla (purple) and Shirley (cream, but develops purple edges over time)

The Honesty flowered until July, it just kept getting bushier and taller.

Lovely with the Honesty & Tulips was Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve', still flowering now!

I found a rough guide to which tulips showing which varieties flower when, at what height and rating their ability to naturalize. See the original information here. Here's a mini version:


early Mar-April

8-14" (20-35cm)



mid Mar-April

8-10" (20-25cm)




6-10" (15-25cm)



some in March

8 - 14" (20-35cm)


Single Early

late Mar-Early Apr

10-18" (25-46cm)


Double Early

early-mid April

12" (30cm)



mid Apr-Early May

20" (30cm)

Above Average

Darwin Hybrid

mid April - May

18-24" (46-60cm)


Single Late

late April - May

18-30" (46-75cm)

Above Average

Parrot Tulips


20-26" (50-65cm)




18-30" (46-75cm)


Double Late

late May

18-24" (45-60cm)



mostly May

18-30" (46-75cm) usually



Depends on variety

Depends on variety


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