Thursday, 4 June 2009

Dance of the Gunnera

I have been watching the Gunnera manicata grow at the Durham University Botanic Garden.

Today the light was shining through the huge leaves.

As they reach up to the light, the spiky stems gleam.


Emerging leaves like dancers' hands ...




"Yoo-hoo, I'm here!"



Sometimes merry-looking in dance ...



Or sober green and silver with Anthriscus.


And here, at Newcastle's Moorbank Botanic Garden, a complementary green umbrella to the brilliant red poppy.
*
Happy Birthday Shady Gardener 4th June!!

24 comments:

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I love these pictures of the gunnera. It really is an interesting plant, and you're right they do have the look of the dancer. Especially the emerging leaves. I don't think I've ever looked this closely at one. I wish I had room for one.

SuburbanGardener said...

Hi. Looks pretty cool. Wondered what’s the latest with your veggie garden? What’s your next garden project?

Suburban Gardener

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Catherine. They are huge plants - however I have seen them in quite small gardens. Yesterday a lady told me how she grew one in a container!

I think for me one of the problems would be of design: which plants to put them near, so they don't distract from the qualities of the other plants in a small space.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Suburban Gardener. My next project is the rather mundane one of tidying and edging!

Diane C. said...

Since I live in the desert, I don't encounter many big leafed plants such as the Gunnera. Wow is it awesome with the light shining through! I love how you compare the leaves to dancers. Lovely post.

Prospero said...

Very beautiful pictures. I see the dancer's hands. I like the last shot best, the red in a sea of dark, opulent green.

I actually considered growing this architecturally stunning Gunnera around my pond. Here's how to germinate the seeds: get an old coffee can, cut out the bottom. Drape a piece of cheesecloth over the top. Place the seeds on the cheesecloth. Find a slow dripping faucet. Place the can underneath the drip. Do this for several days. The water will leach away the seed's germination inhibitors.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Diane!

The Gunnera does have an awesome presence, yet pleasant!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Prospero!

I found the single poppy very striking in front of the Gunnera. When there are more poppies out I don't think it will look as effective.

Thanks for the tip. Maybe there will be a sudden proliferation of Gunnera around the area here!!

Dirt Princess said...

What amazing AMAZING shots those are! So fun.....they do look like they are dancing!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Dirt Princess - I'm pleased that you like them!

(I wonder what sort of music they'd like to dance to best?!)

Bim said...

They look very graceful. A lovely series - I especially adore the first shot :)

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Bim - I am most honoured!

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi Phoenix, the neat ribbings and texture really show in your photos..great light too! Yes, the lone poppy really make a statement!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Lynn! I was lucky with the light on several occasions.

Barbara Martin said...

This is a plant I have never heard of, but how beautiful its leaves are! Your photos are amazing Phoenix.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Barbara! Maybe there is some in a Botanic Garden near to you - it is a wonderful experience to see it in close proximity.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love this plant--it's so rugged and get beautiful. The stems alone are cool but those huge leaves make it spectacular.

Phoenix C. said...

It's one of my favourites, Monica. It has a real presence, and somehow combines a majestic feel with humour.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hiya Phoenix

I like the almost prehistoric quality of gunera.

These days the garden centres sell much bigger specimens than they used to. I saw one today in a 50litre tub complete with the cone like flower.

Do they get huge at the botanical gardens there?

Phoenix C. said...

Hi Rob

Yes they get huge at the botanic garden - there is an area of them in a corner of the woodland garden, at the bottom of a bank. This is ideal as they don't dominate the design, but you still get the effect of their stature.

I'd quite like to grow some in tubs!

Anna said...

Beautiful photos Phoenix. It's amazing how much growth they put on in a season !

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Anna! I'm always astonished how they grow, especially from what in winter looks like a pile of collapsed old umbrellas!

Garden Lily said...

I love your photos of the Gunnera, with the light coming through. I am fortunate to have one of them in my garden. I was so intrigued as a child by the "giant rhubarb" in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, BC (a very popular spot for wedding photos), that I just had to have one in my garden.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Garden Lily. How lucky you are to have a gunnera in your garden! They are such magnificent plants.