Allotment Diary 2014 July
The plot was full of colourful nectar rich plants attracting bees, butterflies and other insects this year. The bed of mixed flowers was still in bloom at the end of July, the achillea attracting many flying insects and there was a splendid peacock butterfly on the white buddleia. Again many thanks to Tony for all his hard work.
Allotment Diary 2013 (April/May)
Tony started work on the allotment in mid-April with the planting of sweet pea seedlings which he had nurtured from the previous year’s seeds. Esme and Viv then helped with the weeding of the other flower beds. Viv had to be carefully supervised as anything slightly “weedy” or “dead” looking means instant removal although she is pretty good at identifying the encroaching grass, buttercups and willow herb (or were they willow herb?). Some of the perennials are already coming through such as sweeet william, achillea and the “poached egg” plants. These were all very successful in attracting insects and butterflies last year. Tony has transplanted foxgloves and forget-me-nots and has sewn a variety of flower seeds again chosen to attract insects and butterflies. Thanks to Tony’s hard work the allotment is once again looking very cared for and if you would like to take a look it is number 31, slightly triangular in shape next to the footpath/ditch opposite the fruit trees.
Tony has masterminded the allotment along with Viv to produce yet another stunning display.
All the plants have been chosen with wildlife in mind and go to demonstrate how easy it is to produce a wildlife friendly display. It has thrived considering the inclement conditions that we have had this year.
Allotment Plant List 2012
Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials commonly called foxgloves. This genus was traditionally placed in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae, but recent reviews of phylogenetic research have placed it in the much enlarged family Plantaginaceae.This genus is native to western and southwestern Europe, western and central Asia, Australasia and northwestern Africa. The scientific name means “finger-like” and refers to the ease with which a flower of Digitalis purpurea can be fitted over a human fingertip. The flowers are produced on a tall spike, are tubular, and vary in colour with species, from purple to pink, white, and yellow. The best-known species is the common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea. This biennial plant is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its vivid flowers. These range in colour from various purple tints through various shades of light gray, and to purely white. The flowers can also possess various marks and spottings.
The first year of growth of the common foxglove produces only the stem with its long, basal leaves. During the second year of the plant’s life, a long, leafy stem from 50 to 255 centimeters tall grows atop the roots of healthy plants.
The term digitalis is also used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides, particularly one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus.
Achillea is a genus of about 85 flowering plants, in the family Asteraceae. The common name “yarrow” is normally applied to Achillea millefolium, but may also be used for other species within the genus. They occur in Europe and temperate areas of Asia. A few grow in North America. These plants typically have frilly, hairy, aromatic leaves.
These plants show large, flat clusters of small flowers at the top of the stem. These flowers can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red.
The genus was named for the Greek mythological character Achilles. According to the Iliad, Achilles’ soldiers used yarrow to treat their wounds, hence some of its common names such as allheal and bloodwort.
Achillea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.
Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) is a species of Dianthus native to southern Europe and parts of Asia which has become a popular ornamental garden plant. It is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant growing to 30–75 cm tall, with flowers in a dense cluster of up to 30 at the top of the stems. Each flower is 2–3 cm diameter with five petals displaying serrated edges. Wild plants produce red flowers with a white base, but colours in cultivars range from white, pink, red, and purple or with variegated patterns. The exact origin of its English common name is unknown, but first appears in 1596 in botanist John Gerard’s garden catalog. The flowers are edible and may have medicinal properties. Sweet William attracts bees, birds, and butterflies.
Poppy is a group of a flowering plants in the poppy family. They are grown for their colorful flowers, and some species can be used for food. Poppies are sometimes used for symbolic reasons, such as in remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.
Poppy flowers have 4 to 6 petals. The petals may be almost any color, and some have markings. Before blooming, the petals are crumpled in the bud, and as blooming finishes, the petals often lie flat before falling away. A whorl of stamens is in the center of the flower.
