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Members' Blogs - Week 17 of Lockdown

Lesley

Continuing the agapanthus theme.

Agapanthus plus a visitor.

Synchronised inspection!

Gathering friends together.

Is it time to go?

Margaret

These agapanthus came from the Scilly Isles many years ago. I've left one just to keep growing and apart from the 5 main stems, there are another 5 smaller ones growing. The single flower was bought at the same time, but last year I divided it into three; one piece has flowered the other two, I'm still waiting for. My experience of these plants is that you need patience as mine have always taken years to flower.

Monty Don always advises waiting until the pot splits before replanting Agapanthus.  Well, now I'll have to take his advice as my pot was broken during the night.

Dave

It seems as though it's agapanthus time so I thought I should join in with this quite graceful one which is the only one of our agapanthus that has flowered this year other than the really hardy ones in the border that have been there for over 30 years. Maybe looking after the ones in pots too well.

The remaining three photos are of cyclamen which never seem to let you down and just keep getting more extensive as the years pass by. They do seem somewhat early in this rather peculiar year weather wise. They are great in places others will not grow such as in the dry ground under deciduous trees.

In the later part of the year the hederifolium are followed by cyclamen coum which flower in the depths of winter and help to cheer you up.

Alex

Scottish Highlands and Islands.

We have just returned from a trip to the far northwest of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides. The weather was significantly cooler than other parts of the UK and the scenery and wildlife spectacular. Here are a few snaps taken along the way.

Walking up the side of a very wet and boggy mountain in Assynt we spotted a sundew, Drosera intermedia, in amongst all the sphagnum moss and rushes. I have noticed these insectivorous plants in the Botanic Garden’s greenhouse but not seen one in the wild before.

Another plant found on these soggy moors is the bog asphodel, Narthecum ossifragum, cotton grass, Eriophorum augustifolium and tormentil, Potentilla erecta.

Leaving the hills and mountains of Assynt behind we found ourselves on North Uist. The rocks here, Lewisian gneiss, are amongst the oldest found on the planet. These very hard rocks have withstood the test of time. Shells washed up on the shore are ground down into a fine white sand. Many specialist plants, especially marram grass Ammophilia arenaria, stabilise the sand, which blown by the prevailing westerlies, form immense dune systems. Other plants such as silverweed, Potentilla anserina, are able to tolerate these dry salty conditions.

Beyond the dunes is the machair, pronounced macca, a rich grassland unique to these islands. Managed by crofters and grazed by sheep, they first formed around 4,000 years ago. They have a very rich flora with harebells, Campanula rotundifolia, eye bright, Euphrasia officinalis, and self-heal, Prunella vulgaris, out when we were visiting.

Away from the machair, further up onto the hills common catsear, Hypochaeris radicata, was in abundance and the heather came into bloom just before we left.