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Miriam Mesa-Villalba's forum posts

Total number of forum posts: 185


Allium christophii

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

The onion family is a large one, with almost 300 species growing wild in the northern hemisphere. This species produces one of the most dramatic flowers of the family. It is an important nectar source and has the added advantages of being hardy and drought tolerant.

  • Posted: Wed. 10th June 2009 17:34

Matthiola bicornis

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

Night-scented stock produces a profusion of single four-petalled flowers of varying colours. It does not thrive on acid soils. Adult moths love this plant, as do general crucifer feeding beetles, bugs and some moth caterpillars.

  • Posted: Wed. 10th June 2009 17:30

Tropaeolum majus

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

Many cultivars are available from seed catalogues, varying in form from climbing to trailing or low growing. Nasturtiums will grow successfully in sun or shade, flowering from mid-summer until the first frost. All parts of the plant are edible and have a hot peppery taste not dissimilar to water-cress. Both large white and small white butterflies often lay their eggs on this plant.

  • Posted: Wed. 10th June 2009 17:25

Myrtus communis

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

The common myrtle is found all over the Mediterranean but may have originated from western Asia. One variety, Myrtus communis tarentina 'Jenny Reitenbach', is reliably frost resistant. The plant has been widely and anciently grown for a variety of medicinal properties. Nectar and pollen in the flowers are offered to hoverflies and bees and may be followed by ovoid fruits that become dark purple.

  • Posted: Wed. 10th June 2009 17:21

Malva moschata

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

Musk mallow is a neater and more elegant relative of the common mallow. The kidney-shaped, three-lobed leaves on this plant become more and more feathery towards the top of the stem. Musk mallow is found in hedgebanks and grassy places. It spreads by seed.

  • Posted: Wed. 10th June 2009 17:15

Dryas octopetala

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

This lovely plant, probably widespread after the last glaciation, is a native of limestone and other basic rock on mountains and in England is confined to the Lake District and Upper Teesdale. It may provide some early nectar but justifies its presence in the garden on aesthetic grounds alone.

  • Posted: Tue. 9th June 2009 17:30

Aconitum napellus

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

Monk's-hood makes a magnificent garden plant. Its flowers are visited by bumble bees. Care is needed, however, as all parts of the plant are very poisonous and contact with the foliage may cause skin irritation in some people. It is also called wolf-bane, perhaps because medieval hunters used it as a poison.

  • Posted: Tue. 9th June 2009 17:27

Crataegus laevigata

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

Midland hawthorn differs from common hawthorn in that the leaves have lobes which are less than half the length of the midrib, while the common hawthorn has more deeply incised leaves. Another way to tell them apart is by looking at the fruits - the common hawthorn only has one in each berry, hence its Latin name monogyna, while the Midland hawthorn has two. The two can occasionally hybridise. Like common hawthorn, Midland hawthorn is ideal for wildlife-friendly gardens.

  • Posted: Tue. 9th June 2009 17:23

Daphne mezereum

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

This is a very scarce plant in the wild, but widely available from nurseries. White-flowered cultivars are also available. It offers nectar and pollen to bees when little else is in flower.

  • Posted: Tue. 9th June 2009 17:17

Choisya ternata

from Miriam Mesa-Villalba

The shrub has glossy, bright green leaves composed of three oblong leaflets. These are aromatic when crushed. Some hoverflies and moths may be attracted to this species but fewer than might be expected, given its powerful scent.

  • Posted: Tue. 9th June 2009 17:15