End of Month View: Still Green and Pleasant

EOMV.Oct14.1We have had an exceptionally mild autumn in the UK and although temperatures didn’t quite reach the reputed 21ºC here today this mild month has allowed the garden to cling on to its greenery, despite an early loss of colour from the dry summer and  a number of leaves from our share of Gonzalo’s Gusts. Photographs for this end of month view, kindly hosted by Helen the Patient Gardener, could therefore have been taken in any of a number of other months with just the noticeable absence of blobs of colour. Don’t forget to look at the map of the garden (under ‘The Garden’ tab above, and awaiting an update once the current Project is complete) to place where the views are in the garden.

Above are views from the back of the house, the paved area with the sitooterie (and some tree trimmings waiting to be chopped) and the streamside area with the new shrub border on the right. Several occupants of the border have been moved from elsewhere, but are joined by a replacement Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Pittisporum ‘Tom Thumb and Lonicera standishii ‘Budapest’, the latter being another fragrant winter flowering honeysuckle.  There are roses on order from David Austin for this border too.

The woodland is still at rest, although I did notice a solitary primrose flower this morning:

IMG_3369The main herbaceous borders, which will hopefully see an improvement from greater light levels now that the two shadiest trees in the woodland have been removed. One of my tasks for milder days later this year is to fork over these borders and remove all plant labels with no accompanying plant. There are also three naked ladies lying in the sunken paved area and awaiting a suitable home, a pottery plaque acquired when we visited our reclamation yard seeking materials for the Project.

IMG_3370The clematis colonnade, still with the occasional clematis and hardy geranium flower – and vainly trying to catch up with ‘Freckles’, a handful of flowers on Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle bells’ :

IMG_3372The woodland edge border, taken from the same point as the last two photos and from the truncated opposite end. I will never lose my enjoyment of walking through this border:

EOMV.Oct14.2The not-very-bold-this-season bold borders, with the extension to the right hand one, planted with some aquilegia grown from seed at the end of last year, hardy annual centaurea sown in the greenhouse at the end of August, red antirrhinums which failed to flower this year and a number of alliums:

EOMV.Oct14.3The blue and white borders, which need the same treatment as the herbaceous borders, and from which I have already removed some perennial centaurea which I have allowed to spread up to now. There are a number of aquilegia and August sown annuals planted out in these beds too.

EOMV.Oct14.4Walking through the rose garden, with the occasional rose still in flower – a near perfect ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ was noted today:

IMG_3378Back towards the house the species snowdrop border lies awaiting  to show off its preciouses in a few months – and there can be an occasional one in late December:

IMG_3379And finally, additional Crocus ‘Snowbunting have just been planted in the hedge border, where Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ still holds court, her spent flowers retained for future vases. If you look very carefully you might also see a ‘rare’ spike of Liriope muscari ‘Monroe White’ in the middle foreground…

IMG_3380Thanks for rambling with me at the end of another month, and do pop over to Helen’s blog to look at what’s happening in other people’s gardens today.


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Wordless Wednesday: Freckleface


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Times They Are A-changin’

IMG_3362Although barely visible on the above photo, trees that have resolutely remained green despite losing leaves over the last few weeks are subtly beginning to change colour, and the changing of the clocks last weekend seems to bring with it a sense of urgency, both in the garden and in our lives. Suddenly garden tasks that might previously have been left till the afternoon are now being curtailed because the light is going soon after 4 o’clock, and a policy of not being concerned if the greenhouse doors are accidentally left open overnight needs to be reviewed in case of sudden drops in temperature – not that this has been an issue this week as temperatures remained above 11 or 12ºC last night and reached about 19ºC today. These are expected to drop by about 10º over the next few days so perhaps we are in for our first frosts soon.

I am pleased to say that I got the bulk of the first batch of bulbs planted at the weekend, apart from some free alliums (which are going in the cutting beds) and the tulips, which I don’t intend to tackle yet. I have also sorted through seed packets from earlier in the year to see what spare seeds there are and considered which could be planted now for early flowering, and have some idea in my head as to what I might want to buy for next year – although for the first time I have saved some of my own. Following the dislodging last week of some of the climbing roses by the wind I have also taken the opportunity to tie in any lax new growth on all of the climbing roses, so am generally quite chuffed at getting these little maintenance tasks out of the way – when all I really want to do is get on with my Project….

Posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardening, Gardens, projects, trees | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Collection of Compositae

IMG_3356Hopefully I have not upset any botanical purists  by incorrectly including anything that does not belong to the compositae family, and although this large family includes 104,365 different species these were the only ones I could muster today for this vase. Contrary to what I said last week, having looked at my previous vase posts, today’s vase is in fact the 51st of the meme, making next week’s a full year of them. I have decided to mark the occasion the following week by looking back over the whole year and offering a ‘giveaway’ – so look out for the post on November 10th.

