Tuesday, 21 November 2017


We are now only ten days short of December and still flowers persist. I took yet another of my  more or less weekly walks into Daventry, telling myself that it does me good; presumably weary limbs are a sign of glowing health. I constantly vary the route and still find odd unexplored corners - 'Here be dragons!'
As I set out I briefly turned and looked back at our front garden. The cacti I planted out about a month ago look in good shape. It is a gamble but I have chosen a fairly sheltered spot and frosts should not present a problem. More important is sharp drainage and I incorporated a good proportion of sand and gravel into the planting mixture.
Our embarrassingly phallic cacti seem happy. Stefen Hill, Daventry.
21 November, 2017
We have now experienced a couple more sharp frosts but the fuchsia nearby is still blooming happily. This plant is a puzzle and may be bird-sown as many fuchsia varieties bear succulent purple fruits, probably consumed by blackbirds and the like.
Only a metre or so away a rose has produced late blooms - not tattered left-overs from the late summer but genuine fresh buds opening.
The rose 'Golden Showers' is yet producing blooms.
21 November, 2017
Far less surprising and, in fact only to be expected, were the blooms on a eucalyptus. The tree is probably a Cider Gum, Eucalyptus gunnii, and its creamy, powder-puff flowers can now be expected through December and maybe beyond.
Eucalyptus gunnii was passed en route for Daventry centre.
21 November, 2017
Fruits will follow but I suspect they will be without seed. I was about one third of the way through my journey as I passed this tree and further along I noted gorse in bloom (expected), an abelia, Abelia x grandiflora - not really a surprise - and a sophora, probably Sophora microphylla or one of its closely related hybrids. This specimen was a robust shrub or small tree which I regularly observe and which will now be in flower to some degree over several months. I have sown seed from this plant but I think slugs took the emerging shoots. 
It was on the way home, my arms sagging with spoils from Tesco* that I received a moderate and final surprise. Keck, aka Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, was blooming, its umbels frothy with tiny white flowers. I ought not to have been surprised for that little amount of ambient warmth found in urban areas seems sufficient to trigger flowering; in the open countryside it would have been a more noteworthy event. The plant may also have been subjected to mowing and this late flowering was perhaps a response.
The umbels of Cow Parsley, usually an April-May flowerer.
Daventry, 21 November, 2017
To be honest I am making a fuss over nothing for on New Year's Day in 2016 a survey by the BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles) found 612 species of wild flower in bloom! Now that IS remarkable. The seasons are getting topsy-turvy indeed.

* I have fallen out with Waitrose. The quality of their goods is undoubtedly high but I cannot forgive them for giving away free copies of the Daily Mail to their cardholders. Yes, I know they offer The Guardian too but for me the racism, bigotry and sheer nastiness of the Daily Mail puts it beyond the pale.

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