18 December 2012

Life at Lake Ellsworth

This week a very exciting mission began at Antarctica. The search for life 3km under the surface of the ice. While we may have some headlines in the near future, the scientific papers that will detail the findings are not likely to be published until late 2013. Exciting times.

More on the mission here:

04 December 2012

Welted Thistle - Carduus crispus

Date Photographed: 01/07/2012
Location: The Avenue, Claverton
Resources: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Carduus+crispus

03 December 2012

Book Review: Gardening Techniques, RHS New Encyclopedia of

This was the best present that I ever bought for Lucy. I'm not sure she's ever actually looked in it, but I certainly have. I spent Spring 2011 reading it during lunch breaks and managed to get around 150 pages in before other things took over my time.

What do I like about this book? I like that it's a general all-rounder, with a breadth of topics and also what it covers within a topic. Take, for instance, Roses. The book begins with buying roses, moves on to planting roses and routine care, before discussing bush roses, climbing and rambling roses, species and shrub roses, and standard roses. Then to finish the topic of roses, the book discusses rose renovation and rose pests and diseases.

I also like the wonderful illustrations of the techniques described, they really make this book something special. An example being all of the illustrations for pruning all the different types of plants in the book, they're all unique. They show you exactly where to chop and how to train that plant. Mixed in are photographs of plants and flowers, which are also sometimes used to illuminate the topic further, as well as for interest.

The book covers the following general topics, there are sub-topics within them, but you'll have to search them out as I only have so much time to copy this list out!!
  1. Gardening Basics
  2. Wildlife Gardening
  3. Ornamental Gardening
  4. Growing Vegetables and Herbs
  5. Growing Fruit
  6. Lawns
  7. Water Gardening
  8. Container Gardening
  9. Gardening Under Glass
  10. Plant Propogation
I also like this book because it took a team of about 15 experts in their field to create it. Meaning that you get the best of the current information at the time of print.

But this leads me on to what I don't like about the book. With so many cooks in the kitchen, or more aptly so many gardeners in the greenhouse, the book does lack personality. I know that they have to choose a house style for the book and stick to it chapter after chapter, but it was a bit much for me at times. I have read a heafty chuck of this 480 page book, which is why I go back to it time and time again - because while I may not remember something specific, I remember the information I need is in this book. So for that, it's a go-er for me. I'll just dip in and out over time and get through it - the book's too useful not to.

My review is of the 2008 edition and I've noticed that there is a new edition coming in October 2012, so I've added that to the Amazon widget below too.


 
 
Own or Loan:         Loan
Read Again:           Not in entirety, just the relevant parts
Recommend:         Yes
Overall out of Five:4
 

"Collecting" : The everyday struggle

As many readers of this blog will know, I admit to having that hoarding instinct. Sometimes to make ourselves feel happier with what we're hoarding we call it collecting.

That can make it much harder to deal with if we see that it's a problem and want to deal with it.





For instance, the other day I was in a book store and there was a book about the gardening at the Eden Project down in Cornwall. It was a bit tatty, but was only £1.99. I felt those familiar pangs of wanting to buy the book and to place it on the shelf with my "collection" of gardening books.

Luckily, I'm quite well versed with this now and as I leafed through the books I asked myself the standard questions:
1) If I buy this book will I have time to read it immediately; if not would I make time? No.
2) Do I want a book specifically about the Eden Project? Not really.
3) Is there anywhere else I could buy this book - probably in better condition for less money? Yes. Many options online!
4) Is there anywhere I could read this book or a book like it for free? Yes. The library
5) Do I want this book? No.

What this made me realise is that I would like to read a book about the Eden Project. But not in isolation. I'd like to read a book about the Eden Project just before we next visit it - which as we made our second trip to it last year, is unlikely in the near future.

It made a lot of sense to say no to myself about this book. I have a very intensive OU module that I'm currently studying that requires I read many books leaving me with little time. In addition, I've asked for a couple of books for Christmas, ones that I've researched and ones that I'd decided months ago I wanted - not ones I'd stumbled upon accidentally and wanted because of the 'now' factor - the feeling of short lived happiness I'd get from buying the book before the long lived disappointment that I caved in to myself and bought a book that I might read (at the soonest) in a couple of years, but might never read.

