Looking Fabulous right now: Rhododendron russatum

Gorgeous intense blue-purple flowers with pale centres borne in dense clusters & aromatic dark green evergreen leaves. A lovely small rhododendron shrub that would make a great focal point designed into a border, bed or standalone container.

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Looking Fabulous right now: Hamamelis mollis & Viburnum bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’.

Nothing quite matches the delicate graceful scents of these two beautiful winter shrubs.

Get up close & personal & breathe it in!

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Hamamelis mollis. Get up close & personal & breathe it in!
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. Hamamelis mollis with its strongly fragrant striking sulphur yellow papery flowers delight in winter.
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Pure delight – Clusters of scented pink flowers  of  Viburnum bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’.
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Viburnum bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ has dark purple shoots bearing fat buds bursting with floral wonderment.

 

 

Seed Cleaning.

The task – to extract seeds from their protective capsules so that they can be stored in a fridge slowing down their respiration rate & thus prolong viability for sowing in the New Year. The experience of doing this simple task required mindful patience that revealed a profoundly remarkable sense of how sophisticated seeds truly are. Seemingly specks of dust are cosmic ‘micro chips’ ‘powerhouses’ of growth technology encased in sophisticated capsules that man can only try to imitate.

Reminding me of William Shakespeare’s quote –

In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read.

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Seeds from the Zingiberaceae family.
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Aeschynanthus seeds from the Gesneriaceae family.

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Lycopodiaceae spores on a leaf from the Club Moss family.

 

Propagation part 2: Potting up Penstemon ‘Alice Hindley’ rooted cuttings!

You may recall approx 4 weeks ago I gathered cuttings from half hardy plants. They have successfully rooted so now is the time to pot them up.

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Lovely healthy rooted cuttings.
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The potting mix is 2-part John Innes No.1 & 1-part multi purpose compost.
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Healthy rooted cutting ready to pot up.img_0663
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Pinch out the top part of the plant to halt flower growth for now. Pinching out at this stage will also encourage bushy plant growth.

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Baby penstemon plant with newly formed roots potted up.

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Looking fabulous right now: Ugni molinae aka Chilean guava.

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I was introduced to these fine berries this week & have not stopped munching on them – they are simply delicious! The plant makes a perfect small winter shrub with densely leafy evergreen foliage, clouds of strawberry fragrance as you pass it by & edible cranberry sized berries when left to ripen till late autumn/early winter taste like guava fruit. A real unexpected treat! The berries can be eaten raw or made into preserves & even Chilean guava muffins.

Protecting Tender plants over winter.

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Echeveria peacockii is a non-hardy succulent so is brought in under glass for the winter to protect it from potential frost but mostly from heavy rain in Scotland to stop the plant rotting.
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Lifted from display beds & packed in closely into fishing containers to be stored in the glasshouse.
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Ensete ventricosum‘Maurelii’ dug up from display bed.
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Tucked in for winter in its own raised bed placed in a poly tunnel.

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Gorgeous lush green & red hued foliage.

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Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ & other Aeoniums dug up & brought into the glasshouses for protection over winter.

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Aeonium arborium.

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Aeonium sunburst.
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Preparing Butia capitata for encasing.
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Butia capitata encased protected for winter against rain & frost.

 

Inspiring role models: Saalumarada Thimmakka.

It’s not often that you hear about one person who has single-handedly planted & nurtured a woodland  as service to fellow human beings & wildlife. But Saalumarada Thimmakka is one such woman & still going strong at 105 years old!

Her woodland of native Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) trees in Karnataka, India bestows an invaluable gift for all her fellow villagers to benefit from & a legacy for future generations of all sentient life.

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Saalumarada Thimmakkka – a Foundation has been created in her name to continue the inspirational work she started.

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Environmentalist Saalumarada  Thimmakka rejoicing amidst the woodland she planted & nurtured that stretches for four kilometers both sides of the road from Thimmakka’s village of Hulikal and Kudur, the next.
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The beautiful woodland grove of Banyan trees lovingly grown by Saalumarada Thimmakka.

Further Reading:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/04/asia/saalumarada-thimmakka-trees-india/

http://thimmakkafoundation.org/about%20thimmakka.html

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/ficus-benghalensis-banyan