The Lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis) sometimes called the Mophead Hydrangea, is native to Japan and flowers in late spring. After flowering the heads can be dried for flower arrangements but look beautiful left on the plants and tipped with frost in winter.
Ladybird – the gardener’s friend.
Caterpillar of the Large white butterfly more commonly known as the Cabbage White for its depredation of brassicas
Strangely I can’t find a photograph of the butterfly – we must have one somewhere. (Note to self: continue cataloguing . . . )
The 39 species of Lavender belong in the mint family, Lamiaceae. This summer flowering sweet-smelling shrub gives plentiful nectar for busy bees and comes in a range of colours from white, through pink to lavender and deep purple.
Lavender is a versatile plant.
Earlier this year I went with Bethan and Robert to ‘High Tea of Highgate’, a lovely and very popular little tea-shop where I enjoyed Lavender cake and a cup of rooibos and vanilla tea.
Lavender also has other applications. Essential oil of lavender was used in hospitals in the First World War for its antiseptic properties. It was used to disinfect floors and walls.
Folk lore holds that an infusion of lavender will soothe and heal burns and insect bites and that bunches of lavender repel insects. Lavender is a calming scent.
Lilac (Syringa) is a spring flowering, sweetly scented shrub with an occasional second flush in late summer. The flowers come in white, pink, purple, and dark purple and can be used with young stems to make tea.
Lilac is often thought to symbolise love but folklore holds that it is unlucky to bring lilac into the house, particularly white lilac, for it presages a death.
Lilac used to be associated with fairies who were attracted by the strong sweet scent. Taking lilac into the house enticed fairies whom people feared because they were unpredictable and their mischief could be malevolent. Fairies were believed to kidnap humans and carry them away – hence the association with death – people going away and not coming back.
Remedies to prevent fairy folk entering the house include sprinkling salt across the threshold or laying cold iron down at the door. The sound and movement of and chimes and bells are thought to distract the fairies. Maybe it’s safer, if you’re superstitious, to enjoy the flowers in the garden!
Lilies, colourful, bold, strongly scented summer flowers are very attractive to lily beetles!
You can read more about lily beetles here.
By the end of 2010 the lily beetle was well-established in England and Wales, spreading in Scotland and Northern Ireland and reported for the first time in the Republic of Ireland.
This year beetles ruined our lilies! The photographs are from previous years. I think the unusually warm spring and the cold wet summer suited them.
Lily of the Valley emerging in April from its winter sleep. The white bells will appear later. Again, I'm sure we have some photos of the actual flower somewhere among the thousands . . .
Sweetly scented Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is a woodland plant native to the Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe. It symbolises purity. It appears and flowers in spring and disappears underground in winter. It spreads through underground rhizomes. All parts of the plant, including the attractive red berries, are poisonous, causing stomach cramps, vomiting and a reduced heart rate.
Lobelia is widely grown in summer in hanging baskets, troughs and garden borders.
There is a range of colours from white to purple with many shades of blue. Some varieties trail, others are upright. It symbolises malevolence and ill-will, maybe explaining two of the names attributed to it – Pukeweed and Vomitwort!
Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Long-tailed tits feeding alongside blue tits
These pretty little birds always make me think of shuttlecocks. They fly excitedly in small groups, twittering noisily to each other, often introducing their young to the bird feeders. Although they are principally insect eaters they also feed on seeds in the colder months of the year and seem to enjoy the fat cakes at all times. They are widespread UK residents, absent only from the far northern reaches of Scotland.
Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) flowers from June to September and grows up to 1 metre tall. It’s a good-tempered plant, settling well in full sun or shady areas. Ours grow in what we call the ‘woodland’ side of the garden, which sounds much grander than it really is.
To raise more Ls please click here.