Winding Down?


Clearing the greenhouse of tomato plants certainly seemed to herald the start of the garden winding down – the photo does not, however, show the piles of green and not-quite-so green tomatoes laid out on the staging on the other side. In the house, though, there are tomatoes in the freezer and plenty of jars of chutney so the green tomatoes may only make it as far as the compost heap.

Elsewhere in the garden, following on from the ‘plans’drawn up of the main herbaceous beds, I have now roughly sketched out the contents of the other beds in preparation for their general overhaul, removal of dross , rearrangement of the keepers and planning of additions. The more often I pass the bold borders with their  crocosmia the more I am determined they will be out on their ears – or at least into pots until they can reprove their worth. And think of the space they will generate when they vacate their current premises!

Three out of the four main herbaceous beds had a partial overhaul last year and it was the turn of the fourth bed last weekend – everything was removed, the bed roughly dug over and compost added before the worthies were replaced in sensible positions. Hopefully they will repay me next year and enjoy the company of new and more  appropriate bedfellows. In the meantime there is a mixed pile of sweepings to deal with – broken stems, tired annuals and far too many defunct plant labels!

Unlike Edinburgh where we currently are for a few days and where I have happily been scuffing my way through piles of dry leaves, leaf sweeping at home has not yet become the demanding task it will undoubtedly be in a few weeks time – so perhaps the garden is not ready to wind down after all… the dahlias and the cosmos in the cutting beds certainly don’t think so:

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Wordless Wednesday: How I Love Those Freckles!


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In a Vase on Monday: Remnants

img_8336Although there is still plenty to pick from the garden for a vase, in many cases it may only be a single bloom at a time. It would be a shame not to take advantage of these remnants, so I picked as and where I could today.

img_8340Most prominent was a single bloom of Dahlia ‘Karma Fuchsiana’, the mother plant not having been very productive this year, joined by partially opened buds of Dahlias ‘Karma Naomi’ and ‘Nuit d’Eté’. Three freshly opening blooms of another dahlia have made their debut this week, grown from a Gardeners’ World ‘free’ tuber labelled ‘Glow’; the emerging tightly packed salmony coloured heads, however, do not resemble the Dahlia ‘Glow’ that Google showed me… Joining the dahlias were the last tails of Amaranthus caudatus, several spikes of Lavender ‘Spanish Eyes’, vivid pink blooms and aromatic leaves of Salvia ‘Neon’, spikes of Heuchera, Fuchsia magellanica and chubby Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

Last week’s vase suffered from its small size as the water had to be refreshed several times, making me cautious about today’s choice, especially as capacity has to be balanced with height as well. The small rectangular glass vase was pressed into service again, proving to be really versatile, and glass beads were added to hold the stems in place. Props were scraps of fabric left from dressmaking projects. As a child I used to enjoy delving into my mother’s ‘stuff basket’ where she kept her own fabric remnants, and as an adult I built up a small collection of patchwork quilts, finding the individual scraps of fabric in them fascinating. Of course I now also have my own stack of fabric remnants – which must be delved deeply into soon as Elder Daughter has asked me to make a selection of dressing up clothes for The Poppet for Christmas…

What remnants or bountiful blooms in your garden will you pop into your vases this week, and what stories can you weave round them? Do share them with us on your blog by including links to and from this post.


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Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: True Colours… Are Beautiful

img_8325Whatever else people might feel about autumn, I am pretty sure they would still admit that the seasonal colours are beautiful. Personally, I am always bowled over by these two witch hazels, Hamamelis ‘Ruby Glow’ and H ‘Zuccariniana’; H Diane in front of them is not in the same league. In the top corner you can see the ‘tree house’, currently having a paint job following its refurbishment with a nice slate roof and a new floor.

The witch hazels vary tremendously in their autumnal habits, some like the two above and bronzey H ‘Magic Fire’ below flaunting their disposable new coats, whilst others like H ‘Arnold Promise have lost all their leaves in a blink of eye, although the latter provides a different interest with its generous provision of seed capsules:

img_8328 img_8332Most of the larger trees are showing autumnal signs, but there is still a long way to fo as you can see looking beyond the paved area and sitooterie to the woodland beyond and next door’s huge beech tree on the left:


The leaves on Amelanchier lamarkii have moved – possibly overnight on one of the nights when temperatures have dipped to 4ºC – but are just as lovely on the stone circle as they are on the tree:

img_8333 img_8334I was admiring Cornus ‘Westonbirt’ on Lead Up The Garden Path earlier, but had forgotten how dark the leaves were my own C alba ‘Sibirica’, albeit largely gone now. The stems show great promise for the winter months though, as do those on C sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and C sanguinea ’Midwinter Fire’. Aren’t they gorgeous?

img_8326But what’s that post? Oh – it’s a ‘dovecote’…

img_8327Christina of My Hesperides Garden ably encourages us to observe and appreciate our foliage more and hosts a monthly meme for us to share the best bits, so thank you to her for hosting and do visit her blog to look at other foliage around the world. However, my favourite foliage in the garden at the moment has undoubtedly got to be this corner at the other end of the shrub border, with Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’, Ophiopogon replanted from the rockery when it was dismantled, Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ and Carex ‘Everillo’ – I love it. True colours are indeed beautiful…


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Wordless Wednesday: the Boot is in the Other Foot


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In a Vase on Monday: Late but Lovely

img_8311Finally, Karma Serena has obliged and produced two blooms for a vase – it seems ironic that this was the first dahlia to flower last year, appearing in a vase on July 20th, almost three months earlier than this time round. Why? I have absolutely no idea!

img_8313I wanted to keep the vase simple so as not to detract from the elegant beauty of the dahlia, having almost forgotten just how beautiful it was – pure white with a green tint diffusing from the centre. Minimal accompaniment took the form of two blooms of Dahlia ‘Twynings After Eight’ (note the hint of pink on the petals, as well as the pollen), a stem of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, spent heads of Sunflower ‘Italian White’ and Japanese anemone, and a dark heuchera flower spike – not quite black and white but a similar degree of contrast.

timeismoneyThe vase was one of my numerous Caithness Glass ones, chipped at the rim – but you can’t see that, can you? It was a tight squeeze to include even these austere contents and meant that additional stems were excluded but the result is nevertheless pleasing. The tardy arrival of Serena prompted today’s prop, a vintage tin and card money box, dating perhaps from the 1940s.

I am not quite sure what the benefits are of encouraging small children to place a financial value on time, and what they would do with the time and money saved by the time their money box was full of old pennies, but perhaps working it out can be your teaser for today. If, however, you would rather spend your time more productively by picking what you can from your garden and popping it in a vase or jam jar, then please share it with us too by including links to and from this post.


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Garden Bloggers Blooms Day: Bloomin’ Dahlias and the Rest

bloomingdahlias‘Bedding dahlias’ grown from seed have supplemented those grown from tubers and together they dominate the October garden; these supposedly annual dahlias were an absolute cinch to grow and now having formed tubers can and will be lifted and retained for another year, some for my own borders and some for the open day, and other mixes to grow from seed will be sought. The white one with the flush of pink in the bottom left corner is the prettiest to emerge from the mixes I grew this year, which tend to be dominated by yellows and oranges.

Dahlias are not the only things blooming on GBBD this month, the meme hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, and the selection shown in the slideshow below is not comprehensive as there are still odd blooms on other roses and clematis and a range of other plants too, enjoying the autumn sunshine and cocking a snook at the shorter days and cooler temperatures, as I am too.

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