Six on Saturday – Ultraviolet Vision


So this happened again:


But luckily nothing that hadn’t already been blackened/slimed was affected. Nevertheless, there aren’t that many exciting flowers left in the garden. So this is a bit of a mish-mash for Six on Saturday, the inspirational meme hosted by Mr Propagator.

1 A New Toy

OK, I admit that my eye-sight isn’t what it was. I was having trouble last week deciding whether the salvias I’d just lifted were covered in tiny greenfly or just had furry leaf axils. After inspection by three other people (who could also do with glasses!), we decided that they were OK, but meanwhile I ordered a cheap jeweller’s loupe. When it arrived I discovered that it’s magnification is a bit high for what I want, but it does have an ultraviolet light bulb that you can turn on while inspecting tiny things. So, I’ve spent the morning playing with this magnifier, checking out a cross-section of the remaining flowers to see if any of them have fun UV landing markings for pollinators and the like.

And the answer is yes. Result! Geraniums have markings along the veins leading to their central nectaries, rudbeckia have glistening hairs along the petal edges. But the best one is cosmos (see photo inset), which has sparkling, cyan pollen in star patterns on the anthers and burning purple arcs along the stigmas (particularly obvious in the middle):


Examining flowers under UV light with a jeweller’s loupe (inset: Cosmos)

Great fun!

2 Recycled pallet = Useful, rustic trays

I asked Steve to cut up an old, wooden delivery pallet, so that I could use the released small pieces of timber to make trays. After a summer of procrastination, I got a hammer and nails out and got cracking. The wood wasn’t brilliant, but I am rather pleased with the boxes themselves. I imagine they will useful for cropping potatoes, carrots etc. They could also be used for dahlia storage or even as seed trays if I line them with news paper:


Homemade trays (made from a delivery pallet) are useful for harvesting or planting seeds etc.

3 ‘Bull’s Blood’ Beet

We are gradually working/eating our way along the various rows of beetroot in the raised beds. This year I’ve grown Bull’s blood beet for the first time and found it to be a wonderfully ornamental vegetable. Definitely potager worthy!

21 sos3

‘Bull’s Blood’ beets in the veg plot

4 Auriculas

A few weeks ago I sent away for some auriculas from the famous Barnhaven nursery (in Brittany since 1991 – I hadn’t realised that!). Part of the reason was an interest arising from their propagation at Wimpole, but also, after reading some notes on the extra certification required for plant material movements after Brexit 😦 !

So, I decided to act in advance of the red tape. I bought three: Mick, Larry, Greta!!! Don’t you love those names? Understandably, Greta is a Fancy* auricula, whilst Mick and Larry are respectively gold and light-centred varieties.

Meet the newly arrived Mick, Larry, Greta:


Pre-brexit delivery of 3 Barnhaven Auriculas

* A fancy auricula is one whose body colour is not black. They can have green, grey or white edges and frequently display a red or maroon body colour.

5 Redevelopment

… Of the bin area. Bit boring, but after the damson trees were torn asunder by the early storms this year and then the neighbours replaced their fence, we decided to do some clearance and tidying work on this unused area. It’s not finished yet, but you can see that I will now have a trellis to grow climbers up and an extra half metre of border to plant up to the right. Round the oil tank, there will be hard-standing for a couple of cold-frames and lean-to plastic green houses (on the Christmas wish list – fingers crossed). As a bonus, the bins will no longer get stuck in the mud all winter.


New bin hardstanding has released another half metre of garden … hurray!

6 Rhubarb, rhubarb … fungi

I was clearing up some of the melting rhubarb leaves last week when I noticed this forest of fungi. Anyone know what they are? I hope the rhubarb is unaffected!


Explosion of fungi around the rhubarb

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to visit Jonathon’s blog.

Have a good weekend!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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26 Responses to Six on Saturday – Ultraviolet Vision

  1. fredgardener says:

    Your fungi are Coprinus plicatilis aka pleated inkcap ( : I have a lot of them also near most of my plants and no collateral damage.
    Nice shot of the cosmos with the jeweler’s loupe!

