Monday, 15 June 2009

Results of Experiments

This is a flower from my shrub rose, an old plant which I inherited.  The flowers open with a slight pink tinge, but get paler until they are cream.  It's a lovely rose with a beautiful scent.  A little while ago I wrote about my experiments with (coal) chimney soot on the roses, in an attempt to ward off fungal diseases.  I should say that the roses have been fed with horse manure and an all-purpose feed as well, but I do think the chimney soot has been beneficial. This rose in particular looks better than it has in years, and the orange fungus which is normally affecting much of the shrub by this time has only got a very small foothold.  I can see the effect on the roses soon after dosing them with (small) quantities of soot, and I think regular application is the key.  So a successful test, which I will continue.
This is a broad bean, Super Aquadulce Claudia.  I switched to this variety earlier this year, from Aqualdulce Claudia, after disappointing yields in recent years.  The new variety was reputed to be hardier for northern regions, and this has proved to be true, with very close to 100% germination and an excellent pollination/setting rate as you can see from the photo (though the weather during flowering was good, which helped).  So I would recommend this variety for anyone in northern, wet latitudes - I'll certainly be sticking with it.
Now, to other things - anyone know what this plant is?  It has seeded itself in my flower bed, under a leggy wild rose so I don't object as it fills a gap at ground level.  But I don't know what it is - any ideas?
On the way back from the post office this morning I took a detour, in an attempt to get some elderflowers before the rain came.  Most of the elders are not fully flowering yet, so that part of my mission failed, as did the beating the rain objective - I got home wet.  But before that, I saw these lovely flowers - Dame's Violets, a French species which has long ago naturalised across Europe after being introduced to gardens here.  A lovely splash of colour among the green, it grows along the riverbanks.

Finally, the marsh orchids are flowering, and they seem bigger than in recent years.  This magnificent specimen was growing in a damp spot near the river.  For best effect, click on this photo to see the detail of the flowers.
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