The Birds and the Bees…

Today (Friday) was the first day of sunshine here and after too many days of rain, it does bring a song into your heart.

I ventured out into the garden to finish pruning the climbing roses, before I began, I decided to do a tour with the camera. The gardener’s friend, was as usual, keeping an eye on me while providing his own welcome tune.


The Mohonia in full flower, with the sunshine, brought the honey bees out from their hives.

Mahonia Bealii


They were also visiting the Clematis which scrambles all over it.

Clematis cirrhosa balearica

The Flowers and the Trees.

By the front door there are pots planted up for a seasonal display with Carex, Ferns, Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’,  Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’, Thuja ‘Goldy and the…


…Snowdrop elwesii…

Galanthus elwesii

…and a hellebore.


Another pot contains the Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’.

Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’

On the other side of the door an Euonymus is trained against the wall with Sarcococca confusa in front…

Sarcococca confusa

…the powerful scent from the Sacococca ( Christmas Box) fills the house every time the door is opened.

Sarcococca confusa with Euonymus Emerald & Gold

In the Oriental garden the Hamamelis is in full flower, I have mentioned before I would not recommend this variety, because it holds on to its dead leaves. I removed them all before taking this picture.

Hamamelis Moll Pallida (Witch Hazel)

The sunshine was highlighting the Erica ‘Albert’s Gold’ by the entrance to the White and Green garden and the standard variegated Holly, Ilex ‘Argentea Margenata’ at the back.


Around  the Holly are planters with variegated Myrtle, Tulips just starting to show and Vinca minor ‘Alba’

Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Margenata’ & Myrtus Communis Variegata

The snowdrops are beginning to open around the garden, especially where the sun reaches…

Galanthus nivalis

…the common double, which was given to me by a friend, are clumping up well, ready to divide later on…

Galanthus ‘Flore Pleno’.

…as is the winter aconite, although more slowly.

Winter Aconite
Eranthus hyemalis

The Prunus Serrula always looks wonderful with the sunlight on its bark, its mug decorations ( Mug Tree) have so far survived the winter.

Prunus serrula

Around its roots is a Skimmia and variegated Ivy. Many gardeners fear ivy in the garden, I like to see it, the variegated forms are not so vigorous, while providing some colour to lighten a dark area of the garden along with being good for wildlife.

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ & Variegated Hedra.

It is easy to ignore plants such as Skimmia when everything else is in full flower, however at this time of year they make a welcome contribution to the garden and this one below is a little more unusual than most.

Skimmia Hermaphrodite

The House Sparrows are gathering in the top of a Viburnum before diving down on to the ground feeders.

Version 2

What ‘Birds and Bees, Flowers and Trees’ are making you sing in your garden?




Oxford Botanic Gardens.

We enjoy visiting gardens, it usually features in any holiday plans, besides giving pleasure they provide material for the blog and my garden presentations. In March 2017 we visited Oxford University Botanic Gardens.

Oxford Botanic Gardens
Oxford University Botanic Garden.

The river Cherwell runs along the one side.

IMG_0920Growing on the bank is this lovely multi stemed silver birch.


The garden was founded in 1621 making it the oldest Botanic Garden in Britain. It was originally founded to grow plants to support the teaching of medicine at the University, something that still continues today. Beneath the Parrotia Persica tree spring bulbs were in flower also in the distance a Cornus mas.

IMG_1023Almost everything growing here is classified whether it be by botanical family, geographical origin or by its use.   The family borders are planted to demonstrate which plants are related to each other. This Salix ‘Britzensis’ is in one of those borders, we have this willow in our garden. It has also been planted along side the river at Upton upon Severn a town close to us, in the Mathew Wilson designed borders. It looks particularly good alongside a pool, reflecting in the water, providing brilliant winter colour, hence its name.


Within the wall borders they grow plants from different regions New Zealand, the Mediterranean and South Africa.

Going down to the Lower Garden, you pass the Rock Garden, first built in 1926.


Plants that changed the world feature in the four allotment style beds in the Lower Garden. This one, for some reason cought my eye!


The Lower Garden has been redeveloped since 2009 by Kim Wilkie Associates to more reflect its role as a Botanic Garden.


There has been a glass house here for over 300 years. today there are more than 700 square metres of glasshouses.

The Palm House.

This is home to mainly crop plants, such as Banana, Pineapple and the Pink Banana, Musa Velutina, a species of seeded banana.

The lily House.

Here their giant Victoria Water Lily, takes pride of place the leaves of which you can see in the front of this picture.

IMG_0936This is a tropical water lily, its date of origin is prior to 1856. It is described as highly viviparous, in that its seeds begin to develop before they detach from the plant.

Oxford Botanic Garden.
Nymphaea x daubenyana

The Arid House.

Is home to their collection of cacti and succulent.


Alongside the three main glasshouses are three smaller ones.

The Alpine House uses a traditional plunge sand bed to display the plants.

Lithodora Zahnii,at first glance looks like rosemary, it is a member of the borage family.

The Fern house is devoted to displaying the many different forms of this group.                  I do like the look of Staghorn ferns or Elkhorn ferns, there are 18 species in this family.


The Insectivorous House is home to the insect eating plants.

Pitcher plant.

Throughout the glasshouses and the connecting passageways, there were many interesting plants, a few examples are in the slide show.

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I hope you have enjoyed visiting the Oxford Botanic Gardens, if you have the chance to visit for real please do. There is also the Harcourt Arboretum.

Do you have a Botanic Garden you enjoy visiting?