Bits of fluff

At this time each year, our garden is visited by fluff. Hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of bits of fluff.  It is from dandelion clocks.  They all set sail across the fields and alight on our garden.  We are a popular destination.

It can look like there has been a frost or a light dusting of snow.  Or as though a flock of sheep came to visit, and rubbed their fleece against the fence.

It is a wonder we are not buried in dandelions later in the year. We get our share, but not the baby-boom you would expect.

We have other fluffy things. Baby peaches.  They are more fluff than peach. But don’t patronise them.  They still have their stinger/syringe/space probe at the ready.

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Baby peach.

There are also quince nests.  I have to stand on tippy toes to see these as they are held aloft.

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Quince blossom.

Do you remember the walnut?  It was looking just a little bit scuzzy when it featured in Peach Fuzz.  Well now we know what happens if you let your dangly bits go manky.  They fall off.

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Walnut tree. Without dangly bits.

I am sorry to say that the walnut does not clean up his stubble.  It is lying at his feet.

But that’s not all from the walnut! Yesterday I noticed these:

Aren’t they amazing? Kind of like pineapples, kind of like gourds. Or maracas! Tropical kitsch.  How does one tree produce so much entertainment?

The Judas tree has largely shed its blossom.  What remains is dry and crispy and really satisfying to rub off with your thumb.  It has these rather lovely new leaves.  It’s not screaming to be looked at any more and will be happy to fade into the background and let other trees take centre-stage.

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Cercis siliquastrum (Judas Tree) after the blossom has fallen.

We have our first rose of the season.  It is always our Mystery climbing rose, which we inherited with the house.  The first few blooms are always more pink than subsequent pale peachy blooms, but this year he has outdone himself.

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Mystery rose. The first bloom of the season, newly opened, and much deeper pink than the subsequent pale peach blooms.

This rose displays unusual behaviour.  I know from previous years this bloom will fade to a more typical colour in a few days, and subsequent blooms will be paler.  But I applaud the experimentation.

So I suppose the theme this week is, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Or a plant by its description.  A weed by its reputation.  Bits of fluff are multi-dimensional and add interest to the garden too.

Do you have any oddly behaved plants? I also have a lupin which produces both blue and pink flowers. I love a bit of neuro-diversity and stereotype-busting.

59 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    Our dandelions are just starting to grow. My Hibiscus plants are still flowering, even though the temperature is a lot cooler now, espcially at night. Also our Cape Chestnut is very confused as it is already getting new leaves, when it should be resting!

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, it is funny when things get confused. I have had daffodils flowering in autumn before, and roses budding in early spring. It usually corrects itself though…

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Love your walnuts, and aren’t quince flowers simply heavenly. A fine floral array, Ali, fluff and all.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Tish! I will be keeping a close eye on the walnut. What will it do next? (I know what the squirrels will do!)

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        Ah yes – squirrels – bless their little cotton sox.

      2. Ali says:

        At breakfast this morning we were discussing possible ways to defeat the squirrels. A platform of super-sticky glue? (Unsightly, messy). An electrified perimeter? (dogs would get zapped too). Suggestions welcome!

  3. pommepal says:

    Jack would just love to have all or even some of that dandelion fluff blow over our plot. He loves dandelion flowers and harbours a desire to grow some. They don’t seem to be around our area though.

    1. Ali says:

      They are beautiful. You’ve got to love an interactive seedhead!

      1. pommepal says:

        With them around we wouldn’t need a clock would we!!!

  4. fredgardener says:

    Nice pictures as usual … I need to watch if little walnuts are here now!

    1. Ali says:

      We can set up a cross-channel walnut watch!

      1. fredgardener says:

        Yes ! Pictures posted on Twitter this morning. Looks like yours.

      2. Ali says:

        They are amazing!

      3. fredgardener says:

        Thank you for having reminded me …

  5. The trees, the trees!
    “Yet still the unresting castles thresh
    In full-grown thickness every May.
    Last year is dead they seem to say,
    Begin afresh, afresh, afresh!”
    Larkin.

    1. Ali says:

      Beautiful, Tim! I always welcome a bit of poetry in my feedback!

  6. This is great! I don’t think I have ever really looked at a walnut tree.

    1. Ali says:

      Me neither, and I’ve had one in my garden for 4 years! Must pay attention!

  7. Ha, my 4-year-old son has been adding to the fluff this week by blowing and stamping on every patch of dandelion clocks he finds.
    Can you really grow peaches outside where you are? And lucky you having roses already – mine are starting to bud but think it will be a week or two before flowers appear.

    1. Ali says:

      Most years we get a reasonable crop. Last year none, due to a late frost, but (fingers crossed) this year looks like it’s good my to be a good one. The peaches are not that pleasant to eat – very mealy. But Stevie makes them into a delicious jam!
      I have a friend whose parents grow peaches in Yorkshire! In a walled garden – probably up a south-facing wall. Their crop is prediguous and they are nice to eat, I think.
      This rose is always early because it grows up a house wall and is south-west facing.

  8. Sensual fluff! What a great post idea and captures – esp loved the peach 🍑

    1. Ali says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. X

  9. Jim Stephens says:

    There’s so much fascinating stuff in a garden when you zoom in close with a camera. It’s easy to miss it when you take in the whole scene, especially if there are attention grabbing flowers in it. Eye opening post.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I think that’s why I’ve never noticed it before. I’ve been distracted by flowers.