It just goes to show that even a successful decluttering project doesn't mean we're fixed forever. It's something that we have to recognise and question constantly if we're to keep aligned to our goals!

Happy minimalism to you all :)

02 December 2012

30 November 2012

S173 Plants and People - Conclusion

One of the amazing illustrations from my notes!
Before I got bogged down with lots of other study, you may remember that I was studying and writing up some notes from the Open University Plants and People module.

Well today the result came in and... I passed!

I really enjoyed the module and it was definitely a benefit to this beginner in the study of plants.

I've now completed 6 of the 10 point modules which means I have now achieved my undergraduate Certificate in Contemporary Science! Wahay!

If you want to read some of the notes and see what the module it all about, see the first set of notes here.


Hogweed - Heracleum sphondylium

Date Photographed: 23/06/2012
Location: Wiltshire
Resources: http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/heracleum_sphondylium.php

29 November 2012

Tales from the Wild Wood

Takes from the Wild Wood is a BBC series about one man's year long journey to turn a derelict woodland into a healthy and financially viable woodland.

It's a series that I found quite inspiring because for many years now I've wanted to own my own bit of woodland and have spent many an hour looking at the woodlands for sale on websites such as http://www.woodlands.co.uk/ and http://www.woods4sale.co.uk/. While I doubt I'll ever be able to afford to buy a piece of woodland, I think it's wonderful to have a television series that shows that it is possible to make ours woodlands our way of life once more.

For those with the initial money, time and confidence; skills can be gained, relationships forged and time can be well spent learning the way of the woodland. No only can we go back to how we used to manage woodland for traditional products such as charcoal and furniture, but we can embrace the modern activities that take place in woodlands such as mountain biking and perhaps even Geocaching.

It is inspiring to was Rob (the man on the journey) arrive at Strawberry Cottage Wood with few skills, but bursting with enthusiasm and over the 6 episodes (1 year) grow in skills and confidence as he works the woodland making it not only a healthier ecosystem, but a place that will pay for itself.

The programmes are still available for the next month or so and the clips will be available for quite some time. If you can't access them via the BBC website, then it may be worth checking YouTube as the BBC have their own space there.

28 November 2012

Sharpening Garden Tools

It's gotten to that time of year where if you're like me, it's definitely time to give your tools some TLC. I've gotten better over the years and now tend to wipe most of the dirt off my tools after each use, but as I have quite cheap tools I do tend to 'forget'.

The other day I spent an hour just sorting out my tools. This included using some sand paper (I've run out of wire wool!) to clean off any dirt and rust. I also sharpened the blades on the secateurs, axe, gardening scissors and knife with a sharpening stone. I also removed damage to the edges of the secateurs and spade where indents have appeared. I still need to apply some linseed oil to the stem of the fork, but I did apply some lubricant to the secateurs and gardening scissors and they're in much better condition now.

Here's a video below that seems to me to be the best on YouTube! There was some good advice from Monty Don from BBC Gardener's World the other week - mark the bevel of the blade with a permanent marker pen. This allows you to see where you've sharpened and allows you to sharpen evenly and not concentrate unnecessarily on one area of the blade. The video below is just for tips as I'm sure a lot of you, unlike me, have your own routines well in place.

27 November 2012

Parasitic Plants

Mistletoe
Parasitic plants can get a bad name for themselves, in fact some of the most detested 'parasites' aren't parasites at all.

Take, for instance, ivy. Ivy often has a bad name because people thing that it's parasitic on trees and can kill them. Ivy isn't parasitic as it can photosynthesize and has it's feeding roots, that provide nutrients and water, in the ground. However, ivy does throw out 'roots' that provide the superglue-like adhesive that allow it to stick to the tree - or house! - to get it to a height where it can change from juvenile to adult. So it can be easy to make this mistake.

True parasites are either Holoparasites or Hemiparasites: 
  • Hemiparasites contain little or no chlorophyll and therefore cannot photosynthesise. They reply completely on the host plant for nutrients, fixed carbon and water.  
  • Hemiparasites can photosynthesise and therefore normally just rely on the host for water and nutrients.
They attach to their host either at the host's stem or root.

