Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Off with their heads?

Pale pink Scabious in full flower (Knautia sp.), with cat mint (Nepata)

The great garden writer and plants woman, Helen Dillon, is the author of one of my favourite gardening books.  No great surprise there, except that the book is a bog standard black and white paperback, devoid of any illustration , except for a few basic vignettes at the end of chapters, it relies solely on the written word to enthuse the reader, unusual enough for the genre, but it doesn't fail.  The book is titled ' Helen Dillon on Gardening' and is based on weekly articles from the newspaper, The Sunday Tribune, 1992-1995, and was published as a collection in 1998 by Town House, Dublin.  

It is laid out in chronological order, so is ideal for dipping into, bedside perhaps, to check your progress through the months and seasons.  August 1993, brings a short but typical, straight talking serving: 'So its off with their Heads', more aimed at firing out an under performer, than merely pruning back plants that have flowered and then set seed.  Of course the latter action is widely recommended to prolong a show of fresh colour in traditional gardening circles.

Greenfinch enjoys feeding on the same Scabious plant, now gone to seed (c.OOS)

As a wildlife gardener I am happy to substitute extended flowering periods for bright birds, attracted to the 'duller' seed heads.. A win win situation!  

So Greenfinches to the fore again, what a great bird species..champions of the perennial in seed, not just a peanut nibbler.. they were joined on the Scabious (Knautia sp.) by a  Bullfinch, but the latter sloped away before the camera was in position.. shrinking violets and all that!

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Great to see wildlife given a place in their world and a blog to spread the gospel. Cheers.