Monday, 31 October 2011

End of Month View ~ October 2011

It seems as if somebody has pressed the pause button on my EOMV border as it does not seem to look that much different to what it did one month ago. Ok the dahlias are now only sending forth the odd flower but other occupants are still going strong. Geranium 'Bob's Blunder' is still flowering his little socks off along with the chocolate cosmos and verbena bonariensis whilst one of the penstemons is getting its second wind. I have transplanted the thyme division that was waiting in the wings last month but I am afraid the bulbs have still to go in. I also now have some sturdy little dianthus plants to add to the border. These have grown from slips that I took from my parent's garden earlier this year - I don't know their name but they have the most wonderful fragrance. I am not sure whether to plant them out now or leave until spring - decisions, decisions.

It is still good gardening weather. We still have to have our first frost and October 2011 apparently is going to be one of the warmest on record in the U.K. since such recordings began. On the excellent BBC2 'Autumnwatch'  programme last week, one of the presenters said that this autumn has been dubbed a 'double dip' autumn which seems a most apt description. It did indeed start early but the end of September heatwave slowed its progress somewhat dramatically. However the last week or so has seen significant changes. I am now enjoying watching the leaves turning on the autumn flowering cherry which you can see in the above photo. The end of British Summer Time means that it will be soon be serious catalogue browsing and making plans for next year time so more of that soon no doubt.

With special thanks to Helen who blogs over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' and who came up with the idea of an end of month view. It is a great wait of stopping still and taking stock.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My Guilty Pleasure

O IS FOR?
OLD CROCKS ! ~ this pile made me go oh so positively weak at the knees when opportunely observed on a garden outing this spring. Oh to have been able to take them home with me.

Over to ABC Wednesday where there's an ovation for the letter O!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Why Willows Weep and Other Stories

"How did the oak tree come to life? Why does the chestnut tree have white candles? Why does nothing grow under the beech tree (or does it?)? Why crab apples are sour? Why birches have silver bark? Why the ash has black buds?" 

We are on the cusp here between some lingering remnants of colour in the garden and the changes that the first frost of autumn will no doubt bring about. We were teased by a forecast of frost earlier in the week but it did not materialise, rain pushing it considerately away in the night. So the dahlias still sparkle  and I was saved the job of lifting them to morph into that sad state of tuberous limbo. I am debating whether to leave the 'Bishop's Children' in the ground during the winter and let them take their chances. They were so easy to grow from seed. Meanwhile work continues trying to clear some of the beds at the allotment. The last few beans have been picked and although they diminished quality wise they have have been good enough to lob into soup along with the never ending courgettes. One plant is still producing so I am going to leave it until we get that first touch of white. My order of garlic has arrived in the post - nice plump bulbs from Otter Farm.

Another time consuming task is sweeping up leaves which at this moment in time is one of those thankless ones as more leaves fall as soon as one lot is swept and bagged up. The main culprit in the back garden is a huge ash tree which we inherited when we moved here. I have never held it in much affection until earlier this week, when I came across mention of a book entitled 'Why Willows Weep' on the Woodland Trust website. The book is a collection of short stories by contemporary authors who have donated their stories enabling the Woodland Trust to plant five native trees for every book sold.

After listening to one of the stories 'Why The Ash Has Black Buds?' read here by its author William Fiennes, I will be treating myself and maybe a good friend to this tome by way of a soon on the horizon seasonal gift. I will also look at our ash in a more loving manner in the future and the curses will cease. Do have a listen to this story if you can as I think that like me you will be absolutely entranced! 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

"Not Just A Pretty Face"

N IS FOR?
NASTURTIUMS! (tropaeolum majus) ~ a real no nonsense plant, which once introduced to allotment or garden, will be an almost never - ending source of not only attractive and long lasting colour but also of nourishment too. The name 'nasturtium' derives from the Latin words for nose - nas and twist - tortum, which is what some noses might well do in response to niffing them ~ not that they emit a nasty odour but they can be noticeably pungent. Nasturtiums are half hardy annuals which self seed themselves vigorously about once you have them, although after a few years mine are now diminishing in numbers. Now for a note to self - remember to include some on next year's seed list. Not only can the flowers be included in a nifty nosegay you can also nibble them too along with the leaves and pickled seed pods.

Now nip over to ABC Wednesday, the creation of one Denise Nesbitt and where the rather neat letter N is making a lot of noise this week!

