Ficaria verna, commonly known as lesser celandine, is a low-growing, hairless perennial flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae native to Europe and west Asia.
Scientific name: Ranunculus ficaria
Higher classification: Buttercup
It is the time of the year when the Celandine shows itself above the ground, It has such a brief flowering period and appears from almost nowhere, many people seem to consider the Celandine as a weed and deal with it as a weed. This is a shame as although brief it will completely disappear when they have finished flowering. So to go to all the trouble of removing it seems to be a real shame as the flowers bring a welcome colour to the garden early in the season. The Celandine will grow almost anywhere and once the flowering has finished it will completely disappear and leave no evidence of its existence, even the foliage will go before the spring has finished.
As you can see above and below the Celandine will grow anywhere, although it prefers damp conditions and is the first flower of the season, with the distinctive leaves it is easy to spot. The roots are tuber like and can be dug up and moved once the foliage has finished.
Fabulous lesser celandine facts
Also known as pilewort, as it was used to treat haemorrhoids
The Celts called it Grian (sun) as its petals close up before rain
Its leaves are high in vitamin C and were used to prevent scurvy
The poet Wordsworth was so fond of lesser celandine flowers that he had them carved on his tomb
Found throughout Europe and West Asia, it is now introduced into North America
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, celandine comes from the Latin chelidonia, meaning swallow - it was said that the flowers bloomed when the swallows returned
A patch of lesser Celandines which have over the last week or so just appeared as if out of nowhere, the first flowers beginning to show themselves. Even the RHS calls it a weed which is a shame as I love to see the yellow flowers on a bleak day. Although I can understand those that love their lawns could be quite unhappy about it being in the lawn. Due to the roots being tubers it will be quite hard to eradicate. The reason for this is as you dig the plant out the tubers can be broken and this helps spread the plant rather than remove it. The tubers are quite shallow, so the only solution really is to remove all other plants from the area, remove the soil down to a depth that you are satisfied with that all the tubers have been removed. Once this is done the soil can be replaced and the plants, replanted and hopefully all the tubers have been removed.
The sight of the blossom on the trees is surely the most beautiful mass events of the year. Most famous is the Pink Cherry blossom's that emerge and show that spring is upon us and nothing will stop it. Not even snow and cold. Blossom is the term to describe the flowers on stone fruit trees, Cherry and peach generally, also orange, almond and apple can be counted too, the later are however white. When the wind blows across the trees hundreds of petals are blown off and give us a shower of pink or white petals all around.
These trees provide a rich supply of food for bees and many other insects so if you are going to have a tree in your garden, choose one of these and every year you will be richly rewarded with a bloom of colour even though short lived, that is vibrant and beautiful and of great help to insects.
A Plum tree in full flower from April 2015
Eucomis, a wonderful and beautiful looking bulb plant that flowers late Summer until early Autumn. They have an exotic looking Pineapple like flower heads and multiple leaves bunched under the flower. Ecomis have the misconception of being difficult to grow and propagate. Maybe this is due to the bulbs being quite expensive to buy from the shops and garden center's. However they are very simple to propagate and grow on quite successfully.
As you can see from above the small plants have grown in abundance from the few seeds I took last year from the flower head. Sown just below the surface of a fine seed compost and left for several weeks, the small plants started to appear after about 3-4 weeks and then potted onto bigger pots. They are quite easy to separate and have good root growth. Of course you can take cuttings and grow plants from the leaves. But why bother, its not easy to do and is not as sure as using the seeds.
In the pictures above the full tray of small plants potted on and to the right the size of a fully grown Ecomis. The bulbs should be normally planted to a depth of 15cm in the ground as they can be damaged by frost. Keep them watered during the growing season and at the end of the season the flower heads fade and will just pull away easily once ready to be removed. So in reality a very easy and low maintenance plant to grow, what are you waiting for go out and get one now.
