The Eyes Have It: Six Spots, Patches and Circles on Saturday

Having finally given the Golfer permission to pick the rest of the apples, it now fell to me to Do Something with them – one of the less enjoyable seasonal tasks as we have never had anything other than a good crop. Fortunately I had already given bagfuls away, and after having prepared and blanched as many of them that I felt might be needed during the year, I thought I would try drying a few of them in the Aga.

I borrowed a friend’s dehydrator some years ago with reasonable success, creating a large supply of leathery and pleasantly chewy apple slices which kept for ages, but decided to tap the constant heat of the Aga instead. The skins were not all perfect so the apples were peeled before being sliced thinly and placed on baking parchment and left in the warming oven of the Aga overnight, this time giving tasty apple ‘crisps’ instead of leathery slices, which a few hours less would probably have produced. I shall certainly make some more as they were fairly quick to prepare, and then give the last of the apples to a friend who keeps horses!

With showers forecast for later, I allowed myself a small diversion to my after-breakfast ramble, to pick the currently ripe raspberries in the fruit cage – and was gobsmacked to see extensive patches of fungi growing in the woodchippings that the whole area is mulched with. I am no expert on fungi and, having been severely reprimanded by friends’ parents as a fairly young child for picking fungi in the woodland we were camping next to, would never pick them now, even if they were edible. I am sure these will be something very ordinary and there will be people reading this post who will be able to identify them:

Anna of Green Tapestry asked me recently which of my many witch hazels coloured-up best; my reply was that they tended to vary from year to year, but seeing this glorious patch of colour today reminds me that Hamamelis ‘Zuccariniana’ must be up there with the best of them. It positively GLOWS!

Bulb ordering is made a little easier by noting down gaps and ideas as they occur – I then staple the list to the Peter Nyssen catalogue (where most of my bulbs come from) for quick reference when I come to order the next time. Earlier this year I noted there was a bare patch in the streamside grass, the whole area generously sprinkled with Crocus tommasinianus and NarcissusTête á Tête’ apart from one corner. Rejecting the suggested random strewing of bulbs, this was remedied today by inserting my spade a few inches and lifting a thin wedge of turf and soil and placing the bulbs along the bottom in long wavy lines. It’s pretty quick and looks reasonably natural.

Having sprayed them fairly early on in the season, the roses here have been fairly free of black spot this year, although I didn’t get round to a later spraying and some bushes have succumbed quite late on in the season. I noted that almost all leaves on ‘Darcy Bussell’ and ‘James L Austin’ in these two beds were affected so this morning these were the first to be defoliated. Defoliation is a technique I have used for the last couple of seasons, ever since I was ordering potted roses from David Austin in the autumn and they advised me they may already have been defoliated prior to despatch. I learned that each autumn they defoliate ALL the roses in their show gardens and nursery to reduce the risk of black spot, and at only a few minutes for each bush even with my abundant collection it isn’t a huge task and I will gradually do the same with the rest of them before they drop their foliage.

Back in June, I arranged for the first of a series of aerial photographs of the garden, taken by a near-neighbour, a professional photographer. The first of these, with our plot outlined, is already posted on the blog under The Garden tab, and below is our garden patch in September, the absence of the oak tree very noticeable to us but perhaps less so to non-residents. I am particularly looking forward to the next one, which will show the garden in December and almost entirely devoid of leaf cover.

So there we have my six spots, patches and circles on Saturday, put together for Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme. Please visit his blog too see his own six and find links to the varied sixes of other bloggers throughout the globe.

This entry was posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, fruit, fungi, Gardening, Gardens, roses and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to The Eyes Have It: Six Spots, Patches and Circles on Saturday

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh! You have an Aga. I have always wanted one but don’t do much cooking these days so wouldn’t make sense.

    • Cathy says:

      To me it’s not just a cooker, Beverley, but the heart of the home – it heats the kitchen, dries the washing and all sorts of other things, as well as cooking. I love being able to bake on impulse and just pop it in the Aga – Aga pastry is brilliant, as is Aga toast!

