Monday, October 26, 2009

Funghi, Mushrooms, Toadstools and Lichen.

Autumn is the time of year for mushroom picking in our family. I think it's more of a continental thing, a number of traditional Polish dishes include wild mushrooms. The tastiest are Boletus edulis (you may have heard of the Italian 'Porcini'), but we usually scrape a few others together too.

We always used to pop down the A3 and go to the woods not far from Wisley. Over the past few years they have gradually been taking back the forestry pines and giving it over to heathland. Which is a shame as it means less mushrooms.

These ones (Amanita muscaria) are probably best left alone...

It was a lovely clear day and the Pinus sylvestris here were very photogenic!
These are coral fungus, Calocera cornea.

A plantation of lichens.

Another mushroom (Avantaclewia damdifino)

This is one of my favourite woodland photos. I took it myself and it's covered by copyright.

Oh well, no edible mushrooms this time, but a nice day out nevertheless.

******UPDATE November 21st******

Success! The bumper crop of mushrooms was probably bought about by the unseasonably mild autumn we've had. These will be delicious (once de-magotted).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tree of the Day - Giant Redwood

The Welsh Dog has drawn my attention to this National Geographic link. The image taken below is a first, I believe, and is 84 photos seamlessly linked together.

Don't be scared, click on the image...

Amazing! I'd love to visit a forest like this one day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Great Great Dixter Day Trip

I seem to have been particularly fortunate, in that on every garden I've visited this year, I've been blessed with beautiful weather *.

Last Sunday was just perfect. The air was cool and sweet as we arrived at around 11.30am, and was gradually being warmed by the early October sun. I'd not been to Great Dixter before, and I had been wanting to go for years. In-between writing (frankly ridiculous) blogs about biscuits, I thought I'd try and make it down there. It's a beautiful place, and very quirky with a garden divided up into various sections. The Old Rose Garden is quite startling with the exotic planting and bold, yet clever, use of colour.

I really enjoyed the dry, upper garden. There's something about the light at this time of year that really turns the dry teasel and grass heads into something magical.

Vanessa reclining lazily on a dark-leaved Dahlia.

I think I may have overdone the exotic stuff on this blog recently, so for balance I'm just posting a couple of very 'Sussexy' garden scenes.

There was a large shrub in the long border that I couldn't quite place. I decided it must be some sort of olive tree. Yesterday evening I was going through some of my Zimbabwe holiday photos and came across pictures of something that looked very much like it. After a little research, it appears to be Olea capensis. It would be very interesting to get to the bottom of this mystery, as I for one would be interested to know of an other plants native to Muturoshanga that could grow in East Sussex!

* Although it's been nice when visiting other gardens this year, it was pouring when Victoria came to visit. I just wanted to add here that her Blotanical Award is really well deserved. Victoria has been through some difficult times, and has been a real inspiration to the blogging community. Congratulations!

I'd also like to congratulate Meems at Hoe and Shovel, who won the Best Florida Blog. This is probably my favourite of the non-UK blogs, and enjoy following her gardens progress.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Norwich Day Trip Part 2c.

Continuing from Part 2b...

Just look at the view...

View down to the pond from the upper terrace.

We sat on bean bags and a beautiful stone bench built by Keith and Melissa, and chatted until the sun went down.

As dusk descended I took this picture of this wonderful Phormium. I don't have the name, but it's one of the giant forms.

Just to show that exotic plants aren't entirely bad for wildlife, the ladybirds seemed to be attracted to the cacti for some reason.


An amazing day. I'm afraid I've run out of steam, but will add more comments later. Just wanted to get this out the way before I go to Great Dixter on Sunday!

Norwich Day Trip Part 2b

Continuing from Part 2a...

I did take rather a lot more photos in the afternoon for some reason. I wish I had taken more photos at Will's garden, but I think I was just too entranced by it all!

Melissa and Keith are very fortunate to live in a rural area (if not rural, it certainly felt like it). It was very peaceful as we wondered around the garden. Going from jungle at the top of the garden, nothing prepares you for what lies just over the edge of the terrace.

Agave franzosinii.

The most beautiful Yucca carnerosana. These plants really love the dry conditions in this part of the UK.

Keith chatting, while Paul looks at the Yucca carnerosana with envy! The other plant is a huge Nolina nelsonii.

The wonderful varied forms of Yucca.

This Yucca linearis is a real knock-out. Supremely elegant with a perfect sphere of foliage.

Yucca filifera.

One of the best bits of xeriscaping in the UK, I would say. It's a shame more people don't garden like this. This sort of garden is all too often considered eccentric. Maybe that's just why it appeals to me?

There are a few lovely plants that are due to go in. This is a Dasylirion longissimum ready to go in once the arid borders are continued across the garden.

Norwich Day Trip Part 2a

So after a spot of lunch, we continued on to Keith and Melissa's garden, just a few miles from Norwich town centre. To give an idea of the climate in this part of England, a number of established shrubs had completely wilted. Even a couple of tree ferns had leaves that just collapsed due to drought stress.

The first clue to discovering what lay in wait to the rear of the house. This is the giant black tree fern, Cyathea medullaris. Curiously this plant has developed side branches, so it will be interesting to see how it develops!

We were greeted by the Dalmatians. 

I think this one wanted its teeth checked!

A super collection of Echeveria (which are also a favourite of mine) and other succulents. Look at the wall too - this was built by Keith and Melissa. Their attention to detail is amazing!

Below, a Nolina that I forget the name of. I find these a bit too similar to Cordyline australis, myself, but it should look very different as it develops.

A Canna, called 'Cleopatra', I think. Interesting foliage.

A very tropical jumble of foliage.

More Ensete 'Montbeillardii' (is that too many vowels?).

I'm not sure if Keith and Melissa took as much care as Will Giles in placing their plants together, but the effect was still totally tropical! I think this picture illustrates how you don't have to have flowers to make a garden colourful.

A fine stand of Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex'. Probably one of the best in the country?