Thursday, October 17, 2019

October garden

Selinum wallichianum. East Sussex garden, 17 October 2019.

I'm just back from a visit to my mum and dad's, and (since I was in Costa and had wifi access) decided to upload some photos of their rainy garden.

Selinum wallichianum, sometimes called Milk-parsley and, more precisely, Wallich Milk-Parsley. It's native to the Himalayas, where it grows in scrubland at 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) and (being aromatic and carminative) is much used in folk medicine.

It's a relative of the European Selinum carvifolia (Cambridge Milk-parsley), which in the UK grows in just three small fens.

Gaultheria procumbens. East Sussex garden, 17 October 2019.

Gaultheria procumbens -- American Wintergreen, Checkerberry, Eastern Teaberry. From eastern N. America. The berries are edible, though not particularly delicious. The leaves, with a scent of oil of wintergreen, make a good herbal tea. A calcifuge, found in acidic pine or hardwood forests all the way from Newfoundland down to Alabama.

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

A variety of Himalayan White Birch sometimes called West Himalayan Birch or Kashmir Birch. This cultivar is 'Doorenbos'. Now much grown in gardens. The bark was once used as paper for the recording of Sanskrit scriptures and other writings.

I wonder if one of those writings could have been the Kathāsaritsāgara , the amazing collection of tales compiled by Somadeva in Sanskrit in the eleventh century CE; one of the books I dipped into during my visit. (Along with the tale of Shakuntala -- in Abanindranath Tagore's lovely version for children -- and Tomas Tranströmer's poems...)

Some kind of Rudbeckia, a N. American genus. Finally a Swedish connection! The generic name commemorates Olaf Rudbeck (1630-1702), professor of botany at the University of Uppsala and mentor of Carl Linnaeus.

Rose-hips. These were on a pink-flowering rambler along the back fence, Rosa 'Frances E. Lester'.

A late and compact Michaelmas Daisy (Aster variety).

Early autumn colours. White Mulberry (Morus alba) in the background, Sweetgum (Liquidambar styracifolia) in the foreground. From N. China and N. America, respectively.

Fruits of a blue-flowered clematis. Perhaps -- since these achenes lack the usual feathery projections -- this is the European Clematis viticella, the first Clematis to be imported into British gardens (back in the sixteenth century). This plant was in the garden when my parents moved in thirty years ago. They didn't want it, so dug it up and threw the root into the neighbouring field. They thought they'd seen the last of it, but apparently it survived and is now vigorously storming the back fence.

 I collected some of these fruits to spread around my own garden, though I doubt if they're ripe enough.

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