Wednesday, 5 October 2011

ABC Wednesday L is for Lots!

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.


  1. Love your photos and lore of the flowers. I could actually smell them. Lovely post, Roland

  2. Such wonderful photos! I particularly loved the long tail tits ones.

  3. The flower photos are lovely
    I especially like the hydrangeas
    and the lilacs but they are all great.

    x Fiona

  4. I loved the stories that accompanies the photos! I must say I have only kind fairies in my garden...they keep out malevolence, not accompany it!


  5. I have given you an award here:

  6. Again, a LOVELY array.
    There was a lilac bush next to my house when I was growing up. It's one of the strongest sensory memories I have.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. With two small kids constantly in tow to wrangle, I never get to take pictures like this. Someday my camera will get its due.

  8. I love the photos of the ladybug and lily beetle. Excellent images!

  9. All my favorite flowers--such nice photos of each. Now, off to pour salt in my doorways.

    p.s. Lovely photo of you for your blog!

  10. I enjoyed this post very much, Janice. I love lavender and lilac and lilies!

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  11. Wow lots and lots of information here. And I love your photos too. These flowers make me smile and missing them already.

    ABC Wed

  12. Lovely selections of flowers you've chosen.
    I really like the look of lavender, especially fields of lavender, but loathe the smell as I do with mint (both give me intense headaches as well which goes against all reason, I know). However, lilac and lily of the valley are luscious.

  13. Amazing photos and informative article


  14. I so love your L, there's lots of them!

    My ABC, please come and see.

  15. Yes, there are Lots of Lovely Lilies and other blooms, and I LOVE them all.

  16. And now all those lovely flowers have gone, just a few sad non-L starting ones left.

    At least we still have the birds, they come to the feeders throughout the years.

    I didn't know that Lobelias have a bit of malevolence to them. They are such pretty plants.

  17. There is a Lavender farm here in Kelowna. We went to see it one year. Lilies are so gorgeous, it is too bad about the beetles in your garden!

  18. That's a tour de fleurs -- quite a long post. The natural world is bountiful in many ways. It's good practice to stay in touch with its tricks which in the modern world we seem to tend to forget.

  19. L is obviously a bonanza to the gardener. What a magnificent array of photos you have for the lowly L.

  20. awesome! what a great those flowers...:)

  21. All those beautiful flowers and Long-tailed Tits as well. I have only ever once seen a long-tailed tit! Your photos are wonderful.

  22. Now I know why my house is full of fairies! I'll follow your advice. Lovely flowers.

  23. Lovely .. I especially loved the 2nd picture of the long tailed tit :o)

  24. Hi Janice .. amazing photos and I love the notations and tales within - folklore and bits of history .. Beautiful LOTS for L .. cheers Hilary

  25. So much beauty - a banquet of a post!

  26. I find all insects disgusting except the little ladybird, it's cute ! I love flowers but I don't know any name except the classic once like tulips and roses, lol !

  27. pretty, educational and interesting - thanks1

  28. OMG, you should be working for National Geographic. Astounding photographs.

  29. Lots of Lovely L's !

    Lavender is one of my all-time favourite scents and your picture of the white is pretty. The unfurling Lily of the Valley is a great shot too. Thanks for sharing!

  30. I really enjoyed you post, there is so much information. I especially enjoyed the info on the lilies. I suspect my cats keep the fairies at bay.

    Love your photos of the ladybird, lily beetle and caterpillars.

  31. I came back for a second look. They look even more impressive.

  32. Thank you all for your kind comments.
    The good photographs - ie: the ones in focus - are usually the ones taken by my husband. Mine are sometimes acceptable . . .
    Special thanks to Dave for coming back for a second look;-)

  33. so many lovely photos!!
    I adore ladybugs and all the flowers are beautiful

  34. You sure did find LOTS of L-photos. Yes, that lily beetle is the reason I no longer plant lilies. It's a native of Europe (I think) and it invaded North America by first landing in Montreal. I'm surprised that it's taking over the British Isles as well as I had assumed you had a natural predator of the beastie.

  35. Great entry for L day! So many lovely shots!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Have a nice and happy week****

  36. Your macro photos are just awesome! I love how you know what everything is. I'm often at a loss to identify the flowers I take photos of.


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