Sunday, March 6, 2011


Bleeding Hearts - March 6th 2011
Can these be buds on the Bleeding Hearts already? I bought the plant with flowers on last year when the weather was warm and sunny and hadn't imagined they began this early.

The second lot of tomatoes is now in pots.

I dropped a shirt on the marjoram and squashed some. (These seedlings are like little green pins stuck in the pincushion of the soil; only thinner and more delicate.) It hadn't helped that I'd left them on the windowsill overnight despite the drop in temperatures. The ones which still stand are happy though - which is quite a few.

Lonicera Graham Thomas - March 6th 2011
Honeysuckle leaves remind me of birds sitting on a line, waiting to emigrate. I can't manoeuvre myself into a position which shows why - but at least this is a record that the Spanish Broom isn't doing anything interesting yet!

Baycorn - picked up from the ground on March 6th 2011
Finally - this is a baycorn.

(It's hardly more than a quarter of an inch long but it's beautiful so I'm showing it big.)

I made up the name because I don't know the proper term for seeds like this. I suppose it is a nut but, whatever it's called, it is the fruit of a Golden Bay tree.

It's strange that they fall at this time of year. Some fell in the autumn but not many. I saw a blackbird with one in its beak during the winter. He seemed to be having trouble with it. It was a bit big for his beak! After a while, he dropped it. I couldn't tell if he'd managed to eat anything of the thin fruit around the nut first. The flower buds which have been on the tree all winter are beginning to swell . . . and as they do . . . the remaining baycorns fall. I have found eight.  

Would you like one?

I don't know the official way to grow bay trees but I put a baycorn in a small pot of potting compost, leave it in the garden for ages (making sure it doesn't dry out) and, eventually, it begins to grow. The germination rate seems to be about one in three but that may be because I knock some pots over and forget about others . . . Perhaps it should be 100%. On the other hand, maybe I have been lucky to get that many!

Once they have begun to grow, they are tough. I've never had one die on me after the shoot has emerged from the soil.

If you are in the UK and would like one, email me at

If you live outside the UK - I would be happy to send you one as long as it is allowed - there are restrictions on sending seeds abroad so we would need to check the rules.

The seeds which germinate will, in time grow into a huge bush. We have cut the lower branches from ours as it has grown so it has developed into a very attractive tree. It is going on for about thirty fee high now. I think. (I'm not very good at heights!) However, you could keep yours trimmed as a small bush if you want, or a standard.

So . . . would you like to try a baycorn? - email!

P.S. It's called a 'Golden' Bay because the leaves, when new, are bright yellow. They soon turn green though.

P.P.S. You can see all eight on a plate on Lucy's 'Message in a Milk Bottle'.


Barbee' said...

No thank you, but I guess I'm showing my ignorance here: is that the kind of bay leaf that is used in cooking? Just curious.

Liz said...


Yep they're Bleeding Heart buds, mine are well behind yours... And I managed to trample it a few weeks ago when trying to temporary fix the broken fence (have new fence posts now so it's properly fixed!) so I'm not sure just how well it'll do. I have however planted some dry roots under the cherry - a white and a pink so hope to see some flowers in the coming months.

Good luck with your baycorns ;)

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Barbee - yes, the leaves are used in cooking, either fresh or dried. Lovely in stews (especially rabbit) and in lentil soup.

Hello Liz - I stood in the tray where my delphiniums are supposed to be germinating the other day. I have troubles with how to talk about Bleeding Hearts. Apart from the name itself making it seem as if one is swearing, and apart from me forever calling it 'Love Lies Bleeding' by mistake . . . it's very annoying when one plant has a plural name!


Søren said...

I'd love a bay bush, but I'll pass on the "baycorn"; not sure I'll be able to care properly for it... I might just fork out for a small potted bush at some point, since I really tend to use a LOT of bay leaves in my cooking. It's a bit like salt and pepper; it goes with almost anything.

As for the bleeding hearts, wow... You're so far ahead of us here in Denmark.

Mag said...

How I love Bleeding Hearts! Must go and see how mine is getting on. And I shall look at my Honeysuckle with new eyes, now.

I don't need a baycorn but some advice on what to do with my once small bay tree that got left in its pot and took firm root through the bottom of said pot, too close to a wall, would be most welcome! It is thriving wonderfully but very much in the wrong place! I really must tackle it this year but I don't want to kill it.

Plantaliscious said...

I glanced out the window yesterday to see a collared dove pecking away at my Bleeding Hearts buds. I haven't dare inspect them for damage yet...

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