I had almost given up that my mulberries would ever flower and then I noticed a plant the other day, that I planted in 2008 (11 years ago), from seed sowed in 2002 in flower!!
It was sown as Morus alba “Purple”, so we’ll see what colour the fruit are!
Bullfinches (dompap in Norwegian) have an unique biannual appearance in the garden. They feed from autumn to early spring on natural food and on the bird feeder. Of the natural foods, I’ve seen them feeding on nettle (nesle) seeds, maple seeds (sycamore and Norway maple / platanlønn og spisslønn) as well as buds of plums. They then disappear in March, but return again every year about the time when the apple trees are coming into flower. I presume they are interested in the ripening buds, but have never seen them eating them. A pair appeared again in the garden two days ago and here are a couple of short films. In the second, you can even here a snatch of bullfinch song. I’ve never heard that in May before, but they do sing weakly in late winter sometimes.
There could hardly be more blossom on the apples this year! Looks like yet another good year.
Some pictures of RHS Wisley’s National Rhubarb collection in mid-April 2009. It comprised some 151 plants including a few “ornamental” rhubarbs as well as species.
You will find more about using rhubarb as a perennial vegetable in my book Around the World in 80 plants!
In early October 2011, I was on a work trip in Ireland (Cork) and stopped off to see the city’s botanical garden for the first time! Here’s a series of pictures of unusual fruit bushes and trees taken on my recent visit to the National Botanical Garden in Dublin. I’d never seen such a good collection of Berberis before – impressive diversity…
Quercus mongolica (Mongolian oak or the Shandong silk oak)! Did you know that the Chinese not only produce silk from mulberry trees, but also from Mongolian oak trees? The Chinese oak silkworm, Antheraea pernyi, is the worker employed according to Food Plants of China! See https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/10/1/180/887115
The Mongolian oak nuts were also sometimes eaten and the leaves were used for tea, boiled with the fruits of Siberian crabapple, Malus baccata!
Thanks to Matthias Brück for preparing cactus pads (nopalitos) from Opuntia ficus-indicus for lunch, a long job by hand to de-spine first, but delicious! Does the old variety developed by Luther Burbank, “Burbank’s Spineless” still exist?