Archive for 12/02/2013

PicPost: Hanging baskets are so boring...


The Beagle Project

First off, thanks to Tamara and all the readers of My Botanical Garden who have been visiting and posting comments. It has been a pleasure being able to cross pollinating between blogs and to hear from some new readers! Today – the last installment in the three-part series on the vegetation of Tierra del Fuego.

Darwin’s diary remains quiet today, but in the January/February section of this Zoological Notebook he has quite a bit to say about the dominant vegetation of the other major ecosystem of southwestern Tierra del Fuego – the Magellanic moorlands (I love that name – I think it is my new favorite place).

Again, let me turn the floor over to Darwin to set the stage:

“In every part of the country which I have seen, the land is covered by a thick bed of peat.— It is universal in the mountains, above the limits [of]…

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Pena PalaceThe Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena) is a Romanticist palace in Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Portugal’.

Pena Palace Park is a vast forested area completely surrounding the Pena Palace, spreading for over 200 hectares of uneven terrain. The park was created at the same time as the palace by King Ferdinand II, who was assisted in the task by the Baron von Eschwege and the Baron von Kessler. The exotic taste of the Romanticism was applied to the park as it was to the palace. The king ordered trees from diverse, distant lands to be planted there. Those included North American Sequoia, Lawson’s cypress, Magnolia, and Western Red Cedar, Chinese Ginkgo, Japanese Cryptomeria  and a wide variety of ferns and tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand, concentrated in the Queen’s Fern Garden (Feteira da Rainha). The park has a labyrinthine system of paths and narrow roads, connecting the palace to the many points of interest throughout the park, as well as to its two gated exits.

Source: Wikipedia

cyclamenCyclamen is a genus of plants containing around 20 species, part of the Primrose family.

They originate from areas surrounding the mediterranean, have tuberous roots and aren’t an obvious relation of the primrose. Growing in Beech woodland, scrub and rocky areas, and even alpine meadows, they’ll flower in snow meltwater. Although there are relatively few species in the genus there is at least one that will be in flower at all times of the year. In the UK, there are some species which can withstand frost, others which are more tender and some which are not at all frost hardy. Some cultivars of C. persicum are indoor or florists’ plants, flower in the winter or spring and come in a wide range of colours.

The medieval gardens of Constantinople featured Cyclamen as they looked so different from wild flowers in the surrounding fields.

The name Cyclamen is Latin in origin (cyclamīnos) which in turn comes from the Ancient Greek (kyklos) meaning “circle” . This seems to refer either to the round tubers that sit just below ground level or to the way, after flowering, the slender flower-stalk twists into a spiral curl, and, bending over, ripens the seed vessel on the surface of the ground.

Rather like truffles, these tubers are said to be a favourite of pigs. Hence, in many languages the different species have common names reflecting this – Sowbread in English, Pain de pourceau in French, Pan porcino in Italian and Varkensbrood in Dutch.

Cyclamen cilicicum leaves

Cyclamen cilicicum leaves

Some of the species names are:

C. cilicicum = cicilian

C. coum = of cous or cos, an island off Turkey

C. europaeum = European

C. hederifolium = Ivy – leaved

C. ibericum = of Iberia

C. latifiolium = broad-leaved

C. neapolitanum = of Naples

C. persicum = of Persia

C. repandum = scalloped- refering to the leaf margins

C. hederifolium, which is hardy in the UK, retains it’s attractive marbled leaves for at least nine months of the year, and has a graceful display of pale – to deep-pink, delicate blooms on slender stalks through autumn. This is one of the most popular woodland shade plants and is swift to colonise areas beneath trees. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Cyclamen in a woodland setting

Cyclamen in a woodland setting

Further information:

Growing Cyclamen from seed

The Cyclamen Society


Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen coum

‘Pretty in Pink’ – article by Sarah Raven

Medicinal uses of Cyclamen

Old School Gardener

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