Wednesday, 17 August 2011

GBBD Aug 2011 and the recycled Viking

Annual rocket (Eruca sativa)
I thought I'd finally be able join in with Carol and other folk with their August Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD), do have a look at some of the other blogs they are amazing! Yay, finally a few flowers to share from here up in Orkney, some of the photos are from my patch at work, at the local college and some from the potting shed where all the action takes place. I'm really, really, really lucky, as I work with plants and flowers for a livng, I get to have a garden at home, AND a garden at work, with various crops and plots to play in, um I mean work in, so I can take photos of that garden, which is more flowery at the moment than my own garden at home.

However, unlike Carol, however its not been very dry or warm here. Although the past couple of days have been more summer like! The photo above is my annual rocket (Eruca sativa), in my 'work' garden, which has been allowed, I tell myself I've allowed it to flower, but in actual fact it did it all by itself, abject neglect and lack of picking sees annual rocket going to flower quite quickly and this is no exception. However, I love the flowers, despite being able to eat them, I often leave them alone and let the plant set seed. I figure that if it sets seed, which it does prolifically, it will self sow where its happiest and therefore I don't need to do anything next year except collect my free plants! A happy plant is a healthy plant, and vice versa.....
English or Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)
The English Marigold (Calendula officinalis) is one of my favourite flowers in the universe. I'm not generally an 'orange' flower fan, but to be honest, I've said it before if I had one flower in my garden, it would be this one. And rather oddly that plant over wintered here and began flowering again in early April, very odd indeed. Infact at home, in my newly developing garden, with limited growth at the moment, its one of only a few flowers I do have and in typcial Orkney weather last week, very blowy, cold and the garden being battered, just like the cows!
Cows and calendula
Thankfully, marigolds appear to withstand the most amazing amount of wind! For that I'm very grateful. Another firm favourite of mine, which withstands the wind and the rain and the cold, (yup its been that kind of a summer) is Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium) maybe not the more unusual of plants but gardening up north, you learn to appreciate those plants which do *well* in the local climate and of course the bees love this plant too! 
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Now, theres a plant that we see everywhere in Orkney gardens, and there is a lovely patch of it by the potting shed at work, now I know this plant as Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) but the chap I work with calls it something different or maybe he doesn't? I must ask him again, when I do I'll edit it in, at this time of the morning I'm sure he's not wanting a call from me! If you've an idea, please do comment. The vibrant yellow blooms are a real contrast with the lush green foliage. Again, perhaps a plant which you'd think, 'I'd take it or leave it' but its so vigorous and sturdy, that I think for my border at home, I'm getting the idea that using 'stock' Orkney plants is really the way forward and I'll appreciate their form all the more.
Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata)
 And, indeed when you get in a bit closer and actually look at this plant, its breathtakingly gorgeous and vibrant. I'm learning to appreciate those plants which do well here in this climate and resolving to put in a border of them, pointless buying and trying to grow plants that will not do well here, better potentially to work with those which thrive. Lifes too short to fight with your garden!
Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata)
 And, of course, no garden is complete without its own garden dog - so he's mine - Peedie the cairn in full August plummage, mooching about at work trying not to trip over the hose! The broad beans are doing very well this year, these are not my plots but plots from students of the garden guru guy at work I sometimes help out.
Broad beans, beetroot, swiss chard and peedie dogs......
And, whilst mooching about at work taking pictures of ours and others plots, I spied a recycled viking (Vikingus tinncanius)...............making sure the old variety of  Bere barley crop in the field, orginally might have been brought to the UK by Viking folk and he made certain it doesn't break through into the vegetable plots!
Orkney recycled viking scarecrow
Now I know that he's not in 'bloom' but I hope Carol doesn't mind! He was just too lovely to leave out of my adventure taking these pictures!

Recycled scarecrow
 The best use of recycled tin cans, old gloves and a viking hat, I've ever seen! I'm glad he's guarding the blooms for this GBBD plot! He's even got the cutest eyes to keep guard properly!
Recycled scarecrow close up.
OH dear, now you see how it starts, I go out to take photos of whats happenning in my patch and whats flowering nicely in August and I get distracted by recycled vikings! Thanks to Carol for organising GBBD.


  1. I love the viking. My maiden name is supposed to descend from norsemen. I used to watch a tv programme called City Gardener with Matt James and he used to go out around the area to investigate what was growing locally so I agree that you should grow what you know will work. I recognise that plant but cant remember what we call it here (it reminds me of broom)

  2. Great scarecrow! We have many of the same plants in our gardens.

  3. Thank you for sharing the flowers and scarecrow with us!

    Sft x

  4. Ha! Love the scarecrow...and the Loosestrife is a stunner :-)

  5. Love the Viking - doesn't he scare the chickens though? I think loosestrife is lovely, as are the marigolds, and think that growing hardy Orkney plants or their offspring has to be the way to go for stress free gardening until your shelter belt is fully operational. And besides, who wouldn't want feverfew in their garden? Happy GBBD!

  6. Janet, sadly the Viking is at work garden, not home garden.......I think a few of the tough beauties like these are needed!

    Scot, welcome, the loosestrife is stunning isn't it?

    Sft you're welcome :-)

    Bridget I've looked t your blog and we share more than a few in common, nice to see you

    Cheri, how interesting :-) it does look as vibrant as broom doesn't it?