Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, November 17, 2008

More flowers from Dorothy and Bernie's garden

Here are some more photos from Bernie and Dorothy's garden. Some are "pretties", others are of more botanical interest - studies of the flower structures concerned.

The first is a photo of a lovely deep blue/mauve large-flowered Clematis, with fine magenta lines. It is "General Sikorsky ".
The blue Clematis is beautifully combined with the abundant-flowering pink climbing rose, "Renae". Clematises and Roses tend to flower at the same time, and so make great complementary flowers in a garden setting, such as here - especially with colour combinations such as soft pink, and deep blue.
A perfect Rose bud - Rosa "Renae".
The next flower of interest is the European Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra). This grows as a large shrub, more-or-less growing wild in the chook run. That's OK. I love the structure of the flower heads. "Cymose corymbs" look like "umbels", but have a paniculate structure - which means the flowers depart from the main stem, in an alternate (zig-zag) arrangement, whereas a true umbel has all the flower stems arising from a common point). Compound flower structure illustrations courtesy of Wikipedia.
Cymose Corymb..........................Panicle (note zig-zags)...................Umbel

At bud stage, the Elderberry inflorescence appears to be concave (at its top). I have included this photo as it clearly shows the complex branching structure of stems which hold all the flowers. Once the flowers open, it is more difficult to see this subtending structure.
As the flowers mature, the inflorescence assumes the round-topped structure illustrated in the schematic illustrative sketch of a "cymose corymb".Here is a close-up of the individual Elderberry flower. I have bothered to put this in, because at my place in Robertson I have a small plant of the local (native) Elderberry. When it flowers, I will be able to compare its flower with this European Elderberry. I do know that the berries of the European Elderberry are black, whereas the local plant has yellow berries (when they mature).Foxgloves (Digitalis) are cottage garden favourites.
The flowers are attractive to beetles which are eating the pollen inside the flower. As with other tubular flowers which I have shown recently, the Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandoreana) and the Chinese Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), this tubular flower also has a mass of strong hairs on the lower side of the flower. Now that I see the beetles clinging upside down to the flower, perhaps the purpose of the hairs is meant to be to keep pollen-raiding insects away from the precious pollen grains. If so, then in this case, it has not succeeded. But it could still be the evolutionary function of those hairs.Here is another tubular flower - the lovely purple-blue Penstemon. Finally, here is a popular flower which I recall was the subject of domestic disagreements in my parental household. My mother was a keen floral artist, and liked to use the seed pods of Nigella damascena or, as she called it "Love in the Mist". My father, however, refused point blank to grow the plant for her, because it self-seeds like crazy. It has a very weedy habit. But I can admire the intriguing structure of the flowers and the seed capsule.

A fresh flower - just opening.
What appear to be blue "petals" are apparently "sepals" (according to the botanists).
A semi-mature flower - some pollination may have occurred.
The carpels are starting to swell.
The stamens holding the anthers have spread out flat, as the flower matures.
And here is the seed capsule, nearly mature. These capsules becomes papery, and hold their shape for ages, which is why they are attractive in dried flower arrangements - which is why my Mother liked them.


mick said...

All lovely flowers and photos but the blue clematis is exceptional.

Mosura said...

Reminds me of my garden in Scotland.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick and Mosura.

I like the Clematis to o, Mick. I grow a different large blue one, myself - without the red stripe. But I love that one too,
Mosura, Dorothy would be thrilled to read your comment. She is a transplanted Pom herself, but will see that as high praise indeed.

Duncan said...

Denis, I've seen foxgloves growing and flowering in old long abandoned sites in gold mining areas, makes one do a double take!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Duncan
I can think of worse weeds, like Hawthorns and Pyracantha which the parrots love, and spread everywhere. And Blackberries and Privet which the silvereyes and honeyeaters love.