The collection of compositae was planned over the last few days, leaving me eagerly checking to see which of the small choice of available plants would do me proud and be in flower today, as it might have ended up a collection solely of cosmos. There were a couple of emerging buds on Bishop of Llandaff (a prettier shade in bud than when open, perhaps), a sole flower on that rogue Dahlia ‘Noordwijks Glorie’ which I am convinced has been mislabelled, several freshly open Tithonia ‘Torch’ and what I think are the stars today, two Rudbeckia ‘Rustic Dwarf’ flowers, grown from seedlings given to me by a friend (I have already bought seed for next year). Spent flowers from the rudbeckia with their emerging black cones were included for added interest, with a few sprigs cut from  Trachelospermum asiaticum.

IMG_3358Having cut all the above first, I did wonder whether not to include any cosmos after all, but visualising a short chunky grouping in a jug or vase they helped pad it out, although in the end I didn’t include all of the cosmos pickings and will have a little vase of them in the bathroom. I had intended to try and use a container that had not been featured before, but with another short arrangement I quickly reverted to the cream car boot jug with the orange trim. Having fiddled about trying to intersperse the pink of the cosmos with its brighter neighbours and feeling that the more I handled the flowers the more they would suffer, in the end I just twisted a rubber band round them and cut the stems again so the flowers just sat above the rim of the jug. Being dry and fairly bright outside the light was good, and the vase was photographed beside the trough at the side of the house, against the background of mossy stones.

I am not entirely satisfied with the end result, being left with a feeling that ‘it will do’, but having looked back this week at every other vase I have made for the meme I know there were many others that started out like that but grew on me as I lived with them during the ensuing days – and it’s all part of the learning process! As materials become more limited, who knows what will be in next week’s vase – but I can assure you there will be something! If you would like to join in and experience the challenge of finding things from your own garden or round about to put in a container and bring into the house to enjoy during the week, then please do. If you would like to share the result with us then just leave a link in a comment  on this post to yours, and a link on yours back to this post. You would be very welcome!


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Following in the Footsteps…

IMG_3312…of 18th century visitors, we visited the grounds of Rousham House in Oxfordshire on the way down to see Elder Daughter and the Poppet a week ago. Apparently Rousham represents the first phase of English landscape design and remains almost as its designer, William Kent (1685-1748) left it, one of the few gardens of this date to have escaped alteration, with many features which delighted eighteenth century visitors. The house is still in the ownership of the same family but is only open by appointment so our visit was just took in the parkland and walled garden, which we had virtually to ourselves.

The features that would have delighted those visitors are the cascades, ponds, statues , follies and sham ruins, artfully placed in the woods or on the skyline:

IMG_3317IMG_3310IMG_3316IMG_3318 IMG_3319 IMG_3320 IMG_3321 IMG_3322Through an enticing gate to the walled garden brought us to a range of espalier apples, some probably dating from the original garden and some clearly later replacements:

IMG_3283IMG_3284IMG_3287Eighteenth century visitors would not have had the benefit of the double herbaceous borders that visitors to Rousham earlier this year would have had (but which we were too late for), nor the huge beds of dahlias and a further border full of dahlias that were full of statuesque colour, but no doubt they would have been delighted by whatever was the height of eighteenth century fashion in this more ornamental part of the garden. There was a parterre, with box hedges and roses and a dovecote, but unfortunately there was no information on the original contemporary planting although the walled garden was probably purely used to provide food for the house and its guests. Perhaps garden history archives of this or similar properties would give us some clues…



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IMG_3348One thing I did not show in full yesterday on GBFD, but noticed when I was rambling taking the necessary photos, was this minor casualty of Hurricane Gonzalo on Tuesday. You would never have guessed from that fetching picture of bark and ivyIMG_3339 that the tree itself had snapped in the gusts that were our share of the anticipated wind damage. The gusts were not especially severe but this birch, like the others in the woodland had grown tall and spindly because of the limited light it received. Usually when it’s breezy you can see the tops of them rustling whilst the trunks themselves are undisturbed but now, with the cherry and ash removed, they are exposed to the wind when it blows from a westerly direction – and for the tree nearest the two that were felled, this was the result……

Clearly, the effects of removing the two larger trees, both planted at the same time as the birch in 2000, are not wholly positive – and although we will reap the benefits of the increase in light you can see from the picture below that our neighbour’s beech is in a class of its own and will continue to create its own shade as well as huge quantities of leaves and beech nuts. It does allow us its wonderful autumn colour though, which we can still look forward to – but not quite yet, by the look of it…

IMG_3354Behind me and the point from which the photographs were taken, work has commenced on the ‘Secret Project’, the delayed start (not that every project commences as soon it is conceived) being the result of having to link it with something else, the reasons for which will become clear in due course. This is why the extension to the bold border and the new bed in the fruit cage happened before they otherwise might have done. No clues – sorry, you will have to remain in the dark….

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Wordless Wednesday: Foliage Focus for GBFD

IMG_3344GBFD.Oct14.2GBFD.Oct14.3GBFD.Oct14.1GBFD.Oct14.4IMG_3334(and thanks to Christina for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: do visit her blog to see more foliage, with or without words, from gardens around the world)

Posted in Garden Bloggers Foliage day, Gardens, Wordless Wednesday | 25 Comments