The pollen of the oriental poppy, Papaver orientale, is dark blue. The pollen of the field poppy or corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is dark green to grey. Bees use poppies as a pollen source.
One species, the opium poppy, is particularly famous, for it is commonly used for its nutritious poppy seed, as well as for the creation of opiate drugs such as opium, codeine, morphine and heroin.
It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 meters (nearly six feet and six inches), where suitable support is available. The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants and structures helping the sweet pea to climb. The flowers are purple, 2-3.5 centimeters broad, in the wild plant, larger and very variable in colour in the many cultivars.
The annual species, L. odoratus, may be confused with the everlasting pea, L. latifolius, a perennial.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence (flowering head). The sunflower is named after its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image are often used to depict the sun. It has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds, on a receptacle base. From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Leaves of the sunflower can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana, syn. Majorana hortensis Moench, Majorana majorana (L.) H. Karst) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle-eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano, and there the names sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants of the genus Origanum.
The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major). Marjoram is indigenous to the Mediterranean area, and was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness.
Iberis commonly called candytuft, is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Brassicaceae. It comprises herbs and subshrubs of the Old World. The name “candytuft” is not related to candy, but derives from Candia, the former name of Iraklion on the island of Crete.
According to the US Dispensatory (1918), the leaves, stem, and root are said to possess medicinal properties, but the seeds are most efficacious. The plant appears to have been employed by the ancients in rheumatism, gout, and other diseases. In large doses it is said to produce giddiness, nausea, and diarrhea, and to be useful in cardiac hypertrophy, asthma, and bronchitis in doses of from one to three grains (0.065—0.2 Gm.) of the seed. Currently the foliage and stalks are employed in German phytomedicine as a bitter digestive tonic, and it is used in homeopathy for nervousness and muscle soreness.
The type species is Echium vulgare, viper’s bugloss. Species of Echium are native to North Africa, Europe, Madeira and the Canary Islands, but have also become invasive in southern Africa and Australia. One species, Echium plantagineum (Patterson’s Curse), has become a major invasive species in Australia.
Many species are used as ornamental and garden plants and may be found in suitable climates throughout the world. In Crete Echium italicum is called pateroi or voidoglosses and its tender shoots are eaten boiled or steamed.
Echium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora onosmella and Orange Swift.
Echium oil contains high levels of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA), making it valuable in cosmetic and skin care applications, with further potential as a functional food, as an alternative to fish oils.
Limnanthes is a genus of annual herbaceous plants commonly known as the meadowfoams. The seven species are all native to coastal and adjoining regions (inland valleys, foothills and mountains) of western North America, where they typically grow in marshy habitats, such as the margins of vernal pools. Some are endemic to California
General form ranges from decumbent to erect, with leaves either pinnately lobed or compound; the lobes or leaflets may themselves range from entire to deeply lobed. Both 4- and 5-sepaled and petaled members are known.
The white meadowfoam Limnanthes alba is of commercial interest for its oil, while several other species are rare or endangered.
Lavender (botanic name Lavandula) is a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils.
Buddleja, or Buddleia commonly known as the butterfly bush, is a genus of flowering plants. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr. William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle’s death.
Myosotis from the Greek: “mouse’s ear”, after the leaf) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae (or Cynoglossum family) that are commonly called Forget-me-nots. Its common name was calqued from the French, ne m’oubliez pas and first used in English in c. 1532. Similar names and variations are found in many languages.
Dipsacus is a genus of flowering plant in the family Dipsacaceae. The members of this genus are known as teasel or teazel or teazle. The genus includes about 15 species of tall herbaceous biennial plants (rarely short-lived perennial plants) growing to 1–2.5 metres (3.3–8.2 ft) tall. Dipsacus are native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
The seeds are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably the European Goldfinch. Teasels are often grown in gardens and encouraged on some nature reserves to attract them.
Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”, because in many locations, it needs no water other than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live.
Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats.