Wednesday 10 April 2013

Day three: in beds with Rubus

As I mentioned before, the South Canal beds, which I am taking care of, are the site of the Rosaceae collection, and Rubus figures prominently in them. Rubus is the Latin name for bramble, and also the genus of  the bramble-like family of plants.

There are some striking differences in them, some look positively gorgeous, some look weedy, others don't even look like brambles much, but all tend to sprawl  beyond their allotted space and to self-seed prolifically, so I'm going to spend time taking them back to where they belong over the next few weeks.

Today we worked with two bushes of "hairy" Rubus, one unspecified and the other called Rubus tricolor. They did not have thick prickles and spines as brambles usually do, but more of a thick mat of hairs - which, if I read the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website right, are still technically prickles.

I helped the student I work with to cut them back so they don't encroach on other plants around them. As this is a botanical garden, however, it is important that we do not spoil the natural habit of the plant.

Rubus tricolor

I am counting on learning more about pruning plants over the weeks, as that is something I would like to develop skills in.

Here is how the two shrubs looked like before and after we finished pruning back and cleaning from the leaves, edging the beds etc

While we were digging out roots, we also found this beauty: I had never seen a beetle like that, it's a Violet Ground Beetle (Carabus violaceus). It hunts slugs & invertebrates at night.

By the way, I cannot find my bearings easily yet in the gardens, so walking back tonight I got lost and it took me an hour to find my exit. I took the opportunity to take pictures of plants - there's a lot going on as spring might finally be starting... but gardening is good exercise already and the hour-long walk has completely knackered me! 

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