Thursday, 8 September 2011

Common and Unusual

As you walk around the college gardens in some areas flowers are starting to fade but in others, newly emerging flowers are beginning to shine.
Colchicum or Autumn Crocus, also known as Naked Ladies, have emerged in one of the tree circles on the Nuffield Lawn. The plants emerge in the autumn denuded of leaves, bearing crocus like flowers, the leaves of the plant do not appear until the spring, hence the name Naked Ladies.

In a corner of the herbaceous border another bright flower has appeared, Heliconia psittacorum. A close relative to Bananas, Bird of Paradise and Gingers, the flower is a bright, striking red and yellow amongst oblong, leathery leaves, adding a touch of tropical this autumn.

On the top terrace another unusual plant has started to flower, Acanthus sennii. This shrubby plant with holly like leaves, a native of Ethiopia, has produced four flower spikes of vivid scarlet flowers.

All these plants, whether native of Europe, South America or Africa are all adding a splash of late colour to, what have been so far, the grey days of autumn.

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