Wednesday, 3 April 2013

AirSpace Yarden - More donations

The love for the AirSpace Bird Yarden project grows and grows, as more donations arrived at the gallery today.

Gallery friends Carol & Ian Britnell have given us two cctv cameras, so we can watch and record the birdlife to our hearts content. Even better, one of them sits inside a birdbox, designed for blue tits, sparrows and nuthatches - all of which we've seen in our Yard over the past few months - and so hopefully we'll be able to bring you images of nesting and birth.

Carol & Ian have also given a collection of Hemerocallis or Day Lilies, and some Irises from their own garden.

Hemerocallis, from the Greek for beautiful, are known as day lilies as, typically, their flowers last for only 24 hours each. The daylily is often called "the perfect perennial," due to its dazzlings colors, ability to tolerate drought, capability to thrive in many zones, and requiring very little care. Daylilies thrive in full sun, although certain daylilies require partial shade, depending on color. Lighter shades, such as yellow, pink, and pastels require the sun to bring out all of their color. Darker daylilies, such as some red and purple flowers, need shade because their darker colors absorb heat.

The flowers of some species are edible and are used in Chinese cuisine. They are sold (fresh or dried) in Asian markets asgum jum or golden needles or yellow flower vegetables. They are used in hot and sour soup, daylily soup, Buddha's delight, and moo shu pork. The plant has also been used for medicinal purposes. 
Care should be taken however as not all species are edible and some species of lilies can be toxic.

The Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species.

This plant is great for a Bird Yarden, due to its attractiveness to insect life. The iris flower is of interest as an example of the relation between flowering plants and pollinating insects. The shape of the flower and the position of the pollen-receiving and stigmatic surfaces on the outer petals form a landing-stage for a flying insect, which in probing for nectar, will first come into contact with the perianth, then with the stigmatic stamens in one whorled surface which is borne on anovary formed of three carpels. The shelf-like transverse projection on the inner whorled underside of the stamens is beneath the overarching style arm below the stigma, so that the insect comes in contact with its pollen-covered surface only after passing the stigma; in backing out of the flower it will come in contact only with the non-receptive lower face of the stigma. Thus, an insect bearing pollen from one flower will, in entering a second, deposit the pollen on the stigma; in backing out of a flower, the pollen which it bears will not be rubbed off on the stigma of the same flower.
The iris fruit is a capsule which opens up in three parts to reveal the numerous seeds within. In some species, these bear an aril.

A third donation came from Beryl Stoker, in the form of a Clethra Hummingbird, or Sweet Pepper Bush.  Native to eastern North America, it is a dwarf, deciduous shrub. The leaves are oblong, 4-10 cm long and 2-4 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are green turning yellow-golden during the autumn. The flowers are white or very pale pink, 5-10 mm in diameter, and have a sweet, somewhat cloying fragrance.
The "pepper" part of the common name derives from the mature fruits, capsules which have a vague resemblance to peppercorns, however, with no element of spiciness.
This little plant is often found near rivers or ponds, and its flowers attractive to bumblebees, making it a perfect specimen for our pond area, in the buddleia garden.

Thanks to Carol, Ian and Beryl for their great generosity, which will help make the Yarden an even more beautiful place for humans, birds and insects alike.

If anyone would like to donate a bird or insect friendly plant, please contact us at

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