The parasitic mistletoe is a classic hemiparasite that attaches via the stem. In the UK mistletoes are now being encouraged due to worries that they may disappear from our landscape in the near future. They are commonly grown on trees in orchards, like the example below that was photographed at The Courts Gardens in Holt that is run by the National Trust. As mistletoe doesn't require too many resources, the tree isn't badly affected by the presence of the mistletoe and will do just fine.


Here's another example of mistletoe, this time in The Netherlands. Mistletoe seems much more common there than here - and is obviously abundant in the photo above. I have visited this part of The Netherlands over the past 28 years and always remember the balls of mistletoe in the area, which is testament to the ability of the trees to cope with this sort of parasite.













To the left is the hemiparasite, the purple toothwort. As you can see it has no leaves or other green parts and therefore has no chlorophyll to photosynthesise with and relies on the perennials that it parasitises, including trees, via their roots to survive.














Another example of a hemiparasite is the common broomrape. However, which this parasite attaches to the root of host plants, it parasitises plants similar in size to itself. While purple toothwort attaches to perennials such as trees, the common broomrape attaches itself to the roots of clover.
One can only imagine how many attachments it requires to nearby clover plants to throw up these impressive flower spikes.










It's easy to see why parasitism is an attractive way of live, in fact there are around 4000 species of parasitic plants identified to date. However if the parasite puts too much of a drain on the host, then when the host dies, it may die too. To combat this, root parasites can attach to the roots of many plants and will only be affected when wider environmental aspects come into play.

26 November 2012

Decluttering and Minimalist Websites

I found that when I started getting into decluttering and then minimalism reading other people's blogs was a great help. They helped me to stay aware of my goals in this subject and to make sure that I'm not being minimalistic for the sake of it or getting rid of things that do have value in my life.

http://brooks-palmer.blogspot.co.uk/
The first blog I started reading was Clutter Busting with Brooks Palmer. Brooks is a clutter busting professional in the US and I've been reading his blog for around 3 years now. He blogs about his adventures in helping his clients declutter and how he helped them think in a way that allowed them to confront their clutter issues.

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/decluttercalendar.htm
This year I found a website that provides access to a decluttering calendar. This is ideal because you can either print it out or where possible import it into your email application and receive reminders. I imported the calendar into Outlook and find the reminders helpful because they are just short tasks that I can read, decide if they're things that I need to do, and quickly get rid of the reminder.

http://www.slowyourhome.com/
Here's another great web resource for decluttering and slowing down your home. This blog concentrates on simplifying your life and slowing down the pace. It also has a fab bootcamp set of emails to get you going!

http://www.theminimalists.com/
http://www.missminimalist.com/
These are two great minimalist blogs. As a minimalist I should probably only have put one blog up on here! But I enjoy reading both blogs and think that if you want to find out more about minimalism without feeling like you have to live with fewer than 10 items, then you probably will too! Miss Minimalist shares stories from her readership that can be inspiring and show that we can all be more aware about stuff at any point in our lives.

Hope these are interesting for you. Happy reading!

25 November 2012

Riband Wave moth - Idaea aversata

Date Photographed: 25/07/2012
Location: Melksham
Resources: http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4171
Notes: The experts at Wild About Britain advise that this is a very variable moth.

23 November 2012

BTCV Conservation Task - 2007

Now here's a project we were involved with a long time ago! The task was a weekend away in Whichford with the BTCV (now The Conversation Volunteers) and involved clearing out an old moat which had become clogged with reeds; as below:

As reeds propagate using underground rootstocks (or rhizomes), it wouldn't be enough to just grab them, yank and hope for the best. We had to get up close and pull the reed as low down as possible, otherwise next year would find the moat in the same condition as we'd found it as the rhizomes would have sent out many new shoots.
Such fun!
 Everyone really got stuck in and we were able to get a lot of reed out of the moat. We created piles of the stuff in the hope that it would provide a temporary habitat for wildlife while it rotted down and gave back to the soil.

King of the reeds

By the end of the weekend I think we all needed to go back to work for a rest! I think we all did a fantastic job and you can judge for yourself with the 'after' shot below.

22 November 2012

The RHS, Wisley and Orchids

We took some time out on our way home from a weekend with some of Lucy's family by popping in to Wisley.

