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    winston @winston

    @pedant  Those pics are great and I will google the place later to learn more. Thanks for posting them.

    As for the ospreys, it looks like spring has sprung. As for the tee shirts, I wore one in the 70s and my brother had a poster. Sooooo tacky it makes me blush.


    Paging @mudlark, paging…

    Any idea what this is (in woodland)?

    Not sure...will check

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Judging by the photo I’m pretty certain that it’s Ground Ivy (glechoma hederacea) which is fairly common in woodland and shady places and flowers April-June (no relation of hedera helix, obviously)


    @mudlark (and not madlark, as I just accidentally typed and nearly didn’t spot!)

    Many thanks. Have had an alternative id of dog violet, but I think the sheen on the leaves supports your conclusion.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    The way I’ve been feeling lately, Madlark wouldn’t be entirely inappropriate.

    It’s definitely not Dog Violet, although that was my first thought until I took a closer look.  Ground Ivy was the next thing that came to mind, evoking memories of my rural childhood, but considering how long it is since I last saw the latter I did check in Keble Martin’s British Flora to make sure. The leaves of the two species are superficially similar but there are considerable differences in the form of the stems and the manner of growth and the flowers are also different except in colour; dog violets don’t have that lobed lower petal, and the form of the calyx also differs.



    Many thanks! And here’s another(growing beneath a blackthorn hedge that backed onto a garden). A friend suggests lesser periwinkle.

    Another id mystery - possibly a garden escape

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Periwinkle certainly, but without a measure of scale it’s difficult to be certain whether greater (vinca major) or lesser (vinca minor).  Judging by the shape of the leaves alone I suspect that it is probably vinca major. The leaves of vinca minor are narrower and more lanceolate and the plant as a whole, needless to say, is smaller. One tell-tale difference, according to Keble Martin, is that in vinca minor the lobes of the calyx are glabrous and in vinca major they are ciliate. The location under a hedge is fairly typical of either, whether planted as a cultivar or in the wild as a garden escape.

    winston @winston

    Happy Earth Day to everyone! I hope you all got a chance to get outside and enjoy the little piece of earth that is yours. My little corner is filled with song birds and ducks and turtles and even a local beaver (we call him Justin) living in our creek. The earth is truly a marvelous place to be. We showed her our love by picking up a big bag of garbage from our creek. @pedant  I checked out a few local nesting platforms and spotted 4 pair of osprey taking advantage of them. It was good to see them back. @mudlark  I have crocus aplenty in bloom all over my garden , I am so thirsty for colour and they are trying their best to satisfy it. Spring has come to Ontario.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Scrub my tentative identification above; it’s evident that my visual memory is becoming less reliable. Yesterday, working in the garden, I came across some Greater Periwinkle lurking at the back of the shrubbery – it rarely flowers, which is why I tend to overlook it. With that as a more immediate basis for comparison I can confidently confirm that your friend is correct; your photo is of Lesser Periwinkle (vinca minor).


    Crocuses are always a welcome harbinger of spring and it is good to know that it has finally arrived in your corner of the world. By all accounts you have had a particularly brutal winter. And how lovely to have your own local beaver! Beavers have recently been reintroduced to Britain in a few selected places, seemingly with beneficial result to some local ecosystems although not everyone thinks it is a good idea. At least they were once indigenous to this island, which cannot be said of coypus which were at one time farmed here for their fur, escaped, established themselves in this area and became a pest. In the 1960s when we lived next to a river our cat, a Siamese, once caught a young one*, and very proud of herself she was too; doing her best to re-establish the local ecological balance.

    Here the crocuses blooms are long past and I am currently engaged in clearing the shaggy foliage which is now beginning to die back, so as to give the emerging herbaceous plants some space and air . It’s weird to think that we here in East Anglia are further north in latitude than you are, but then that’s the effect of the Gulf Stream and a maritime climate. Over the Easter holiday we have been enjoying unseasonably summery weather, with blazing sunshine and temperatures in the 20s C, though here, near the North Sea coast it is cooler than inland. Lovely, except when you reflect that it probably another indicator of climate change.

    As regards tadpole watch, my pessimism was unfounded. There are squillions of them, and the surface of the pond is now in constant bubbling motion as a result. Only a small fraction of them will reach maturity as froglets, alas. I doubt if there are any dragonfly or damsel fly larvae to predate them this year, but they do tend to develop cannibalistic tendencies as they get bigger.

