Wednesday, 7 December 2011

ABC Wednesday - U is for Umbels

Umbels resemble umbrellas in that all the flower stalks radiate from a central point. This can be seen much more clearly once the seed heads have formed.
Candytuft (Iberis umbellata)with visiting beetles
Candytuft belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is a pretty, scented annual, flowering in summer, its colours ranging from white through pink to purple.

The leaves, stem and root are thought to have medicinal properties but the seeds are the most effective part of the plant, being used in ancient times to treat rheumatism and gout.

In modern times it is considered to be effective in treating cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart muscle), asthma and bronchitis. It is a homeopathic remedy for nervousness and muscle soreness.
Alliums are also known as ornamental onions - the name doesn't do justice to their beauty!
Agapanthus (African lily, Lily of the Nile)
These tall showy perennials originate from South Africa and are not lilies at all but belong to the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae) The colours most commonly seen are blue, from pale blue to deep purple-blue but there are also white and pink varieties. I understand they are despised as weeds in New Zealand. Here in UK they are treated with care to produce the wonderful umbels that fascinate from earliest emerging bud to the final fling of colour and production of seeds. Can you tell that I love them?
Lonicera 'Copper Beauty'
We have several honeysuckles in our garden. 'Copper Beauty' is evergreen and very vigorous. New leaves are a coppery bronze and the flowers are a rich yellow with a red base. It is reputed to be fragrant but ours never seems to have much scent. However, it has to compete with sweet-smelling roses, other fragrant honeysuckles, jasmine and lilies.
The yellow of the blackbird's bill and eye ring reflect the colour of Copper Beauty's flowers. The flowers are succeeded by black berries that the birds enjoy, pulling them off with great energy.

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10 comments:

  1. Beautiful blossoms! I can't believe I'm already looking ahead to spring. :)

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  2. yes, the first flower DID remind me of umbrellas!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  3. Now this brightens up my day with sunny, colorful flowers. Thanks Janice, it's dull, dreary and very, very rainy here in Virginia at the moment.

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  4. Always beautiful photos and fascinating info from your garden, jabblog. Next spring I'll look for umbelliferous varieties in our own garden, thanks to you.

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  5. Wow! the images are amazing! Can I borrow one? Would go oh so well in my lounge?

    Denise
    ABC team

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  6. Wonderful flower photos you've shared with us today. I love that allium. It's beautiful.

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  7. Umbels - umbrella. Cute name and I really admire the one that is a huge circle! It is wonderful how much medicine there is in nature. Imagine thinking the Lily of the Nile is a weed! It is beautiful. Sometimes I look at the weeds growing in the fields and think how lovely they are.

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  8. I loved each and every one of the flowers! I loved it how at the very end you had a shot with a bird in it. Made me smile. :)

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  9. A truly beautiful post for the week.

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  10. Hi Janice .. loved the U for Umbels .. they can be beautiful flowers .. and the candytufts growing along the cliffs are just beautiful. I love Agapanthus too .. reminds me of S.A. .. Cheers Hilary

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