It was ironic that, because I am not a huge fan of cotoneasters, the first plants that were planted here in the new garden, were cotoneasters. They were not even rare or special. It was a hedge of bare-root, Cotoneaster franchetii. I chose it because it is a tough plant and I wanted a hedge that would be good for wildlife and might be able to cope with the awful soil and windswept site. It just shows how much pleasure a common plant can give because I have been encouraged by the growth of the plants and now they are covered in berries. Of course the blackbirds have not eaten the berries, presumably because I don’t want to. But there is still time.
The fruits on the Malus toringo ‘Freya’ are finally revealed now the purple summer leaves have changed to rich orange and finally dropped. They are small and bright and not at all like an apple. They are not especially profuse but then the tree is small. I planted two, to replace the Sorbus cashmiriana I moved after one died. I wanted a pair of trees at the front of the house and these have so many seasons of interest. Purple leaves all summer and rich pink/red flowers in spring too. So far I am very pleased.
The third berrying plant is Callicarpa ‘Profusion’.
Callicarpa bodinieri is almost always seen as the cultivar ‘Profusion’. The main reason for this is that, from seed, the plants do not set berries well unless grown as a group whereas ‘Profusion’ is self fertile so you only need one plant to get a good crop. This Chinese shrub, introduced to the UK by Wilson in 1907, is unlike any other and although the clusters of tiny pink flowers are nothing to write home again the berries are bright and glossy, adorning the bare twigs like jewels, a phrase that is far to often used but very appropriate for this plant. The foliage turns shades of lilac over yellow in autumn before it drops.
Now, an update on chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’ that I posted about a week or so ago. I criticised it for flowering so late but here it is, after frosts and days of torrential rain, looking remarkably spritely. I would sink in the mud trying to pick some today but it shows just what a late bloomer it is.
May cause offence to those who need to be offended
And lastly… Anyone in the UK knows that Christmas starts when… the John Lewis advert airs.
It is as traditional as the Queen’s speech. If you are Irish and don’t understand, it is as important as the Toy Show.
I always keep ads off this blog and I certainly don’t want to upset people by criticising them but I think John Lewis have produced a good one this year. Yet there are complaints and I believe John Lewis have had to apologise because the dragon has traumatised children.
Well, to be honest, what could they put in an ad and not offend someone? It has to feature a girl or it would be slammed for being biased towards males and if they featured a real animal it would create a rush of people burning fossil fuel to go and visit them in the wild – or vegans would be in uproar at expoiting animals. CGI fantasy animals are all that are left. It could not feature anything to do with traditional Christmas or it would offend non-Christians.
Well I am sorry but if you want to be offended by vulgarity, contempt of the ordinary person, bad taste, sexism or hypocrisy go and watch Boris Johnson giving a speech or look at the Daily Express or Daily Mail.
For the rest of us, the ad is a gem and makes the day a little more magical. That is a good thing in a world that is full of horror, lies and disappointment.
If you didn’t shed a tiny tear there is no hope 🙂