    * I was not at home at the time but by all accounts it was as big as herself. An adult would have been quite beyond even her predatory capacity, of course.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @mudlark I had never heard of a Coypus before so looked them up. They remind me of an Australian native the Poteroo, a Kangaroo-rat only the later are far cuter. They had one in the petting area of the Zoo and the R.2, when he was young and cute himself, bonded to it. I suspect they would make good pets.

    Your post reminds me of spring in Sweden. As soon as the snow melted the ground was bursting with shoots and by Easter there were crocuses (which are rarely seen here), flowing amidst a dusting of late snow. I am also more than a little envious. Your garden sounds so green and alive. Mine is turning into a dust bowl. We went for a drive yesterday up “The Valley” and the paddocks now are also turning into dust bowls. The earth is brown and parched and there is no sign of relief. We have not had rain for months now. I fear it is taking a toll of our struggling wildlife too.




    thane16 @thane16

    @janetteb @mudlark @winston

    Did someone mention “vinca”  ??

    Part of my gardening work (motive: helps with pain relief; as the garden sits VERY close to the footpath & we have a large tuckeroo,  judiciously taken care of, – but presenting a tendency to naughtiness: it doesn’t like to share the water) was to double dig & work on my soils For those who didn’t know this, Mudlark Manor demonstrated all sorts of gardening tips & horticultural ideas which I’ve implemented. They’ve had a tremendous impact on my little cottage garden. Many drinks from the multiverse of The OA (cue @pedant who administered this fantastic series into our lives) are owed to Mudlark.

    One of the plants I purchased in early March were vincas. I hadn’t seen them before but assumed this was all ‘new’ stock at Bunnings. For those who don’t know this gardening/outdoor/hardware store, Bunnings bought up many traditional hardware shops, whilst others continued on, sadly, for many years & eventually had to close as the competition was impossible to beat: “Bunnings has it all. Don’t go anywhere else.”

    Even small nurseries, passed down from great-grandads, toppled. So.….at Bunnings you’ve people who know little about horticulture, potting mixes, alkalinity etc. For any decent knowledge I pulled out my late father’s gardening books &, as one often does,  consulted Mudlark.

    I had several vinca punnets (with 6 inch seedlings) planted under the tree & whilst other perennials flourished & end of stock annuals continued to flower, only 7 of the original  24  seedlings/individual plants survived.

    Naturally,  my first thought was “the dreaded possums” so I used  hefty doses of chilli powder near the sweeter plants these possum devils like to barricade whilst cheering along their buddies in shrill & rousing chorus of revolutionary songs about Jean Valjean. They are to be guillotined if the chilli powder has gotten around their defences (seriously though, I can’t even kill our fat, silver & green caterpillars which turn into lawn grubs & decimate an entire lawn in under eight weeks).

    Anywaaaay, none of the sweeter plants have shrivelled or escaped over mountains sound-of-music style. Just vincas. I’m getting obsessed with keeping the remaining ones alive. I just KNOW the happy, dog walkers who chirp: “oh, you have such a beautiful garden” whilst muttering on another day (when they think I can’t hear them) “yez, she has SO much time on her hands, huh, heh, heh heh.”  Others have long, fruitful discussions with me, saying “LOVE the lavender….erm, is it?” I say, patiently, “Nope, that would be rosemary” And later, “this, what is this here?”

    I sigh, “that would be soil, mate, just regular dirt.” *

    More sighing.

    So. How do we solve a problem like a vinca?


    thane16 @thane16

    @winston indeed the pix! @pedant is a brilliant photographer & if I’m miserable about not going further afield -beyond my fence, in other words -I look at the photographs. It’s real mastery of the craft.

    Thane & Puro

    janetteB @janetteb

    @thane16 I have grown Vincas, a long time ago. they did not flourish. The only plant that does flourish here, other than Bougainvillea, which other members of the family consider to be a weed, is Rosemary. My Rosemary supplies the culinary needs of the street however even my poor Rosemary shrubs are looking dry and sad at the moment.

    I share your frustration regarding photography. I don’t get many opportunities to flex my photographic muscles, (not well developed ones, it is very much a hobby) these days. We keep talking about going camping for a couple of days but have yet to get it organised. there always seems to be too many other commitments getting in the way.



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