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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