Saturday, 26 November 2011

ABC Wednesday S is for . . .

Salvia has purple or white flowers from June to October and is a magnet for bees and butterflies. It is a member of the largest class of plants in the mint family (Lamiaceaea) It is commonly called sage but not all varieties can be used in cooking. Some will make you hallucinate!
Scabious ‘Butterfly Blue Beauty’ is highly attractive to butterflies and bees. It is a perennial that will form clumps. One flower remains on it despite a couple of frosts! It looks rather more ragged than these, though.
Senecio Serpens or Klienia is also a clump forming perennial belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is native to South Africa and is a succulent that requires little water - therefore it prospers in dry conditions. Its foliage is grey-green – some describe it as blue - and it produces small white flowers in the summer. It is easily propagated from cuttings - or breakings - as we discovered accidentally.
Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis)  of the grey variety were introduced to UK from North America in the late 19th/early 20th century and have displaced our smaller native red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) They are able to eat a wider variety of food including acorns which they can digest but the reds cannot. They are entertaining acrobats and noisy when annoyed when they make a loud chittering noise which continues for several minutes. They are inveterate thieves and are adept at accessing bird feeders. I love seeing them race around the trunks of trees, up and down and around and around and am quite happy to feed them. We have some of the sleekest squirrels in Berkshire!
Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are also welcome in our garden. From the milk chocolate coloured young to the glossy adults they are noisy, quarrelsome, social birds and always fun to watch. We've never seen a murmuration of starlings like this below.

Syringa usually known as Lilac belongs to the olive family (Oleaceae) it is native from south-eastern Europe to eastern Asia. It is well-adapted to cultivation in temperate climates. Colours range from white through pink and lilac to deep purple. They can be small – around 6’,  or tall – around 32’.
Sunflower seed head
 . . . and of course we have spiders and slugs and snails . . .
Click here for more Ssssssss


  1. Wonderful photos, love pretty flowers and the squirrel and bird captures. The starling video is amazing. Great post and photos. have a great weekend!

  2. A great selection of S things from the garden. I love scabious and had a dark coloured one for a number of years but it has gone. I would like another one. Did you see the starlings on Autumn Watch last night? Tame ones who were much better behaved than Chris Packham's poodles! I have seen a mini murmuration but never a big one like this.

  3. Hi Janice, I don't know if you or a family member takes those picture yourself, but I really enjoyed them, especially the squirrel photos! Haven't seen your words for a while (unless I missed something), so I am glad to see you back.

  4. Hi Janice .. I love your Sssssssssssses .. great photos too - I'd rather have the red squirrels around, but really enjoy the antics of the greys .. they've been very busy this year - and should be fit for bursting now - winter really should be here!

    Cheer and have a good weekend .. Hilary

  5. Your blog is always such a feast for my eyes and a lift to my spirits! Love the squirrel! xo

  6. I've heard about what pests those American squirrels have become there. If it's of any comfort, they are annoying us here too.

  7. Thank you, folks, for your kind comments.
    I enjoy the squirrels though some call them tree rats.
    The photos are always taken either by Barry or me unless otherwise credited. His are usually much better than mine!!

  8. I saw a cloud of starlings just like that at Flamborough a couple of years ago. It was an amazing experience. You have to wonder how they don't bump into each other. Thanks for the video1

  9. The Butterfly Blue Beauty' is one of the prettiest flowers I've seen even if it is a little ragged. The little white round things that spray out of the center are so pretty. I found the video fascinating. I wonder why they do that? It is a spectacular sight.

  10. The shots of the squirrel are amazing! You really caught him in action. Not easy to do. Actually we're thinking of cute chipmunks as rats too now because they've become such tenacious pests.

    Those starlings are unbelievable!

  11. Squirrels look cute, I'm all for feeding them and love seeing them moving around in the garden. And starlings always have their kids under our roof. Noisy neighbours they are! But I do love them, even if they pluck away the insulation to make space for their nests ;-)

  12. Even though I love flowers I must say those pictures of the squirrel have to be my favorites!

  13. You of course know I adore the squirrel photos, especially the one caught in mid jump.

    The video of the starlings is amazing, I have never seen anything like it in person. Beautiful flowers as well. The Scabious is one of my favorites each fall. The common name for it here is Pincushion Flower.

  14. Congratulations to you and Barry, your photos are amazing!

  15. You mean to tell me your bees and butterflies are hallucinating? :-) That is a Stellar Slew of S's you have here, Janice. In a kind of synchronicity I have become used to, this is the second video of starling murmuration I have seen lately. Stunning isn't it? (Late for S...)


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