Witch Hazel

flower

365/17

Taken on this day last year, a close up of witch hazel blossom.  Hamamelis is a super shrub/small tree that flowers in January – March, depending on the variety.  I love the waxy petals, like orange peel.  They make hamamelis a very useful plant for adding winter colour to the garden. But the best thing of all is their spicy scent.

Tough love works

20120715-205421.jpg
I have had this agapanthus (African Lily) plant in the same pot for about fifteen years. I never feed it. I rarely water it. And every year it puts on a show, content with the neglect, giving me more flowers every time.

I like the way the flowers emerge, stretching out after being crammed in their papery buds.

20120715-205648.jpg

And then there they are, more buds! As if they are teasing, withholding their beauty for one more moment.

20120715-205705.jpg

Finally, one flower opens, china blue, like the sky on a sunny day (I dimly remember those!)

20120715-211238.jpg

And, when the flowers are done, fat black seeds hang encased in silvery pods, happy to self seed without my having to lift a finger.

20120715-210159.jpg

But, I wonder if you can guess the biggest reason for liking my faithful pot of African Lilies:

20120715-210341.jpg

20120715-211345.jpg

The devil in the dark

Image

Regular readers will know that I have been following the antics of some speckled bush cricket nymphs in my garden.  From cute first hatchling through inquisitive early instar stages to greedy adolescence and approaching adulthood. And what do I get as a reward for bringing them fame and adulation?  Plants with holes!  I counted at least 25 of the devils out there yesterday, nibbling away at my carefully nurtured dahlias.  Have they no gratitude?  The youth of today (sigh)!  So a suitably more sinister image of one of the little monsters today. And now I have a dilemma…

Whoever struggles with monsters might watch that he does not thereby become a monster.  And when you stare into an abyss for a long time, the abyss also stares into you.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil (1886)