Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Its all happening in Springtime, in Robertson.

The title is nothing to do with the current "Springtime in Robertson" festival - rather it is a comment about the Natural Phenomenon which is Spring, in Robertson. It is a glorious season, full of the promise of new life.

The Tree Peonies are bursting their buds open. The Herbaceous Peony buds are swelling, (and the first is showing colour, today). Lilacs are in full bloom, the earliest Roses are starting. Out in the bush, the Waratahs are starting to open (the cultivated ones in the village are in full flower). The Spring-flowering Orchids are coming along fast - some flowering already, others budding up.

And that is not to mention the extra activity amongst the birds, and especially the Moths and other Insects. Robertson is a very "mothy" place - all you need to do is leave a porch light on for a couple of hours, in the early evening. Your house will become a "light trap" and you will have hundreds of moths and wasps and other insects to photograph - without harming a single moth or other insect (just turn your light off, and they will go away). In short, there is too much too much for one blogger to document.

So, for a different perspective on what is happening around Robertson, check out David Young's blog "Focus on Nature".

Here I am publishing more of the Tree Peonies today, and then I will try to catch up with the other plants, and some moth photos as well, over the next few days.

A pale pink form of the single Tree Peony Paeonia ostii
- this one always flowers a few days later than the pure white form.
Here is a close-up view of the same flower -
what I call the "eye" of the flower.
You can see the twisted stigmata (the receptive female parts of the flower)
dusted with pollen already.
The stigmata (plural of stigma) are grouped in the centre of the flower
inside a sheath which gives the appearance of the carpel being a single unit.
In fact it is not - there are 5 carpels inside,
with 5 stigmata protruding from the centre of the sheath.
I will show what I mean by showing photos of the developing seed pods - soon.
Here is a tiny fly, which is just visible as a small dot
in the bottom-right hand side of the top image (above) of this flower.
A pure white specimen of P. ostii (a late flower - fully matured)
This variety shows the faintest blush pink at the bud stage, but opens white,
and then fades to this stunning starch-white colour. This specimen has a few pink tinges.
The colour of the carpel is always a deep magenta red in this species.
Here is Godaishu, (again).
Unlike the earlier photo (from yesterday) this flower is now fully open.
It looks almost out of proportion, compared to the other Tree Peonies
for the flower is so large, and the carpel is a normal size.
The flower is a full dinner-plate size. Huge.
It is a lovely white, with the faintest blush pink tinge,
with a white carpel (with yellow stigma).
By contrast, here is the first Herbaceous Peony, "Red Charm".
The bud is just bursting open,
with its wonderful shiny red petals showing.
The leaves of the Herbaceous Peonies are very different from Tree Peonies,
but they are related plants (both groups are in the same genus).
Here is the pure white semi-double Tree Peony "Shimane Hakugan".
This lovely plant has numerous layers of pure white petals.
It does have a similar magenta-red carpel to that of P. ostii.
However, it is genetically a long way from that plant, for its leaves are quite different.
The same image, cropped, to show the carpel, and stamens,
and the bee inside the flower.
Here is another image, showing a Honey Bee in flight.
The Bee is zooming in to the pollen on the flower.
You can see that the Bee is already dotted with pollen,
having visited other flowers previously.
Here is "Kokko-No-Tsukasa", the darkest red Tree Peony I know of
- in the "pure" Japanese group of Tree Peonies.
There are many dark red Tree Peonies amongst the hybrid Tree Peonies,
but their mixed parentage means that they do not flower till much later in the season.


Anonymous said...

Hi Denis
I am only just beginning to know and appreciate the joys of peonies - as none such would grow in the warmer northern climes in which I have lived until now.
Your pics are gorgeous. Do you propogate by seed?
Also, the single white cherry that you mentioned ( in response to an enquiry from a Japanese person who was missing seeing the massed beauty of these trees)..... Do you know where I could purchase one? Chris has extremely fond memories of these from his childhood garden in Orange and would like to plant one (or more) here in Robbo.
Thanks Lynn S

Carsten said...

Hi Denis, it is always a wonderful time, when the nature awakes in spring and the peonies start to bloom. A little bit I'm jealous . .

Carsten said...

Hi Denis,
thanks for the hint yesterday. I have copied some pictures to my website. 'Destiny' is a fine rockii. New entry #10180 to my database. Go ahead. The pictures are fine.

Denis Wilson said...

Great to have Carsten's endorsement here. He has the most comprehensive Peony website - in the world!
See links from my blog ("My favourite sites") for Carsten's Website and his remarkable "Peony Database".

Jaska said...

Thank you for remaining me about your springtime. Nice pictures, I can feel the warmt from the sun.
My tree-peony didn't bloom last summer. The plant died above the earth. I'll hope it will survive this vinter.