Polyanthus an member of the Primula family of plants, some of which you may have seen growing in the wild, The Cowslip is the one you have normally seen in the hedgerows and fields. usually one of the first bright flowers to appear in the garden in the spring along with Pansy and viola. Generally planted in the autumn and will safely overwinter just fine. Very hardy from the cold and frost although they can be very tasty to slugs and snails.
Polyanthus come in all colours, unfortunately I just have white and yellow at the moment so forgive the repetition. The blue and red are still in bud so were not in flower at the time of shooting the pictures.
Polyanthus are pretty easy to look after, after flowering you can remove the heads and they will flower again later on, if your a little tardy and forget to remove the heads they will seed, Polyanthus can be quite prolific and one plant will become several. At the end of the season you just need to remove the dead leaves and clear up for the next year. So if you want easy colour early on in the year that needs very little attention then Polyanthus is for you.
There is no standard definition for a toadstool, and no clear distinction between toadstools and mushrooms. Both terms refer to the fruiting bodies produced by fungi. Most of these fungi are harmless or even beneficial to plants, but there are a few that can cause disease problems, such as honey fungus and the fairy ring fungi. Honey fungus below.
Description source http://www.rhs.org.uk/
Most fungi in the garden will cause no major problems, in fact they will help break down dead plant material and be perfectly safe to your garden plants. Some will also form in great clumps and will look quite pretty in the clumps around the garden. They always grow in places that you least expect them too. As in the pictures below growing through the base of a plant pot. A little tip when planting, always use fresh compost for your small plants so you do not spread fungus into them. I was being lazy at this point when I was moving some plants and scooped some soil from the garden into a pot. Luckily this will not cause any damage to the plant in the pot. But be warned about doing this.
It seems that most places we go to in the countryside we will see evidence of fungus. It is natures way of reclaiming and breaking down dead plant matter. They are nature's recycling machine. Without them we would be always tripping over huge deposits of plant and animal matter. So fungus are very important in the grand scheme of things. So the next time you want to rid yourself of them, just think about it first. Honey fungus is not good, but the majority of others are just fine.
Hiding in the plants usually is where to find them, at the base of the plant, shrub or tree. They are beautiful creations and are just simply amazing in the way they grow.
many people are tempted to pick and eat. Please unless you are with someone who knows what they are doing then do not even attempt to pick wild mushrooms. They can kill. Also some perfectly harmless looking mushrooms can look nice and edible, but with a name like Death Cap or Destroying Angel, perhaps they are best left alone. Some poisonous mushrooms can look just like normal harmless ones. So please, I say again only eat if you know what you are doing.
Removal or control of fungi. Well currently there is no known chemical treatment to eradicate fungi. If you have problems and would like to have fungi identified here is advice from the Royal Horticulture Society or follow the link here for advice on attempting to remove fungus.
Scientific name: Agapanthus
Higher classification: Liliaceae
Lower classifications: Agapanthus inapertus, Agapanthus africanus
Agapanthus, a beautiful large strappy leaved plant that has gorgeous long flower spikes that bloom into lovely balls of colour. All mine are in pots as it gets a little cold here and I need to protect them from the frost. In the south of the UK they can be planted in the ground if they are protected over the winter months. I put mine into the greenhouse and the two larger ones into a covered area. Once planted they need very little looking after apart from occasionally the removal of a dead leaf or two. If they are in pots they prefer to be snug but not over cramped and will flower much better. Frost damage or fungus will prevent them from flowering. If affected by fungus it is easier to replace rather than treat. There are evergreen versions too as well as plants that will loose their foliage. The evergreen tend to be more prone to frost damage and will need protecting. Either cover the base with straw and the use of a fleece to protect the plant leaves.
Very popular with Bees which is important for pollination. Agapanthus need to be in full sun to fully benefit from the beautiful flower blooms. Generally in Blue and White. Propagate by division is the easiest way to get more plants, Divide early in the season but don't divide too much as this will inhibit flowering. Large clumps should only be divided every few years.
Apapanthus is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy the pictures that are here. Thank you for taking the time to read and i hope that it is helpful. If you have any questions then feel free to ask.
