Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

The daisy few


The Daisy Few - poem

Feverfew - close-up

Feverfew daisy – an old remedy for a nasty headache … it is claimed that just two small leaves of Feverfew cures a migraine headache

Hedgewars – Hedgehog wars game

For those who like a challenge, something different, the chance to play online or on your own PC it’s time to test out Hedgewars. With a choice of backgrounds, character accents, hats and weapons it’s a good way to wriggle your way into ‘Worms!’ Hedgewars is an open source game … if you are studying to become a developer or ever hope of producing your own online game, perhaps even having your own games company then you can see how this particular game works. If not – well it’s all good fun for the whole family. Keep it on your PC for those idle moments … such as hanging on the phone whilst you are waiting for a human to respond at a call centre! Lol!!

Hedgwars A free game for your PC – Hedgewars

Here is the link for the Hedgewars hedgehog war game!

Tree hollyhock or hibiscus

I have a late flowering hibiscus in my garden which has excelled itself these last two years by changing form from its original single flowering blooms, that it has had for over fifteen years, to a magnificent double flowering specimen. Its colour has remained a constant deep pink with red markings at the base. The leaves of the bush are similar to small chrysanthemum leaves being a little frilly and a pretty backdrop to the flowers. These are one of the many flowering plants that are related to the mallow family, Malvaceae.

It appears to be easy to please as it has lasted well under extreme weather conditions from the bitter ice cold of last Winter; the persistent rainfall of earlier Springs and Summers - to the hot and very dry Spring and Summer of this year. It is a beautiful addition to any garden border …

Hibiscus - tree hollyhock Hibiscus fondly known as ‘Tree Hollyhock’ (Hibiscus syriacus)

Hibiscus - tree hollyhock - mallow family

Tree hollyhock - mallow - hibiscus

Primrose bush or Potentilla

One of my most favourite shrubs is the Potentilla. There are many names for this shrub which, I believe originates from the bitter tundra and is therefore sometimes called the ‘Tundra Rose.’ Once established, it is at home in drier and warmer climes – but must be watered well in when first introduced into the garden especially if planted during the Summertime.

Primrose bush or Potentilla Primrose bush, Potentilla or Tundra Rose (Dasiphora fruticosa)

It is deciduous by nature and this particular bush is around twenty years old with a beautiful uniform and upright habit. Cuttings are best taken from the base where it throws out new growth from under the soil. Trowel out one or two small stems and plant them firmly in moist ground to achieve a new plant. Although this plant is bright yellow, there are Potentillas available in a variety of colours ranging from white, yellow, orange right through to red.

Cat strapped

My cat loves to gambol and uses a black bag to bounce herself off …

Cat strapped Cat strapped

… here she has caught herself up in the bag strap. Less than fifteen minutes later she was fast asleep with the strap holding her in position like a large comfortable arm … now why didn’t I think of that – such contented sleep zzz!!


There is something about a hanging basket, packed to the brim with colourful annuals that brings a sense of fulfilment to any budding gardener. This glorious, growing posy often reflects the person who has planted it. It may be bubbling over the top with cascading clouds of petals looking every bit as breathtaking as Roman ruins. Or it could be gently stuttering with suggestions of what is to come like the dipping dimple on a baby’s bottom. The endless mixtures of plant variations that may be planted means that so many are individualistic whilst others are simply textbook in design.

I had my first hanging basket at around the age of twelve. It was rather a large basket that my father bought for me along with a packet of moss to line it’s metal shape with. I pondered about what plants I should put in it when my grandfather presented me with a beautiful pale pink, slightly mauve, ivy leaf, trailing geranium. He had grown the plant from a cutting taken off a plant he had purchased the previous year. The plant, flourished in the basket and every day it appeared to magically get bigger and more eye-catching. By the end of the Summer it looked like a large flowering ball and complete strangers would stop and comment about how lovely it looked.

