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Mike's Blog - Day 289

New Year’s Eve.

I meant to send a closer view of that strange Amazonian lily flower yesterday, so here it is.

The last of the Christmas themed pictures today, “the Poinsettia”.

These actually have their origins in Mexico and Central America and where once cultivated by the Aztecs for medicinal reasons. There they grow as a shrub or small tree up to 4m/13ft. They are mass produced at this time of year for the Christmas market. It is quite a fiddly process involving lots of blacking out of light with black cloths to get them into colour in time for market and the use of plant growth regulars to keep them compact. They are a euphorbia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) which is a very common genus of plants we grow in our back gardens and, like all euphorbias, they exude the classic white sticky sap as a deterrent to herbivores.

We have a much spikier version of euphorbia in the cactus house flowering at the moment. In fact it flowers most of the year round, Euphorbia milii, “the crown of thorns” from Madagascar. Given it flowers so well we don’t mind it, but it’s a terrible plant to try and weed around.

I threw a few vitamin powder coated crickets in for the Tiger Salamander today, and although it ventured out for a look, it left them alone.

A grand day for a walk today and it was good to see a large patch of teasel doing well in the lower fields down the lane where the owl boxes are.

Well, that’s it, the last (and slightly random!) blog of 2020.

Who knows what will happen over the next few weeks, but the plan is that the garden will open again on the 11th January to everyone. It won’t be business as usual. The coffeeshop and greenhouse will be closed. But anyone can visit for free, weekdays only, until we get to the next step of opening fully later in the year.

So, I’ll continue the blog until the 11th January. By my reckoning that will be day 300, so it seems a good place to end.

Wishing you all the best for 2021,