Scientific name: Aster
Higher classification: Astereae
Lower classifications: Aster tripolium, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium,Aster alpinus, Aster amellus, Aster tataricus, Aster quitensis, Aster tongolensis, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum
Aster's are a beautiful easy to grow summer bedding plant. With so many different types to choose from and so easy to grow from seed the choice of which one's to grow is difficult. I always try to choose a few different varieties and mix them up so I get a good even spread of plants from the seeds. Basically I will open 3-4 packets of seeds and mix them up. Sow them into a few different trays and when pricking out again just keep them mixed. This way i can have a good mix in the borders and pots around the garden. Always remember to harden off your young plants before bringing them outside to minimize damage from the cold early in the season. Also remember to protect the young plants from slugs and snails as they seem to be a little tasty to the pesky critters.
Although Aster's can take a while to flower and the Pom Pom varieties can be a little top heavy, as seen in the pictures above they are beautiful and make a very effective display throughout the summer. You can also use them for cut flowers. As the stems are growing up cut the side shoots off. This will encourage the main flower to grow providing a long stem. It will however restrict the amount of flowers the plant will have.
Always remember to remove the dead heads throughout the season to keep the flowers coming, You should be able to get a good few months of continuous flowering from Aster's. At the end of the season remove the plants and prepare the ground or empty the pots for preparation for the winter months. Aster's are not hardy so should be removed before the cold weather closes in.
Hesperantha, also know as Schizostylis. It seems to very complicated about which one is which as they seem to be 2 different plants that look remarkably similar. Well the argument rages between the people who seems to know, but to me I take the enjoyment of whatever it is that I have in the garden.
Easy to grow and hardy throughout the winter months, A late bloomer in the season so are now in full bloom. I have Pink and Red at the moment at they are beautiful at this time of the year when everything else is dying off and finishing. The flower stems can grow quite long so may need some help to stay upright.
Propagating is simple as there are many smaller plants at the base that can be split off the main plant and potted on. These if cared for will flower themselves the next year, as you can see below the leaves can flop over and can use a little help if the wind pushes them over. I use a half loop as you can see in the picture below, if you look closely you can also see the smaller plants ready to be split off.
So in summary, a beautiful easy to grow plant that will provide Autumn colour when everything else is dying off. Easy to propagate and is very low maintenance. TRhe perfect plant for the garden really, one which I highly recommend.
Please do not pay over the odds for these plants, I have seen them in garden centers for £12-£25 and there is no need to pay these prices. For a large sized plant should not cost you more that £8 and you can always split babies off the bottom and get many plants for your £8
Scientific name: Urtica
Higher classification: Urticaceae
Lower classifications: Urtica urens, Stinging nettle
The box standard Stinging Nettle, Considered by most to be a weed. Although I do not have them in my garden I would if I had enough room for them as they are attractive to all Insects and Butterflies. If you want to see the prettier butterflies in you garden such as the tortoiseshell and Peacock, then these are the plants for you. Also good if you don't want the neighbours cat coming into the garden as they will not go near them due to the powerful stings the nettles have. Nettles can engulf a section of the garden very quickly and will smoother any other plants that happen to be in the way. Control of them is hard but it is possible as long as you are willing to put the effort into it.
Nettles also have good uses, it can be used to make soup, tea and even wine. Nettle can also be used to make clothing... Shocking I know but the stems are very fibrous an can be spun to make string and used to make fabric. They are very nutritional and contain magnesium, iron and calcium. If you are going to use them for anything, make sure you know what you are doing as the stinging hairs on the underside of the leaf contains formic acid and tends to leave bumps. Although in the wild the natural first aid box for nettles is usually sitting right next it, the humble dock leaf. I will cover this plant in another post.
Nettles will grow just about anywhere and are not fussy about the type of soil, that's why nettles are commonly seen on waste ground. So next time you walk past a patch which can grow to over 4 feet in height, think of how useful this plant actually is.
My name is Jonathan and I enjoy working in my garden in my spare time. I am no professional, just an amateur. My second love is photography, shooting the flowers in my garden and of course sharing them with people who share my passions.