Six on Saturday: Wisteria in Bud!

The buds on our wisteria are swelling nicely and in profusion…but sadly I am not the only one who has noticed, as you can see from the photo above… The blame rests, I am pretty sure, on the chunky shoulders of those big fat wood pigeons who have been strutting around the garden recently, showing off their pigeony charms to fellow pigeons – and I am not best pleased to say the least! Last year was an unusually poor year for blooms on the wisteria, the lower branches being largely devoid of flowers, and it was the first time I had heard mention that birds (and especially pigeons) can be responsible for stripping wisteria buds in this way. I don’t know if that was the reason behind the poor showing last year, but this year the evidence was there for all to see – several complete buds on the ground, and the remains of an unknown number of shredded buds….grrrr! Whether or not there will be a continuation of this devastation is anyone’s guess, but any pigeons in the vicinity will undoubtedly be given short shrift, just in case…

The good news, however, is that my efforts in the working greenhouse last weekend seem to have paid off, with all seedlings transferred into fresh compost and now looking visibly perkier and, although probably coincidentally, with no sign of any further greenfly. Having resown the most recent sowings in the alternative compost, a good indication of the difference between them can be seen in these two trays of scabious, sown just days apart, in the new compost on the left, the old on the right…even on germination seedlings in the first compost are smaller, so no wonder there is a knock-on effect on progression of growth.

I regularly fail to notice when the amelanchier is in flower, mainly because of where it is, and am usually alerted when looking out of the kitchen windows and seeing it diagonally across our neighbours’ gardens (because of the ‘dog-leg’ of our own); it’s certainly in full bloom now, and looks better against the background of a blue sky. Unfortunately, I didn’t get SoS photos taken till later in the day, but you will get the general idea.

Last week’s Clematis alpina ‘Constance’ is now fully open, and joined now by ‘Pamela Jackman’ and the chunky lantern-shaped bulbs of  C koreana ‘Amber’. Each of the eight posts on the clematis colonnade has been planted with both a spring and a summer flowering clematis (pruning needs care!), although three of the spring varieties need to be replaced but with limited stock at the specialist suppliers that will have to wait until later in the season.

Down in the Coop, as the spring bulbs begin to wind down attention can be turned to later flowering ones, and watering eucomis, calla, nerines and the like has begun again. It’s always exciting to see them re-emerge, and first to thank me is Eucomis pole-evansii:

I will finish my Saturday Six for Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme (do visit his blog for other sixes) with some more spring colour. I could show you the pretty pinks and spotted throat of Rhodendron ‘(Christmas) Cheers’ but I shared the first glimpses of that last week so instead

…oops, too late, it just slipped out! Ahem, instead I will show you another in a succession of hippeastrum in the Coop, this time ‘Happy Memories’. To the right of it is a glimpse of the supposedly orange ‘Naranja’, definitely a wrong ‘un.


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29 Responses to Six on Saturday: Wisteria in Bud!

  1. The birds are pecking my tomatoes, grr.

  2. Those flippin’ pigeons! They don’t bother my wisteria, but they do plenty of other damage. The magpies too.

    On a positive note, the clematis are all looking great!

    • Cathy says:

      We don’t see wood pigeons every year, but I wonder if it’s them that attack primulas too? Hopefully they won’t strip them all! I wonder why they don’t like yours? Rarely see magpies in the garden, fortunately.

  3. What a shame about your wisteria! Birds can be such a pest. It’s strange how compost can vary. have you tried this

    • Cathy says:

      It’s usually bird poo and waste from the feeders that are the drawbacks of birds. You were going to suggest something about compost?

  4. Pauline says:

    Oh I know exactly how you are feeling! My latest problem has been with my Amelanchier, it was covered with buds , then one day I saw 7 male bullfinches sitting on the top just ripping off the flower buds! Lovely birds but they were chased, I now just have flowers on the lower half, hopefully you will still have lots of wisteria buds to flower for you.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Pauline, I am so sorry to hear about your amelanchier – I will no longer be disappointed that we don’t see bullfinches in our garden! I haven’t seen any further evidence of attack yet so hopefully there will still be blooms to come

  5. tonytomeo says:

    That is a nice ‘Christmas Cheer’. We grew it on the farm, but I was never so keen on it. It bloomed very early, but the blooms melted as they opened. However, we could not grow enough of it. Our clients purchased all that we grew. I can only imagine that the bloom did not melt so much in their respective climates.

