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Flowering ivy

Hedera flowering

As someone who keeps bees, it is always good to see plenty of early / late flowering plants which will provide them with useful foraging when other supplies of nectar are limited.  I believe that recent research has underlined the importance of ivy as a food source for bees. 

Given the decline of bee numbers we should all be doing our best to help. As mature flowering ivy is a very handsome sight - especially over winter - this really isn't too high a price to pay!



Miscanthus heads providing fantastic winter colour

Miscanthus heads in early winter

I know that I have recently posted rather a lot of photos of 'autumn' colours - however I couldn't resist using another photo I took recently - an amazing clump of Miscanthus s.'malepartus' which I saw in the garden of a friend.  Plus I know these heads will continue to provide pleasure for a couple of months to come.




Windfall quinces

Windfall quinces

Talking of fruit and decay - I saw these windfall quinces on a piece of old corrugated iron.

The quince can produce the most showy of fruit - large, golden and covered in a fine, downy layer.  With some varieties the fruit can be very large indeed.

However the thing with quinces is that despite looking fine on the outside, when you cut them open, they have often already started to decay from the middle.  So these fruits have long since passed their best.

However if you get them before the rot sets in - they make really good jams and jellies!



Dramatic fungi in early winter

Fungi surrounded by oak leaves

As well as taking photos of fallen leaves, I saw this very dramatic fungi surrounded by fallen oak leaves.

I'm afraid my knowledge of fungi isn't great - while it is always tempting when you see really good looking mushrooms out in the fields to pick them for the pot, I know it would likely end in disaster.  

Still is it great to be reminded that fungal life is continually at work keeping our whole ecosystem healthy.  It is only when they produce their visible fruiting bodies that we are reminded that they are there!



Fallen oak leaves

Fallen oak leaves

On the theme of leaf colour and decay - I was out walking when I saw this patch of fallen oak leaves.

This reminded me of the need to start making use of this seasonal harvest as leafmould is a wonderful thing to have when potting up plants - especially those that like lots of organic matter in their compost.

Leaves from Oak and Beech are great for producing top quality leafmould as they break down easily and rapidly.  Just bag them up and put them somewhere where they can get on with the process of breaking down.



Early Winter sunshine

Succulents bathed in winter sunshine

Thankfully we are still getting a decent bit of early winter sunshine.

The various succulents in the warm glasshouse are enjoying the bursts of heat, but are also beginning to grow well now that things have cooled down after summer.  Will carefully controlled amounts of water hopefully the growth spurt will continue until the real cold weather arrives.



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