My grandfather had a magical touch with plants. Every Summer his greenhouse was always bursting at the seams with tomato plants that were full of large, ruby red jewels of fruits. I loved to pick them and suck in their rich smell. There is something quite magnificent about the smell of a freshly picked tomato. My grandfather’s garden was very small but he grew runner beans with military precision around two sides of it and they were the thickest and tallest bean plants I have ever seen. Every year he would dig out two trenches which he lined with newspaper then he would toss in the kitchen waste and finally place soil over the top. The kitchen waste would turn into rich dark loam … I have never seen anyone make compost like this - but it worked remarkably for him.

I tend to choose geraniums and fuchsias mainly for the hanging baskets now - sometimes adding another plant that may have caught my eye at the garden centre. Each year, somehow they do tend to look different … the trick to make them look flourishing is to water every morning and evening. It’s not the quantity of water but the regularity that makes them grow well and evenly. Added to this, an occasional feed with a general fertilizer can make a vast difference to the the amount of blooms that are produced.

Hanging basket

Hanging baskets Hanging baskets

Although mine are filled with flowers, more and more people are using hanging baskets to grow plants such as strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, mixed herbs and even potatoes …

E is for . . .

Elder trees are beautiful this year. Most elders grow from a small stumpy bole and the older the bole the faster the growth of new energetic shoots spurt. The whole of the plant smells both leaf, shoot, stem and bark and all of these including the root are poisonous as they contain something similar to cyanide. The green parts of the pant therefore make an excellent insecticide and ward off problematic attacks of all types of insects. Best results are obtained when the plant is picked and crushed – but wash hands well after exposure to the juice from the leaves and stems.

The elder fruit called elderberry, is worth its weight in gold because it is known for its ability to kill and ward off viruses. It may be eaten in many ways – for those who like only sweet things then it will readily be made into a jam or compote. The fruit may be boiled with sugar and sieved off making a rich syrup for pouring onto breakfast cereals or over deserts. It makes a beautiful jelly that can be served as a sweet or used as an accompanying relish with foul, game or pork. It also makes a wonderful rich tonic wine that is both thick and potent. Perhaps the hardest part of harvesting elderberry is the stripping of the fruit off the tiny stems --- but it produces the most wonderful supply of healthy immune booster ~~~ and best of all IT IS FREE AS IT GROWS WILD JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE!!

Elder var - laciniata leaf Flowers of Elder var – laciniata leaf (lacy leaf elderberry)

Elder varElder var 

The blossom is almost sickly sweet and very heady and makes an excellent champagne or fizzy Summer wine.

Birds do it, bees do it … even educated

It is a sign that we are having a lovely warm Summer as the insect world appears to be going into a second phase of mating.

Ladybirds mating

LadybirdsLadybirds mating

Spotted today one large red ladybird without any spots at all!

Purple pew

The one thing in the heart of Summer that an English scene can guarantee is that somewhere in the line of sight there will be shades of purple. There is nothing quite like passionate purple to lift the spirits even when the sky up above is rolling with battleship steel grey clouds that hang low in the distance. The proud purples reach out and spike the landscape with their rich hope and glory. May be this is why clothes that were dyed the colour purple were desired by the wealthy many years ago.

Purple vetch‘Purple pew’ in the foreground is purple vetch

Pussycat Mole

I have often admired the way that cats by their very nature happily blend in with their surroundings. When looking for my own little cat I often pass her without noticing that she is close by. She sits in the border in a variety of places and watches the world go by whilst remaining as still as a statue. One place that she sometimes may be found is in a flowerpot that is semi buried in the border. A variety of leafy plants hide the entrance and she weaves her way sideways to get inside the pot so that the entrance remains undisturbed. There she lies like a soft, velvety mole hiding in a hole.

The cat in the flowerpot - Pussycat MoleThe cat lying in a flowerpot asleep whilst the world goes by. 


The cat in the flowerpot - watching the world go by - Pussycat Mole The cat privately watching the world from her own little hole.