  6. Your amelanchier looks lovely and I like the little seating area around it!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Ciara – and the Golfer again proved his worth by creating the curved bench (although making it in 3 sections was my idea) to fit the space

  7. I have lost buds too, thanks to the birds… and that is a stunning rhodi…

  8. susurrus says:

    I didn’t know pigeons would eat wisteria either. It’s even more of a waster as they seem to be plucking them but not eating them. I used to watch a flowering tree being stripped by a pair of bullfinches every year. They would move in and stay until they had taken every bud.

    • Cathy says:

      Some of the buds were whole and some seemed to have been partially shredded. I have heard of bullfinches stripping whole trees, but fortunately I have never seen one in our garden!

  9. Heyjude says:

    I hadn’t realised that birds could do so much damage to buds and flowers! Like you it’s just been the poop and mess from the feeders, and I have been wondering if their poop causes some of my plants to fail that are underneath the trees / hedge where they like to congregate.

  10. Noelle M says:

    Did you buy the same make of compost and it was the fresh stuff that is better, and which brand did you use for your seedlings. I need help/advice as I have been having the same problem. It is Amelanchier week here too. Well done on the bench, it looks very inviting.

    • Cathy says:

      I had been using a local supplier of what I think is based on composted bark – used last year but only from about May so not for seeds. I suspect what I had from them this year might have been old stock. I subscribe to Which? Gardening which always does a trial of composts but when I decided to repot all my existing seedlings as well as resow some our local garden centre didn’t have any of the better brands, so I bought a brand called Erin which is a reduced-peat brand and includes a ‘wetting agent’. I had a bag of Jack’s Magic too, which I bought before 3x bags of the Erin. JM is 100% so dries out more quickly, but both did the trick and everything looks so much better. The Erin is a better bet a it holds the moisture more, and I shall stick with that for this year after my early setback. I still want to go peat free, but am not risking another change this season! If you want details of the Which? report, let me know

  11. The Amelanchier and the other flowers are beautiful! So sorry to hear about the Wisteria blooms. Grrrr is right! That’s how I feel about all the rabbit damage in my garden. Good luck for the growing season ahead!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Beth – I though we were fairly sheltered from bigger pests, but perhaps they won’t attack it every year…we can hope!

  12. Chloris says:

    Oh yes, pigeons pick off my wisteria buds too but they usually wait until they are a bit plumper. They also have a passion for thalictrum leaves and don’t get me started on their lavatories. It is amazing what a difference compost makes to seedlings. Amelanchier is so pretty but it comes and goes so quickly it is easy to miss.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, so not only are they pesky pigeons, but they are impatient pesky pigeons!! But thalictrum leaves – why??! I have certainly realised this year that as far as compost is concerned to ensure success with seeds and seedlings it is not worth taking any shortcuts in terms of cost or convenince – a whole season of summer ‘bedding’ was compromised and I probbly rescued it just in time. I have probably ‘lost’ a week or two but things will catch up and I know some people start sowing much later than I do

  13. Anna says:

    Oh those dratted pigeons and your poor suffering wisteria! Here they have a tendency to nibble on the emerging buds of elderflower as well as the berries. They also leave very unwelcome souvenirs of their visits. This year there seems to be a trio rather than a pair lurking about 😒 Your alpina clematis are looking rather beautiful Cathy.

    • Cathy says:

      And I think some are nesting in the variegated holly as I can hear them purring, so they are close at hand…grrr! How intriguing about elderflower though – perhaps they move onto that once they have finished any wisteria! Alpina clematis make a great contribution to spring colour – I need to replace three of mine on the colonnade that have disappeared

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