P.S. I have to confess that the above nasturtiums are not grown in my patch - I nabbed a photo when we were visiting a garden earlier this year.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

In The Footsteps of Miss Jane Austen

M IS FOR?
MAGICAL MORNINGS ! ~ one of which we enjoyed recently as we meandered and mooched round the beautiful gardens of Goodnestone Park, Kent during our recent holiday. The author Jane Austen's brother Edward lived in a house on the estate for some time and Jane was a regular visitor to Goodnestone. It was almost possible to imagine her strolling about the grounds as we more or less had the place to ourselves. Our visit was made towards the middle of the month and just after the start of a new school new year.

Maybe some of my gardening mates might be able to help me identify a mystery plant that I marveled at - flowers and foliage below ~


It's one for my must have list when I can find out what it is. More musings on the marvellous and magnificent letter M over at ABC Wednesday and more to follow here on Goodnestone Park soon.

Monday, 10 October 2011

"Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes"


The end of September heatwave has long since evaporated giving way to what has been now been more than a week of wind, rain and even some hail thrown in for good measure. There has been little sunshine, everywhere is soggy, uninvited leaves cartwheel in whenever the door is opened and the last of my courgettes was eaten before I got to it. Not sure what it was but it must have been a big hungry creature!

Meanwhile before the sunshine left us there was much loud noise, extremely unsociable bonfires and various goings on next door, resulting in a blot on the landscape. Our neighbours are making changes to their garden. I am not sure yet what the outcome will be but the proceedings up to now have not been encouraging. They have consisted of much pruning, some of it rather drastic including the removal of a large tree. Not a special tree by any account - just a bog standard conifer but it provided both them and us with cover and a degree of privacy. Now it has gone we can see much more of neighbouring houses and gardens, including a view of a very uneven and bedraggled boundary hedge, ugly fencing as well as next door's shed and washing line. We are now very much in public view when we nip out to the bins, garage and to the cold frame which are all at at the back of the house. Finding a solution to this is going to be problematic as our garage is too near the boundary for us to plant something on our side. Himself does not understand why I am so miffed but living as we do down in a hollow, I feel that we have lost one area where we were not overlooked in the summer months.

I know nothing stands still yet I always find it disconcerting and somewhat upsetting when views unexpectedly change overnight. Still this weekend I gained some comfort from sowing sweet peas - one of the many forward looking and optimistic constants in the gardening year. I am slightly less grumpy and out of sorts than I was a few days ago!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

"There'll Be Bluebirds Over"

L IS FOR?
LAKE!
Late last month himself and I enjoyed a leisurely loiter round The Pines Garden, at St. Margaret's Bay in Kent where we lingered lazily by the lake. If you look long and hard into the background you can glimpse the landmark legendary white cliffs of Dover.

A more lucid view was to be had by taking a little walk from the garden down to the beach below ~

Lots more on the letter L over at ABC Wednesday!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

End Of Month View ~ September 2011

Slowly but inveitably the colour is ebbing away now in the EOMV as the dahlias and penstemons wind down, although I have been pleased to note that other plants have come to the fore. What is still going strong and has made amazing growth from the little plant purchased earlier this year is geranium 'Bob's Blunder'. This plant originates from Cotswold Garden Flowers and is named after owner and plantsman Bob Brown. I have tried to photograph this plant several times but it is most difficult to capture the flower colour. Flecks of white appear which are not visible to the naked eye. I have tried in different light and this is the best photo so far. The foliage of this plant is very attractive - in fact I like it more than the flower. I am not sure what will happen to the foliage as the days get colder so it will be interesting to observe. Another occupant of the border which is still flourishing is the chocolate cosmos which still has a myriad of unopened buds. I am debating whether to leave it in the ground with some added protection for winter or whether to dig the tuber up and overwinter along with the dahlias.

Waiting in the wings to go in the border are some miniature daffs for spring colour, a little clump of thyme (offshoot of one already growing elsewhere in the garden) and the one and only plant that I bought on holiday. A reality check in the shape of himself reared its ugly head in the oh most so tempting nursery at Great Dixter. I was pointedly reminded in no uncertain terms that it would be nearly a fortnight before any plants hit base. I restrained myself made do with a pennisetum alopecuroides 'Little Bunny' which I bought in the last couple of days of our holiday. As it name indicates this is a minature grass and not surprisingly is the sort of plant that makes you want to reach out and stroke it. 

With thanks to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' who came up with the idea of the end of month view.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Garden Bloggers Muse Day ~ October 2011

 "You ought to know that October is the first spring month"
~ Karel Capek - 1890 -1938, an extract from 'The Gardener's Year'.

This muse post has been inspired by Carolyn Choi who previously blogged over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.