Firstly, we didn't get chance to see the shop last time because it was Easter Sunday, but we did this time - TWICE! It was awesome, so many books that the hoarder in me wanted to buy just to have them on my bookcase!

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Wisley told me some really cool facts about Orchids.  For a start there over 25,000 species of orchids, it may not be surprising then that there are some orchids that grow as far North as Norway (although it was to me!). Around ,000 hybrids are added to the current total of 110,000 hybrid each year. The RHS seems to be very involved with orchids and manages the Register of Orchid Hybrids and releases information about the new orchids each year in The Orchid Review.

The fact that perhaps most surprised me was that vanilla extract comes from the seed pods of an orchid. A quick look online told me that the extract is from orchids of the genus Vanilla (who knew!?) and mainly from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla.

Anyway enough of the facts, let's have a look at some of the orchid displays at Wisley.


21 November 2012

The Relaxation of Raking

I've always enjoyed raking. It's one of those tasks that give immediate gratification because every pass you make with the rake shows you the positive affect that you're making. Whether it be those pesky autumn leaves that look beautiful with their rusty colours up in the tree; but that can look like a mass of brown sludge when fallen, or grass or indeed the gravel of a wonderful Japanese garden - everything looks noticeably better when the raking is done.

I'd never noticed before, how raking allows your thoughts to be free and wander through a garden of their own making. Because raking can be carried out on auto pilot, this freedom can be accessed immediately - often with results in the mind that mirror the results of the raking.

Now I've recognised this added benefit of the simple task of raking, I look forward to it more and more. A big part of the task for the Living Churchyard Project that we're a part of is raking up grass and it's what I'll be doing again this coming Saturday followed, I'm sure, by a lovely cup of tea! I'm looking forward to the thoughts that will flow freely through my mind during this time as much as I'm looking forward to the task itself. Such is the wonder of gardening; such is the wonder of nature.

19 November 2012

Frog Spawn; Part the Second


Once upon a time I wrote a blog post about frog spawn. I'd never seen it - ever - in real life, but this year managed to not only see it, but follow the journey from frog spawn to froglet that these amphibians make.

It was interesting to see how developed the tadpoles become within the spawn.
Lots of tadpoles where hiding from predators in the grassy shallows of the pond.
By mid-June the majority of the development was done. This froglet has just a small amount of tadpole tail left, but other than that it is a frog.

06 November 2012

Book Review: Tales from Titchmarsh

Here's a nice easy going book that I loaned from our local library. It's a compilation of Alan's articles in the Gardener's World magazine.

Now with all authors that write about themselves, it takes me a while to decide if I like their writing style and to some degree, if I like them. But with a third of the book gone and the rest on its way to being devoured, I decided that I do like this Titchmarsh lad. I thought I did, after seeing him on Gardener's World and Ground Force for all those years, but now I know for sure.

The book is chaptered off in months, I assume it's to group the articles into the month they were written! It starts in January with Alan talking about gaining wisdom in the garden as we age and ends in December with Alan talking about Christmas during his Parks Department days.

I think you've got to get on with Mr. Titchmarsh if you're to read this book, because really it's a sort of diary. We come across some of the same topics a few times in the book, for instance, those Parks Department days, and the 'sons and daughters of the soil' line, but it's a nice easy read about a topic I enjoy: gardening. There are a couple of fun articles about the meaning of flower names and a brilliant one about his mum and the Duchess of Devonshire, simply entitled 'Mum'.

There are some nice line-drawn ilustrations that head the article titles, these are rotated through the book and don't always correlate with the topic, but are a nice distraction if you need a break inbetween readings!

If you can get it at your library, then I'd suggest giving this a read. It's not going to blow you're mind with life changing revelations, but I don't think the book was compiled for that. It was compiled to give one man's view on the state of affairs that come with gardening. It helps that he's a good writer and adds a dash of humour every now and then. Overall a nice easy read inbetween deeper reading material!