  10. Heyjude says:

    I really ought to grow a ‘Shropshire Lad’ given that I am married to one! Cornwall is not noted for its roses, though I have inherited a couple that seem to do OK. I brought ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ with me, still in a pot, it may be time to release her.

    1. Ali says:

      ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is gorgeous. ‘A Shropshire Lad’ is too. Shortish climber, huge blooms, repeat flowerer, healthy, very few thorns, delicious fruity fragrance. Does that sound like your husband?

      1. Heyjude says:

        Not at all, apart from being shortish and quite smooth… 😀

  11. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A highly entertaining post as usual, Ali. You certainly have an original way with words. The ongoing activities of the walnut have been very entertaining, I hope you get some fruit on it.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Jane! We are working on our squirrel-outwittery!

  12. Fantastic photos as always, Ali. I feel a need to rush out and examine our walnut trees closely (yet more crazy behaviour from the Inglesa on the mountain for the neighbours to wonder at)! Do you have a Shropshire Lass rose to go with that gorgeous Lad? They are a beautiful climber with single blush flowers, very tall with masses of hips. I’m a Shropshire lass myself but nowhere near as pretty! 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      No, I don’t think I’ve seen the ‘Lass’ in the flesh, but she sounds rather delightful. Am sure our neighbours wonder what I’m doing out at all hours gazing intently at trees! 😂

  13. sgeoil says:

    Thank you for taking me on a stroll through your garden; very enjoyable! We are quite a bit behind you here. We’ve had a few days of cooler weather and my tulips are just getting ready to open. Your walnut tree reminded me of the large walnut tree we had when we lived in the Kootenays. Not only was it a beautiful centerpiece in the front, but it also provided large apple baskets full of walnuts!

    1. Ali says:

      That is great that you got to eat the walnuts! I take it there were no squirrels?!

      1. sgeoil says:

        They didn’t seem to visit our yard..we were on 5 acres so, they were probably kept busy elsewhere!

      2. Ali says:

        Maybe we need to distract ours with a decoy…

  14. Anne Wheaton says:

    I’m going straight out to look at my walnut tree! Love your photos. We have rain today so the fluff is grounded but we’ve had an awful lot of dandelion floating by just recently too.

    1. Ali says:

      Us too. Am hoping we get a good soaking to refresh everything. I remember last spring being incredibly dry and having to water the borders in June.

  15. What – roses already! Green with envy!

    1. Ali says:

      It is a particularly early one. A few others have buds but are a week or so off flowering, and many more with no buds yet.

  16. Rupali says:

    Taking a guided tour with you is always fantastic. Lovely rose! What’s in a name?…. 🙂

  17. chicu says:

    Invasive fluff! fuzzy things with stingers! fruit with antennae! you have a Star Trek garden!

    1. Ali says:

      My eldest daughter and Stevie do like a bit of sci-fi, so I think a accidentally pick these things up!

  18. Love reading your posts Ali! You do have a way with words that makes me smile! I was in the playground at school on Friday and was surrounded by children shouting; “it’s snowing!” It did indeed look like it might be snowing but it was a cloud of dandelion seeds. One of the smaller children said they looked like floating fairies so that’s what I shall call them from now on! Anyway….off track slightly. I enjoyed your 6 immensely. X

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Sophie. Floating fairies is apt! I think they might have all been washed away last night in heavy rain though!

  19. cavershamjj says:

    Dandelions, public enemy number two (after bindweed) in my garden. I have a paranoid fear of the clocks, decapitate them whenever I see them. Pollinators? Tough, they’ll have to find the other flowers I helpfully provide for them. I have a gadget for digging out the tap root which works a treat. Sometimes go to bed with the florets of dandelion leaves burned on to the backs of my eyelids. We shall have to agree to disagree!

    1. Ali says:

      I share your terror of bindweed. I went through a phase of dreading it last year. I had five or six stems appear, and was convinced that I would be overrun by the end of summer and would have to dig up the borders and wash roots and all that horror. Fortunately they have been kept at bay, though I don’t want to say that too loudly.

      1. cavershamjj says:

        It’ll be back. Count on it!

      2. Ali says:

        Lalala! Stuffing ears with dandelion clocks!

  20. I have quince in bud, flowering a little while off yet but it is the first year we have had bud so I now know what to look out for. Lovely picture, thank you.

    1. Ali says:

      They are beautiful. Enjoy them!

  21. A. JoAnn says:

    I’ve never considered the fluff, but you are so right! The multi-dimensional garden is a busy place 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Never a dull moment!

  22. There’s lots of fluff drifting in the breeze here too! Dandelions of course but also small “cotton balls” from nearby cottonwood trees. It looked like it was snowing this morning!
    Your featured six are gorgeous! I especially love that tiny peach, fuzz and all. The rose blossom is stunning! Nice post Ali!

    1. Ali says:

      The little peaches are so sweet, aren’t they? I will have to look up cottonwood…

      1. In California I had a fantastic white peach tree. They were incredibly delicious! 😋

  23. What I am so amazed by in reading your posts is the variety of flora you have at your house and how you know so much about it. This is impressive knowledge!

    1. Ali says:

      I am a garden geek. 🙂

  24. I am so with you enjoying dandelions. Really enjoyed all this, you have a lovely eye for detail. I can see why you call yourself the mindful gardener.

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. And that I have a dandelion ally!

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