  2. I recently stumbled upon a dehydrator setting on my oven!? haven’t tried it. Your apples look wonderful and the Witch Hazel is a autumn beauty.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    The hazel is rad! For some, they are already blooming. It has been so long since we grew them at the farm, that I do not remember what their seasons are here, although I do remember that they colored remarkably well for our mild climate. Common witch hazel is unavailable here, so I purchased mine from the Arbor Day Foundation. Unfortunately, they burned in a forest fire in August.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s a shame, Tony – have you been much affected by the fires?

      • tonytomeo says:

        I am not too concerned about the hazel. It will likely regenerate. There was nothing on those parcels that was worth worrying about. However, some homes nearby burned. We were evacuated for days, which is why the garden here dried up. Our facilities had been unused because of the other ‘situation’, but became used when the firefighters needed lodging. As they left, volunteers arrived to help those who lost homes, and they stayed in the otherwise unused lodging. Now, unused cabins are being inhabited by some of those who lost their homes. So, although the fires did not bother me directly, they really changed our Community.

        • Cathy says:

          You make it sound quite matter of fact but it must have all been very dramatic, Tony

          • tonytomeo says:

            I left prior to the evacuation, expecting to return that evening. I was then stranded in the Santa Clara Valley, without what I needed for a few days. I missed the drama. The people in the neighborhood where I stayed were mostly oblivious to what was going on just a few miles away in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The scariest part was calling those I work with while they were evacuating, but before I was aware of the situation. Smoking ash was already falling right outside here. A few stayed as late as they could to monitor the water delivery system that the fire suppression systems of many of the buildings here, as well as a few hydrants, rely on. Of course, fire suppression systems would have been useless if the fire had gotten this far. Some of the homeless people I know who lived in their cars prior to the fire were chauffeuring those without cars to evacuation camps in other towns, and breaking into homes to get dogs and cats for those who were away at work and unable to return home when the evacuation happened. Someone who had been laid off here earlier (because of the ‘other’ situation) started working at Big Basin two weeks prior to the fire. Although he was aware of the fire that morning, he was unaware of the acceleration of the advance as he left his corporation yard in the morning. While at work, he could hear muffled explosions off in the distance, and learned later that they were propane tanks and fuel tanks of other vehicles that were in the corporation yard that he had just left. He got to the small town where many of the people he works with lived, just as the fire arrived. Homes seemed to explode in fire. He thought he stayed a safe distance ahead of the fire, but the side view mirrors and other black vinyl parts of the vehicles he and his associated fled in melted from the radiant heat. It was horrid; but I missed it all.

          • Cathy says:

            Gosh, what a dramatic situation – I suspect you have mixed feelings about missing much of it….

          • tonytomeo says:

            I feel guilty for being away while my associates were handling everything here. I also feel guilty because so many others lost their homes. They have families, and need their homes more than I do. The fire burned several homes around two of my properties, but did not burn my properties, which have no homes on them.

          • Cathy says:

            I can understand that Tony, even though none of it was within your control. Has it all been extinguished or burnt out in your area now?

  4. Noelle M says:

    I used to buy a bag of ‘Apple Crisps’ years ago from Waitrose around Christmas as one of my special treats. How lovely that you can make your own. Love the elements of your SOS this week, and with the tips on making notes regarding planting bulbs.

    • Cathy says:

      They may well not be as crispy as commercially produced ones, but they are certainly tasty. My special treat of that kind would be vegetable crisps I suppose

  5. ARUN GOYAL says:

    Beautiful post ! It reminds me of buying Bulbs for the upcoming spring bloom .It would be my pleasure if you join my link up party related to gardening here

  6. Anna says:

    Funny that doing something with the apples is also usually left to me Cathy although himself sometimes has been spotted peeling them if pushed into it. I had never thought of drying them. Will have to experiment next year. Your hamamelis ‘Zuccariniana’ is fabulous – a veritable beacon.

  7. cavershamjj says:

    i de-leaf my roses too, but not normally until i prune them in the new year. perhaps i should give them an early trim. as you say, it doesn’t take long.

  8. What a good idea for knowing/remembering where bulbs are needed. I shall try to do something similar next year as remembering the gaps doesn’t work any more😂

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