 
 
Own or Loan:         Loan
Read Again:           No
Recommend:         Yes for inbetween heavy books
Overall out of Five:3
 

09 October 2012

Fall, Leaves, Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Bronte

Hedge Bindweed - Calystegia sepium

Date Photographed: 01/07/2012
Location: King George V Park, Melksham
Resources: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=241

Green Shield Bug - Palomena prasina

Date Photographed: 19/06/2012
Location: Tower Road, Melksham
Resources: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/wildlifegarden/atoz/g/greenshieldbug.aspx

06 October 2012

Minimalism or the journey of the personal choice

I asked my girlfriend, Lucy, the other day what she would say minimalism is if given the following three choices: More than enough, Enough, Less than enough.

She said she'd put it at less than enough. As Lucy isn't in to minimalism, she's only seen and heard what the general public are given the chance to see and hear about minimalism. She also thought that minimalists are very good at hiding their things, which was due to a 'minimalist' couple building a house on Grand Designs recently. The house wasn't minimalist and neither were they - but that's just my opinion.

Which brings me to my point. Minimalism is a personal choice, which can lead to a rewarding journey. Unfortunately we hear too much about people living with only 100 things. While being, in my opinion, unfeasible for any real length of time for most of us - is generally just untrue. It's all about perception and depth. Anyone with a laptop is already living with well over 100 things. Every hardware component and software application is a thing - but these aren't counted. Some don't even count accessories, for instance a USB mouse for that laptop, is just part of 'laptop', so it the laptop bag that stores it.

I feel that while having an aim of 100 things can be useful, it's more important to do things at a slow pace. Lucy and myself have been decluttering for a few years now. Each time we come back to a room or set of items, we realise that there are more things that we feel able and ready to let go. I really enjoy this process. I enjoy not rushing it. The adventure is in the journey and I find that learning about myself in relation to objects is worthwhile. I find that while I am happy to get rid of most things in our home, there are lots of things that really look good where we've placed them. So while we don't need to get rid of them, they'll stay - because they brighten up our day and help to make our home feel homely and cosy and it allows us to put our print on the house.

Here's a cool little video that points out some of the unfortunate things that people may think minimalism is, but isn't - apart from a few extremists. Enjoy:


04 October 2012

Tutsan - Hypericum androsaemum

Date Photographed: 07/07/2012
Location: Melksham
Resources: http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/tutsan

03 October 2012

Self heal - Prunella vulgaris

Date Photographed: 20/07/2012
Location: Tower Road, Melksham
Resources: http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Prunella-vulgaris.htm

02 October 2012

Digital Decluttering - Small Steps

Everything that you do digitally requires electricity, from reading the news to updating your profile on Facebook. I recently felt a real need to minimise time that I spent online and remove as much information about myself from the internet as possible in an attempt to minimise the power required to store information about me or for me.

While I accept that this may only save small amounts of electricity, if the removal of my information or photographs from a website mean that the company involved don't need to buy another server for a while, then surely that's something. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but here's what I did just in case you felt inclined to try the same:

1) Reduce time on time sapping sites
For me this is Facebook and the Daily Mail news website - places I use as a place of mindless entertainment. As Gretchin Rubin of the Happiness Project says, they provide just enough to keep you going and stop you from thinking of more fun stuff to do!
To minimise my time on these sites I downloaded an add-on called LeechBlock. This is an add-on for web browsers that allows you to set time limits on websites. As soon as you breach the time limit, you're blocked! After choosing the websites to block, you choose after how long on the site the block is implemented. I've chosen that after 60 minutes in any 24 hour period for these two websites, the websites will be blocked until the next day. If I try to access the websites within this blocked period, then I'm shown a page telling me that the site is blocked.
A handy feature is that if you accidentally leave the site open which you're looking at other tabs, LeechBlock won't count this towards your 'allowance'. If you need access to your sites for longer, you can disable LeechBlock, for instance I needed access to Facebook for one of my study groups for a prolonged period of time yesterday.


