Latest posts by Panoply

Primroses changing colour?

Posted: 03/02/2014 at 14:49

Pretty sure they aren't dyed, nutcutlet. I certainly haven't been dying the ones that have been thriving in my borders for years. There's no reason I know of that they aren't bred just like any other plant that has non-native colours.

Primroses changing colour?

Posted: 03/02/2014 at 14:17

A couple of days ago I rescued some primroses from the brink of death on a supermarket shelf. They'd not been watered and were flat as a pancake, but I knew from the summer drought that all they needed was a good drink and they'd be good as new. I was right, and they are now looking very happy on my windowsill (I will plant them out when digging a hole doesn't create a pond.)

They are nice colours with masses of flowers - orangey-red with yellow centres (like this), and white with pink or purple frills/veins on the edges of the petals, and the standard yellow centre (like this).

But now the new flowers buds are coming through I can see the new flowers are going to be different colours. The red flowers are coming through pure yellow or pale orange, and the purple edged flowers are coming through white... and I don't know why! Did the extreme drought they suffered knock them and they can't muster the energy to have multiple colours? Are they out of nutrients or cramped in their pots? Is it too warm on my windowsill? Am I being impatient and the flowers will change colour with age?

Any advice on this mystery is welcome! Thank you!

Grassless lawn

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 19:11

I'm interested to hear how your research is going, jodieel. I recognise your list of plants as from the grassfreelawns website as I've also been researching with the hope to turn a largely shady, consistently damp, isolated patch of lawn by the front of our house into a grass-free flower lawn.

There's certainly a lot of plants to consider, and then getting hold of them will be tricky as many aren't common garden centre plants, but researching is filling up the winter days when there's not much else to be done garden wise!

Monster weed

Posted: 23/11/2013 at 16:18

Ginglygangly I think you are spot on! Thank you! I looked it up and found several pictures that are identical to my monster. I had looked up niger plants before when I had another weed that looked similar (but turned out to be a bur marigold) but hadn't considered it for this giant, as it was said to be 30cm tall.

Searching under the name "nyjer" instead says it is 4ft on average but can reach 7ft. I think my monster enjoyed the vegetable patch and outdid itself! I am disappointed it never got to produce seed though, after all the time it had.

Thank you! I am glad to finally have this mystery solved.

Monster weed

Posted: 23/11/2013 at 13:46

I have an update on my monster weed. It reached around 8 or 9 feet and then perished in the frost the other night. I cut its branches off and dug it up the other day, so can show you a picture of its root system - very shallow considering its size.

It had begun to develop flower buds, but these never opened. I did noticed however, that what seemed to be the same plant, growing in a container I used to cause my radishes to bolt, had developed a flower several weeks ago. I am not sure this is the same plant, but it has the same shape to its leaves, albeit in miniature, and the same colour and pattern to the stem - red at the bottom spreading upwards. I had hoped it would set seed, but it too was killed in the frost, and the flower head I rescued has thin beige husks within, which aren't hugely helpful I fear.

To add further confusion to the mystery, another monster weed developed alongside the original, and also on the other side of the house. It seemed alike in every way, except it had very furry leaves - you could really feel the bristles catch on your skin when you touched it. It developed several tiny flower buds on each branch, that were due to be yellow I'm sure, but they also were frosted before opening.

Here are the photos - any ideas what this intruder could be?




No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 18:08

Thank you all for your replies. It's brilliant to hear the silt is a good thing and I shall keep it by to put back into the pond. I'd read about people using it on their gardens and hanging baskets and how it was wonderful for the plants, so it makes sense it'd be wonderful for the pond too! I've not noticed any dragon fly nymphs before but I'm hoping clearing the solid mass of flag irises out will enable them to make use of our pond next year. 

Now if only it'd stop raining for a day so I can get out there and get it done. Hoping to get it out, dug and back in again before nightfall to cause minimal disturbance, but that might be wishful thinking!

No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 08:39

Yes, thank you nutcutlet. I think I shall add a little of it back in and let a few leaves join the mix so the frogs still have some protection and the little critters something to eat.

I've also seen a lot of the websites you mention Sara, that make out that any amount of silt will be the death of the pond, with people saying how they clean their pond out every week or every few days. Seems quite bonkers. Ours hasn't been touched in years and it is full of life, so it can't be so bad!

Weed (perhaps)?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 08:34

That's good to know Dove. I collected some seed from a local park this summer and now I know it'll be a longer wait to see which bag is which colour flowers!

No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 20/10/2013 at 21:56

I'm in the process of emptying our pond and sinking it deeper into the ground as it was put in a bit wonky! It has become entirely solid with flag irises and marsh marigolds such that there was no clear water - earth worms were even living in there! I've taken out 2/3 of these plants but left a lump as the frogs adore them and the various critters feed off the decaying leaves.

Disrupting the wildlife is concerning me however, and I'm not sure how much of the silt to remove. There's maybe an inch or thereabouts of silt all over, and it stinks when dredged up, but I understand frogs sometimes hibernate in it and the leeches, flatworms, waterlice and maybe the snails too all use it for various purposes.

Would it be best to remove it all and accept that it will inevitably gradually build up again? Or should I save some to put back in there when I'm finished to disrupt the balance as little as possible? I am saving the clearer water and have plenty of rain water to top it up (the waterbutts even have little pond snails in! It rains snails round here it seems!)

Fuschias with very few flowers

Posted: 26/09/2013 at 08:20

I asked about this a few weeks back, convinced my fuchsia's age had put it past it's best before date, so am glad to hear the heat is to blame. I'd not even considered that! It's hugely leafy and has grown really well, but failed to flower, which seemed very odd to me! I shall let it live another year!

I thought another of my fuchsias had suffered the same problem - all leaf and no flower - until I visited my neighbour and noticed all the flowers are on her side, poking through the wire fence!

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