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Pi$$ed as a F@rt!

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  • Pi$$ed as a F@rt!

    Just as a change from bird images, attached is photo of part of a "Strawberry Tree" (Arbutus unedo) in my garden.

    This shows the bell-shaped flowers of this Autumn together with the ripening fruit from last year's florescences, going from yellow to red.



    This shrub grows wild in the Serra de Monchique, a mountain habitat, and the fruit is collected and fermented before being distilled into the local "hootch" called Medronho. All totally legal (!!?) and the result is Beeeeautiful.

    Unfortunately the fires in recent years have destroyed a lot of the bushes and the price of the "good stuff" is now at a premium (50 a bottle) - but still well worth it - just had another shot!!

    Colin

  • #2
    It's also the food plant for Two-tailed Pasha caterpillars

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    • #3
      These are also a great food-plant for many passerines; the fruit are eaten by many species and the over-ripened fruit attract many flies which in turn attract warblers - my bushes are full of Chiffchaff at the moment.

      Colin

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      • #4
        Thanks for posting this Colin. What a gorgeous looking shrub (and I take your word for the drink). Are these available in the UK for cultivation in the garden?

        Peter
        PeterD

        www.imageinuk.com

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        • #5
          Are these available in the UK for cultivation in the garden?
          Yes, any decent nursery should stock it. It is rather fussy about soil conditions, not too easy to grow, though - needs good drainage, no soil compaction, and preferably acidic soil.

          It is also native in western Ireland, though not in Britain.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MichaelF View Post
            Yes, any decent nursery should stock it. It is rather fussy about soil conditions, not too easy to grow, though - needs good drainage, no soil compaction, and preferably acidic soil.

            It is also native in western Ireland, though not in Britain.
            Thanks Michael. The soil here is clay on chalk. Probably not good for it. I do however grow Rhododendron without any bother within purpose built planters with about 2' of ericaceous compost. Do you think this would be OK? I must admit to liking this plant.

            Peter
            PeterD

            www.imageinuk.com

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            • #7
              Dig a blimmin gret hole and fill it with Ericaceus compost and top up annually

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              • #8
                Originally posted by beltonbirder View Post
                Dig a blimmin gret hole and fill it with Ericaceus compost and top up annually
                Thanks. I shall give it a try

                Peter
                PeterD

                www.imageinuk.com

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                • #9
                  This link will help you.
                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening...erry-tree.html

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beltonbirder View Post
                    Thanks for that. I have read and saved the web page. Almost got ready to order but - last orders 2004 for delivery 2005. Oh well, I shall look out for them.

                    Peter
                    PeterD

                    www.imageinuk.com

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                    • #11
                      Michael is correct in that it normally requires acidic soil (it thrives in the mountains here where the substrate is shale) but this specimen in my garden is grown in very calcareous marl which is about as alkaline as you can get.

                      The only places that I know of where it thrives in the British Isles (again, as Michael says) is in Western Ireland and, I believe, on the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Forth (Broddick Castle gardens, to be precise) - it requires the mildness of the Gulf Stream.

                      Colin

                      P.S. Just had another "tot"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by beltonbirder View Post
                        Dig a blimmin gret hole and fill it with Ericaceus compost and top up annually
                        Ahh, so you really are Alan Titmarsh!!!

                        Colin

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                        • #13
                          it requires the mildness of the Gulf Stream
                          It should do fine in Portsmouth. But it isn't all that restricted by climate in Britain - there used to be a nice large one in Newcastle about 6m tall, but it got cut down when the office grounds it was in were redeveloped

                          Ericaceous compost
                          Mix that with an equal quantity of acid sand to give better drainage.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MichaelF View Post
                            It should do fine in Portsmouth. But it isn't all that restricted by climate in Britain - there used to be a nice large one in Newcastle about 6m tall, but it got cut down when the office grounds it was in were redeveloped

                            Mix that with an equal quantity of acid sand to give better drainage.
                            Thanks Colin and Michael I shall have a look/make enquiries in the garden centres locally.

                            Peter
                            PeterD

                            www.imageinuk.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MichaelF View Post
                              ..... - there used to be a nice large one in Newcastle about 6m tall, but it got cut down when the office grounds it was in were redeveloped
                              Did that specimen produce fruit Michael? My understanding was that growing them was easy, but getting them to "produce" was the problem in the U.K. climate (and without the flowers and spectacular fruit they are rather boring things).

                              Colin

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