  2. Lisa says:

    Nice to gain new garden space! I use my iPhone camera all the time to zoom in on things like you mention. I find little bugs I thought were dust more than I’d like.

    • Lol, seeing you’ve got problems can feel like a two-edged sword sometimes! Good call about using an iPhone camera. They are so useful aren’t they? I’ve occasionally taken photos of tiny text (like ingredient lists), so that I can expand it to read!

  3. Agree that beetroot is lovely looking, I have some too. You can also use the magnifying tool to dissect the carpels (female part of the flower)! Sounds odd but is interesting to see all the eggs in there – just cut the flower in half lengthways with a sharp knife.

  4. March Picker says:

    Oh, you’re bound to have fun with that viewing tool! Yes, those beet “greens” add great color to the garden. Your wood trays will serve many purposes I’ll bet. Well done.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    I enjoyed your six this week, Allison. The loupe looks fun and I’m impressed with your repurposed boxes, so brilliant. Your bin area looks so neat and tidy, great looking trellis, too. I think your mushrooms are clustered bonnets… I noticed Pete Hillman posted them recently:

    • Thanks Eliza. The recycled wooden boxes turned out much better than I anticipated, given how roughly they were cut and hammered! I am definitely happy to have some trellis to play with. I am busy perusing clematis choices. Thanks for the link to Peter’s blog. I had seen that post in fact, but not connected the two.

  6. janesmudgeegarden says:

    You’ve achieved rather a lot in your garden recently with the reorganising of the bin area, which does look spick and span, and your wooden boxes. The loupe pictures are really interesting- the Cosmos one is lie a jewel.

    • Thank you Jane. There’s still a lot to do around the tank, but we are making progress and I am having fun with bulbs in the newly cleared area. Cosmos is currently bringing me joy both in the garden and under the microscope.

  7. Cathy says:

    The cosmos photo is amazing! I wish I could get round to trying my handcat recyling some old pallets like you… great little boxes for anything and everything. It was so cold yesterday though that I preferred to stay indoors!

    • Thanks Cathy. I’d been staring at that pallet for a long while before I got to it, so I am sure you will manage too! I totally understand the reluctance to go out in the cold though, especially if it is windy too. Having refilled all our birdbaths and fountains this morning, I find myself waiting for temperatures to rise here before doing any gardening.

  8. Paddy Tobin says:

    I have often been tempted by auriculas over the years but have generally only managed to grow them for a few seasons before losing them. Obviously, I did not give them the attention the deserved and needed. They are very beautiful plants.

    • I have tried them once before, but failed after a couple of years too. Now I know a couple of expert growers, so I am hoping that that will swing the balance!

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        They sound like clematis – I say this remembering a local nurseryman/garden centre owner who used always have a great display of clematis immediately in front of customers as they entered. He used call them, “the nurseryman’s friend’ – because they were irresistible to the customer, were guaranteed to die, and the customer always came back for more!

  9. Noelle M says:

    Interesting Six this week..and I see that one of the boxes is masquerading as an Auricula Theatre too, very clever, you will be painting it black soon!

  10. Cathy says:

    Oh my – I shall have to get one of those!! What amazing discoveries there are to be had! Well done on the pallet plans and the bin redevelopments – always exciting to gain more planting space!

    • They are fun and with Cambridge Botanics and Director Beverley Glover up the road (whose area of study is the development of floral features which attract pollinating animals) I knew there were interesting things to see! I am excitedly planning the filling of that new space, but first I will fill it with white daffodils for spring.

  11. Cathy says:

    A very inspiring six! Thanks for sharing your explorations with the jeweller’s loupe – fascinating. We sometimes don’t take enough time to really look. How wonderfully well-organised your garden is, and the trays from the pallet look really useful – and very attractive in comparison with plastic trays. The colour of the trellis is perfect! Have a good week!

    • Thanks Cathy! I hope to perfect the loupe/bloom/camera combination soon, essentially where I don’t have to hold any of them steady myself, lol. Glad our garden appears organised and in fact, it is better this year, with these periods of lockdown! Take care.

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