Sunday, 28 September 2008


I love Rudbeckia. They are one of four genera in the Asteraceae family that are known as coneflowers. The flowers are produced in daisy-like inflorescences, with yellow or orange florets arranged in a prominent, cone-shaped head; "cone-shaped" because the ray florets tend to point out and down (are decumbent) as the flower head opens. Rudbeckia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth and Dot Moth both of which have been found in my garden. I think this Rudbeckia is the species R. hirta also known as Black-eyed Susan.

Kaffir Lilies and what?

I do like Kaffir Lilies (Schizostylis coccinea). I got these from a charity stall at Royden Park a couple of years ago so I don’t know which particular cultivar they are.

I have a couple of clumps of this plant in my garden but I don’t know what it is! The plant is between two and three feet tall with toothed lanceolate leaves and masses of small, bell-like purple flowers. Any clues would be welcome.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Pond Three

Work in progress...

This last week having been warm and mostly sunny, I have done a great deal in the garden. Having been away a lot this year there was much tidying and pruning to do. I also tackled – for the third time – the relaying of pond number 3. It has never been as satisfactory as the other two, always seeming to fall well below the level of the edging. I took up the waterfall and discovered the reason – the edging had got bent over as I laid the waterfall last time and was leaking out underneath. This situation was exacerbated by evaporation when I ran the waterfall.

Job done....

In the process of draining the pond I had to ,move six fully grown frogs from it into Pond 2 and another one hopped off under the fence into next door. One of the frogs had been issuing its purring croak for some days before I tackled the pond and I was pleased to hear that it was back in the newly filled pond, purring away, at the end of the exercise. Previously I have only heard frogs calling in Spring. I wonder if calling in autumn is unusual?

Eupeodes luniger

This is the brightly coloured hoverfly Eupeodes luniger. Like nearly all hoverflies it has no common English name. I suspect that if Hoverflies were to be given them there would be a lot more interest in this group of colourful flies.

The Glistening Ink-cap

This toadstool was at the side of one of the paths by the pond the other day. It is Coprinus micaceus or the Glistening Ink-cap but because it is an older specimen it lacks the glistening sugary grains that cover its surface when young. Unusually, it was alone. Normally all Coprinus species can be found in clumps. Hopefully I will have a clump there in a year or two.

The mature, blackening caps of a number of Coprinus species were once boiled to make ink.


This ‘caterpillar’ had successfully defoliated two branches of my Super Star rose the other day. At first I thought it was a moth caterpillar but upon closer examination I decided it was a sawfly larva. But I cannot tell which one. The popular Rose-eating sawflies (Arge pagana, Arge rosae, and Arge ochropus) have larvae with black spots while one which has this colouring (Endelomyia aethiops) only grazes on the surface of the leaves and is slightly pear-shaped being thinner in the tail (known appropriately as the Rose Slug). So, all I can conclude is that this chap was a) a sawfly larva (probably) and b) unwelcome!

This is definitely a moth caterpillar! It will grow up to be a Bright-line Brown-eye Moth. I think it was feeding on the Viburnum which I was pruning when I found it swimming in the fish pond with some of the fallen leaves. It departed unharmed back into the shrubbery after I had photographed it.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Shaggy Bracket

I would like to keep this blog restricted to my Pensby garden but then where would I post pictures like this - a Shaggy Bracket (Inonotus hispidus) found on an Ash tree around the corner, near the library?

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Vicious beak!

Found the remains of a Wood Pigeon's egg.

This chap was on a nearby aerial, looking suspiciously like the culprit.

I've never seen a Carrion Crow wiht such a vicious beak before!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Yellow Buddleia

Apart from all my purple Buddleias I have a white cutting from Helen and at last my Yellow Buddleia cutting has flowered. This means I have all the forms of Buddleia that I've had in previous gardens. All the current ones are cutting from them - with the possible exception of the white one which may have scome from the caravan via Helen or may have originated in Formby.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Galerucella species

This is a Galerucella species of leaf beetle. There are six species of these leaf beetles in Britain – all similar. This leaf-eating species has devastated my Guelder Rose in the hedge – almost defoliating it in places.

Orange Ladybird

These are the larvae of the Orange Ladybird. The 22-spot Ladybird larva is similar but has no areas of white, larger black spots and shorter legs.

These are the pupae of the Orange Ladybird. Both larvae and pupae are to be found all over one of my Birch trees at the moment.


I’m not sure the garden knows what season it is at the moment. The Fuchsia which has been flowering since late spring is still going strong. The Cyclamen in the basket is also in full bloom.

Meanwhile the Cotoneaster is absolutely covered in berries and the poppies are in seed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


A beautiful yellow Calla has been added to my Pensby garden – another gift from Helen. I still have a garden voucher from Bryony and Mark to spend and hopefully I’ll get a lift from Jo to a garden centre in the near future and add even more...

A Grass Garden

Helen and Ian gave me an early birthday present on one of our visits to Otter Nurseries – two grasses (Carex Comans Red and Festuca Blue Fox) and an Agapanthus Tinkerbell. I treated myself to a Phormium Dark Delight. Helen and Ian also gave me two grasses of their own – Stipa tenuissima Cornwall Chillis and Pennesetum villosum Cream Falls.

Part of the front garden has been a bit of a mess for the past year so I have decided to turn it into a grass garden. It had a large Elder tree which was suckering and seeding everywhere so I cut it down a couple of years ago and replaced it with a Privet, a Willow and Buddleia. Alongside them were the main conifer hedge on one side and a huge Mock Orange and Cotoneaster on the other.

In between rainy spells this last few days I have dug over the patch and drastically pruned the Mock Orange, Cotoneaster and Hedge. I got rid of the elder seedlings, nettles, ivy and general weeds to create a space for the grasses. I’ve also included some divided grasses from the back garden such as Uncinia rubra and a bicolour Carex Evergold. I’ve also put in a Black Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus), some Allium bulbs and some Kaffir Lilies. A Yucca, a Cordyline, and a Phormium Tricolor and a Bamboo (Fargesia Muielae Mae) complete the border for the moment. I have left most of the plants in their pots to avoid the problems of identifying what is grass and what is weed next spring and also to stop plants like the Bamboo spreading too far.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Plants I want

Although I use this Blog for my trips up and down the country or around and about at home it was originally set up just to show the plants and wildlife in my garden. I have decided therefore to add a sidebar showing the plants I would like to add to the garden.