2) Search your name and email address in various search engines.
The reason for this isn't to 'vanish without a trace' from the Internet, but just to only have relevant information on there - although if you are worried that you don't know what information is collected during your daily life, check this scenario on the Discovery Channel website. This section can be helpful to ensure that you only let employers or potential employers see what's important! (As well as saving electricity, of course).
Every time there's a search result for your name, it means that storage space and electricity is being used to keep it there. Firstly on the originating website's server and secondly on the search engine server - if you have no need for that information to be there, then it's best to delete it.
Firstly you need to go to the originating website and request that the information be removed. This is most commonly done by removing or deleting your account. Most of the time there is a 'delete account' button available on your account or profile page; however, sometimes you will need to email the site to remove the content.
Secondly, after your account is deleted, you will need to contact the search engine to have the content removed. Google, for example, have a removal tool that allows you to request the removal of pages from its search results. It's really easy to do and Google carried out the removal requests I made within a couple of days. For more information see here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1663688

3) Remove old or unwanted content on sites that you do use. My example here is Facebook. I had a lot of old photos on there, just taking up space that I didn't even look at anymore. I also found out that every time I thought I was deleting a message on Facebook, it was just sending the message to an 'archive'; meaning that there were messages from 2007 stored in there. Unfortunately it's a manual job to delete these messages and you have to open each message and delete them individually. I also went through and unliked things that I no longer felt the need to publicly 'like'!

4) Clean out your email mailbox. This includes your Inbox, Sent Items, old Calendar Items, Junk, and any folders that you've created yourself to organise things. I went for a mailbox of 5GB to a mailbox of 5MB - it was a wonderful feeling. I used Outlook with a Hotmail account, so that meant that I was storing 5GB on the Hotmail servers as well as wasting the same amount of space on my laptop. For some reason I felt that I needed to keep ALL of my sent emails and emails sent from family. I started with deleting emails from the oldest year and quickly realised that I didn't need any of it and then just deleted them all. That was a weight off.

5) Make a list!
One of the most annoying things I find is that the moment I shut down the laptop I suddenly remember something I was meant to be looking at, researching, whatever. So now, what I try to do is write a list. So I'm not falling into the trip of switching the laptop on to check one thing and 30 minutes later finally coming off Facebook (which it wasn't even my intention to go on); but instead having a list of 3 or 4 things that I can check off the list and then shut down. Like Gretchen says in the video above - it's using the Internet more mindfully.

6) There are many other things that you can do to minimise your digital footprint, for instance cancel old credit cards, delete unused bookmarks delete messages on your mobile phone (or don't have a mobile phone), delete chat programs or actually uninstall any applications on your digital devices that you don't use, limit yourself to ONE social network (crazy huh!?).


The important thing is to only delete what you don't find useful anymore. It's like decluttering, don't throw away any item stored digitally if you still use it. But also recognise when it's time to let go.

It'd be great to hear all of your ideas about digital decluttering!

Oak Marble Gall - Andricus kollari

Symptoms: A hard, woody-like structure on the twigs of Oak trees. These often appear in clusters.

Cause: Caused by a small gall wasp.

Control: There are no chemical control methods for the Oak marble gall. There doesn't appear to be much stress on the tree, so can be left.

01 October 2012

White Water-lily - Nymphaea alba

Date Photographed: 10/06/2012
Location: The Courts garden, Holt
Resources: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=6278

30 September 2012

Dark Mullein - Verbascum nigrum

Date Photographed: 17/06/2012
Location: Near Warminster
Resources: http://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/index.php?q=plant/verbascum-nigrum

28 September 2012

Hellebores - A short study

Some hellebores are really nothing to look at, especially as most flowers hang facing the soil - to the point that if they were in a border with other plants, you may well miss them as just a bit of foliage. But alone, as in the photographs above, they are allowed to shine.

An interesting feature are the nectaries, which are the true petals on the plant and have evolved into tube-like structures to hold nectar for their pollinators. These can be seen between the stamen and the sepals, which take over the petal's duty of being the 'showy' part of the plant.

There are so many variations of colour and designs of hellebore flowers. A chocolate variety can be seen to the left.


A lovely pale green hellebore. The sepals of hellebores can remain on the plant well after the sexual parts of the flower have finished their job. They turn themselves to photosynthesis, possibly contributing to the development of the seeds. The plant to the left shows the different stages. The flower, low centre, shows the sexual parts remaining. Above that flower and to the left shows the beginnings of the seed cases, post-fertilisation.





The bulging seed cases, showing that it's been a good year for the hellebores.

The robust seeds of the hellebore. Apparently difficult to get going and even after 8 weeks in a fridge can take up to 18 months to fully germinate.