Archive for 12/03/2013

Project Wild Thing

David Bond‘In the first of a guest blog series, filmmaker David Bond writes on how being outdoors can remedy the conflicts of family life….’

Thinking of spring and the Dell at Bodnant

Some lovely pictures and words by Chas Spain

PicPost: Feather

Time to prune your blueberries: early March is ideal, as it is usually easier to see the fruit buds. Start by taking out your 3 Ds (dead, diseased and dying). Then remove the ends of the branches which fruited last year, taking them back to a strong bud or branch. Finally, remove a third of the oldest stems from the base, to open up the bush and encourage new growth. If it’s newly planted just do your 3 Ds!

More info here:

– Becky, RHS Members Advisory (who is now craving blueberries!!)

10 Top outdoor play blogs

‘You’ve probably guessed by now that I am a huge fan of outdoor play. 

In an age when a complex web of circumstances pressures seem to be keeping our kids indoors more than ever I believe that one of my most important roles as a teacher is to give our kids lots of time for free and unstructured play outdoors.

Here are 10 fellow bloggy types who feel the same way.…..’

Dicentra Dicentra is a genus of about 20 annuals and perennials (of which about 8 are perennial) and many cultivars. They are native to both Asia and North America (though possibly an ‘honorary native’ in the latter, dating from colonial times), mainly in woodland habitats.

Their roots vary between rhizomes,tubers or fleshy tap roots. All varieties are reliably hardy. Most are deciduous but some are evergreen and have fern-like, divided foliage, some of a silver – grey colour.

Flowers – which come in shades of red,pink and white – hang as pendents on racemes or panicles and are very distinctive – two outer petals are pouched, giving a heart-shaped outline with the two inner petals forming a hood over the anthers. Not surprisingly this arrangement has led to many descriptive common names such as:

  • Bleeding heart (most usually used for D. spectabilis)
  • Showy bleeding heart
  • Dutchman’s breeches
  • Chinaman’s breeches
  • Locks and keys
  • Lyre flower
  • Seal flower
  • Old-fashioned bleeding heart

Flowering time is late spring into early summer. The flowers and foliage are useful in flower arrangements, the flowers lasting well in water.

Dicentra canadensis (Squirrel Corn)

Dicentra canadensis (Squirrel Corn)

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches)

Dicentra formosa oregona 'PEARL DROPS'

Dicentra formosa oregona ‘Pearl Drops’

Dicentra formosa pink

Dicentra formosa

Dicentra formosa

Dicentra formosa – close up of flowers

Dicentra peregrina (Komakusa)

Dicentra peregrina ‘Komakusa’

Dicentra spectablis

Dicentra spectablis

Most of the perennial Dicentra make good border plants, though a couple are rather invasive (spectabilis and formosa) and are best used in a woodland garden, where seedlings or spreading rhizomes can be allowed to expand or be easily removed. D. spectabilis is not long-lived. All Dicentra are low in allergens, but all parts of the plant are poisonous and a skin irritant.

Most varieties prefer growing in half shade in moist fertile soil – but they are drought tolerant so can be useful in drier shaded positions.

Most varieties grow to between 25cm and 45cm tall, though D. spectabilis is taller and the white form (‘Alba’) and ‘Gold Heart’ (with striking yellow foliage) grow to 90cm tall and spread to around 50cm.

Further information:

Dicentra spectabilis

Varieties and growing Dicentra

Dicentra ‘Stuart Boothman’ AGM

National Dicentra collection

Dicentra photographs

Old School Gardener

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