Monday, 15 November 2010

The dirty dozen - a walk with the camera.....

Elderberry (sambucus niger) laden with berries even in Orkney, what a treat!
Ok I have to say regardless of anything else I owe my poor camera an apology - its been neglected - quite unashamedly - I'm surprised it's not gone and put itself on ebay - or on freecycle to teach me a lesson. I'm not much of a peoplepicture person - my camera will vouch for that - I'm very guilty of returning home from a trip away with alot of pictures of plants and bits of rocks etc - but not many of humans. Photographing people, animals and birds I've always found quite hard - but I love photographing plant life. I went into the field trials here today and the elder was just screaming for a photo of the last berries on the bush - its been a good year here for berries and on the mainland too.

Languinosa Group clematis: Clematis 'Nelly Moser'
Anyway, I took my camera out today, I'm glad to report this photographic challenge I talked about has really got me going with the camera or at least got me thinking about taking it with me when I'm out at work. I was very inspired by a girl on the photo challenge who had taken a picture of a Clematis 'Nelly Moser' (like the one above), which was flowering away quite nicely when she snapped it over the weekend, when really it should maybe have been thinking of going to sleep for the winter.

It's the short days I think, focusses the mind more or the flowering - or its a perverse idioscyncracy which makes me yearn for things I can't have - more flowering at this time of year or for example, I now want 12 hours of daylight to take photos, when in reality the local paper weather bit tells me its dark here by 3.47 pm and light again at 8.06 am - (a bit over 7 1/2 hr daylight) and it will only get darker by the day until 21 December................). Anyhow the very quick daylight will help to focus the mind!

Dog rose - Rosa canina hips
With that in mind, making the most of the day, I took a little jaunt around my plots at work (I work with a willow crop) and took a few photos of the gardens and plants in gardens directly adjacent to the path by the field trial. There were quite a few heavily berried plants about - supposed to be the sign of a bad winter to come, but I think maybe its due to a bad winter before ripening the wood to increase the fruiting - but who knows - I guess we'll see how the winter pans out first. I think this is a dog-rose Rosa canina - but I couldn't swear to it.....

Hebe x franciscana, a great plant here in Orkney - flowering from April - December
Well - even at this time of year I was surprised to see alot of things still in flower (the hebe is gorgeous) - alot of the usual hardy hedging suspects do well up  here, and cope with being exposed to our weather, there are  ones which do particularily well in our climate - my gardening teaching partner calls them the 'The Dirty Dozen' those shrubs which just don't give up - they keep trying for you - even in this hard climate, but generally very well for a hedge - you might want to think about them too - he recommends:

'The Dirty Dozen' [Grisselinia littoralis, Hebe x franciscana,  Fushia magellanica, Escallonia sp., Flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum, Honeysuckle, Loniceras sp., (especially the bush honeysuckles), Olearia sp.,  Brachyglottis sp., Willow (salix sp.)]
......and a few others which I promise to remember and I'll add them in!

Fushia magellanica - flowering earlier in the year.
 Fushia magellanica is one of the common favourite plants for hedges here - it does not get cut back hard by frost here - and grows into a good size hedge, tolerates the wind and is a great flowering chap, all summer long into the winter time when it drops its leaves. Wonderful colour. A I walked down the path I was almost hit in the face with the green of the Grisselinia littoralis - leaves so glossy you could see your face in them - well not my face, I'm very short and the bush was very tall! 

Grisselinia littoralis a good colour in the winter!
 The other evergreen hedge type here which does extraordinarily well is Olearia and Escallonia - many different types do very very well - again very glossy foliage and wonderful flowers great for all year round interest.
Escallonia macrantha - beautiful!
This was followed by a garden where  I found a lovely recycled window greenhouse - we see alot of those here - getting things like greenhouses up here can be a pricey business - alot of people are quite smart I think and make them out of old windows - this one is brilliant with the polycarb roof the only new bit of the construction.

Greenhouse made of old windows - brilliant recycling!
 Alot of the trees have lost their leaves - all the wind came and the leaves went - its quite a contrast I suppose things in flower - trying their hardest and things like this sycamore - our biggest type of tree here - Acer pseudoplantanus - now no leaves at all. All blown off!

Many of the trees here have their leaves blown off - not alot of autumn colour I'm afraid!
 And finally, here we have a very uninspring picture of a crop at my work - willow - now although it doesn't look great at this time of year - our 3 year old plants are in excess of 5m tall and they are being grown for wood - so if they look scrappy right now - we don't mind too much. They do grow very well here. The hedging willows are brilliant here - Orkney has alot of different types of willows - they like the wet and they don't mind the wind.................

   Well, its not called the Wind and the Willows for no reason - its windy and I have alot of willows outdoors in my care! Until next time!


  1. Wonderful photos, you should take your camera with you everywhere! Love the recycled greenhouse, that makes so much more sense than bunging old windows in landfill.

  2. You're right about the windows - getting things like greenhouses up here - you pay a hefty amount of extra carriage to get things up here.

    Excellent recycling - good to get out with the camera - been motivated lately - couldn't go out today - too wet and windy!

    Thank you for the lovely comment about the photos - I'm just learning and trying to get a 'local' plant library together up here.

  3. SO glad that our little challenge has inspired you to get that camera back into regular use again!! That clematis is lovely.

  4. A bit of flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum is what I'm off to find for Orkney garden. Nice blog, will follow with interest.

  5. An excellent choice! Nice to see you sleepwalker - hope you had fun on your visit up here :)

    Robyn you did inspire me indeed and I'll soon be back again on the challenge........x