Friday 11 January 2013

Looking closely

At this time of year there is not much in the garden to photograph. No, that's not true. You just have to look a bit harder to find it.

My garden is currently "a game in two halves". On one side are the big tall Brassicas standing proud, hardy and cold-tolerant. On the other side is Plastic City, huddled up against the cold:

Hmmm. Yes, seen like that, my garden doesn't score very well on environment-friendliness! In my defence I must state though that my plastic stuff doesn't get renewed very often - I make it last several years. Some of those domes are probably 10 years old now, so assessed on an annual basis their Carbon Footprint is not catastrophic. And anyway, underneath all the plastic is an extensive array of salad plants that will make it unnecessary for me to buy any of those hothouse-raised lettuces airfreighted in from southern Spain or wherever.

Since endives and lettuce underneath plastic domes didn't appeal to me as suitable photography subjects today, I resorted to looking very closely at some other things. This is what I saw:

The Aquilegia plants are beginning to put up new leaves. This year I will have some different ones, courtesy of a couple of blogging friends who sent me seeds, and of course not forgetting my MIL who donated to me a root-division of one of her lovely plants last time we visited her.

Aquilegia leaves have a very water-resistant texture which tends to make the moisture on them form droplets:

The leaves of Cavolo Nero don't have quite the same properties, but I today one of them had little droplets of water hanging off its edges, like a necklace of tiny pearls:

The Clematis is just bursting into life, and if you look closely you can see it is covered in buds.

The seed-heads of the Oregano and Marjoram are still more or less intact. Last year, when the weather at this time was much colder, the seeds were eaten by Goldfinches. I once saw a flock of about 8 or 10 of them flitting around the garden, but this Winter the most I have seen simultaneously is two.

Our Bronze Maple tree has grown quite big (it must be over 20 years old now, because we planted it soon after we moved in here, which was at the end of 1991), and it has thrust aside the black weed-suppressing membrane that lies under the shingle. This membrane material has been populated by moss, creating a lush green miniature garden.

All around the garden at present there are little spiders' webs at ground level, like this

And this...

Does anyone know which spiders make this very dense type of web?

That's it for today folks - I do have some work to do, you know...


  1. I once took lots of photos of webs like those and tried to find which spider built then and all I could find was it was maybe a labyrinth or funnel spider. Wonder if someone can give a positive ID?

  2. My brassicas don't really stand proud right now. They always wilt during the winter. Well my kale. I can't see if the Asian greens are alive or not.

  3. I'm impressed by your dome city. It looks very efficient and commercial - which is attractive in my eyes. My favourite for waterproof plants is lupins. They get one bright water jewel in the middle of each circle of leaves.

  4. Beautiful photos, as always.
    Wishing you a restful week end.

  5. It's surprising what you can find if you look closely. The bell cloches look fine I need to get a few of them for my plots but that's another day.

  6. Even now after a couple years it is striking to me how different our climates are. Enjoy the mild weather!

  7. It looks good to me! I acquired my first allotment this year, probably not the best year to start but at least it hasn't put me off! Can I ask, does the condensation in the cloches not cause the plant to become mouldy as there is no airflow?

    1. My long cloches have variable-aperture air-vents at each end, the big domes have closeable vents at the crown, and even with the small domes I always ensure that the domes are not flush against the soil, but have sufficient access for air to come in. As it happens, many of the little domes have holes / cracks in them because the blessed foxes have sat on them! :)


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