2015 in review

Greetings for the New Year wherever you are!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog as well as Sue’s considered trifles and Sue’s Trifles.  Sue’s words and pictures began in March 2015.  Most views have come from The Daily Post Photo Challenges.  The posts linked there are not necessarily the most interesting.  Click on the blog’s title or check out the contents page to find more posts.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow!

F is for Fern

For the letter F in the revised A to Z Challenge my choice is not a flowering plant.  Instead I have made a photographic record of the growth of some ferns in our garden.

There are many varieties of fern.  We have never planted any in our garden, but have two or three different species.  They propagate by wind-borne spores and thrive in cool damp places.  The spores grow on the underside of the leaves.

Fern 7 May
7 May 2015
Fern 13 May
13 May 2015

In winter ferns look dead.  All that is  visible above ground is a brown lump at the base of an established fern.  As spring advances some green appears.  The leaves are curled up at first.  They grow and uncurl by stages until they are fully grown.

Fern 3 June
3 June 2015

I began taking photos of one plant early in May.  The dates are in the captions for the pictures.  It is very common in this area.  By the beginning of June the fern was so large that the sandstone rock near it was completely hidden.

The second species is known as a hart’s tongue fern.  A hart is a male roe deer (according to the compiler of a crossword I solved recently).  It is a word which is going out of fashion.  Where the Authorised Version of the Bible used hart in Psalm 42, modern versions use deer.  I haven’t looked at the shape of a deer’s tongue, but no doubt hundreds of years ago a country person, perhaps a game-keeper, made a comparison and named the fern accordingly.

Hart's tongue fern
Hart’s tongue fern

There are flowers beginning with F.  First of all a forget-me-not flowered.  Many people regard these as weeds.  They are certainly wild flowers.  Their tiny flowers may be blue or pink.  We decided not to cultivate it.

Another wild flower which we do encourage is the foxglove.  These may be pink or white.  They are biennials.  It takes a seed until the second year to produce flowers.  The flowers grow on a tall stem.  It is too early for this year’s flowers.  They are helpful to insects including bees, which climb inside the bell-shaped flowers..

E is for Elephants’ Ears

This post for the letter E in the revised A to Z Challenge could equally well have appeared for B.

In our garden there are three different Bergenia plants.  They all flower in spring having pink flowers of various shades.  Their large leaves entitle them to a place under E.  Their common name is Elephants’ ears.  I am not sure how to identify the three species of Bergenia with the names of those on the catalogue from which we chose them.  Their tags have disappeared long ago.  However I do know that the size of the ears is one distinguishing feature between African and Indian elephants.  African elephants have much larger ears.

Elephants' ears (Bergenia)
Elephants’ ears (Bergenia)

Indian elephants’ ears may resemble the leaves of these plants more closely than African ones do.  So where do Bergenias grow in the wild?  My first choice for reference is not Wikipedia, but my bookshelves.  The Dictionary of Garden Plants in colour with House and Greenhouse Plants (BCA 1972) informs me that these are Chinese plants.  The Himalayas are mentioned.  Those are very high mountains.

My mind began to make some associations.  There is no obvious connection between elephants and China, where pandas live.

There is a story from history about Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants.  Now perhaps that is one for Wikipedia.  (I learned it was not only the Alps, but also the Pyrenees.)

Other plants in our garden with origins in China are paeonies (or peonies).  I prefer the spelling with the diphthong (æ), but my spell-checker objects to it.  Fashions change in spelling, writing, language and gardening.

Our Bergenias have the advantage of tolerating (or even enjoying) shade.  The part of the garden where they grow is shady.  It used to be a lawn (or at least grassy), but the moss grew better than grass due to the climate and the shady location.  Pressure from our daughter led to its conversion to a flower bed, but moss has survived or re-established itself.

There are other flowers with names beginning with E.  How many can you think of?