Saturday, 31 October 2015

End Of Month View ~ October 2015


October is coming to an end with snowdrops and sweet peas. The snowdrop in question is one of my specials 'Galanthus plicatus 'Three Ships' - well I that's what the label purports. If the identity is correct it's certainly sailing in well ahead of time. From what I've read about it although an autumn flowering snowdrop, it's more of a late November/ December bloomer than a late October star. I will have to get out my snowdrop tomes and do some serious research. This week on the sweet pea front I've picked what will probably be the last vase worth of the year from the allotment. I thought that I might have picked the last bunch just before we went off on holiday in the last week of September but returned to find that the plants have got a second wind. I will do a separate post on this year's sweet peas soon. I was thinking of missing out on autumn sowing again this year but had a change of heart so a batch of 'Cupani' have just gone in. I'm trying a late October sowing rather than an early one to see if this will produce less leggy plants by the time they are ready for planting out.

I must admit that I have been very much in the doldrums recently when it comes to both garden and allotment which I think explains why I've not participated in the EOMV for some time. In fact I've just checked and June was my last contribution! Lack of time has been a real issue this year which may be hard to understand as I'm no longer working. In theory I should have all the time in the world but in practise it's not working out like that at the moment.  I was hoping for a bit of catch up and to do some planting when we returned from holiday earlier this month. However I had more or less no sooner unpacked when I had to unexpectedly down tools to go and care for a poorly mother. So October has gone by in a blink. It doesn't help that October has been a most benign and gardener friendly month. 

I had been feeling decidedly peeved at missed gardening opportunities but I'm trying to be positive and think ahead to next year now! I have bulbs to plant (too many as usual), have just ordered a new shrub promising dazzling autumnal colour and am considering one or two perennial purchases for spring delivery. I've also cheered up every time I go out in the garden at the moment by the new crab apple that we planted back in February 2014. Malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel' has produced its first ever fruits which are an absolute delight. The books say they quite often last until the new year and so far there seems to be little in the way of damage from the elements or theft from the feathered population. 

Thanks as always to the lovely Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for hosting this most useful and informative monthly meme. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Anyone Who Had A Heart'

Taking centre stage this week is the second of my chrysanthemum collection to flower. I know that Cathy, our intrepid 'In A Vase on Monday' hostess also bought the same collection of rooted chrysanthemum cuttings from Sarah Raven as I did earlier in the year. So I've been wondering how her plants are faring of late. Any blooms yet Cathy? We are both keen to see the acid green 'Froggy' leap into action.

This particular chrysanthemum goes by the name of 'John Riley' and it's a tender perennial. The flowers took me by complete surprise returning home on Friday after an unexpected absence of a good few days. The vase has been lurking on a hall window sill for some considerable time but has never been used for flowers before. It's an Emma Bridgewater Pink Hearts Milk Bottle Vase and was purchased a few years ago via eBay. 


The neck of the vase is on the small side but three flowers slipped in nicely. Now I will wait with bated breath to see if the flowers live up to the information that they will look good in a vase for up to three weeks. The rest of the collection has still to flower but there are buds and tantalising hints of colour so fingers crossed for a late autumn show. 


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tree Following With Lucy ~ Disappearing Act


After an absence from the garden catching up with my chosen tree and its neighbour was much anticipated on my return. We arrived back home in darkness so it wasn't until the next morning that I hurtled out to see my trees with visions of finding some ripe pears dangling from the branches. I had given up any hope of eating fruit from the 'Doyenne du Comice' tree this year but was looking forward to munching pears from its neighbour a few feet away. Back in September there were nine healthy looking tantalising fruits dangling from its branches. Well what was waiting for me? Not a single solitary pear was left on the tree and no traces of cores or pips in the vicinity! Oh what disappointment and yet another year to wait before I eat one of my own pears. This waiting for my first homegrown pear is in danger of becoming a saga that may yet outlive me.

I must admit that in the flurry of activity that seems accompany holiday preparations, I may have not paid close heed to them in the week or so before we left but they were definitely still on the tree when we left. I understand that the weather was mainly dry, sunny and warm whilst we were away. However there was one wet and windy day, which may explain the rather large broken tree branch I found on the ground nearby. This was from a tree growing on the boundary of the garden not so far from the pears. My theory is that the fruits had probably ripened in this golden spell of autumn weather, only to be shaken off on that one wild day and snaffled up by one of the many passing grey squirrels which haunt the garden. Oh yes I can imagine that the flavour combo with horse chestnut conkers would be quite delicious.





Well the wait goes on. My chosen tree is now looking rather sorry for itself as you can see from the top photo being already almost completely undressed. I'm sure that it did not look so weary last October. In comparison its pear tree neighbour is still wearing mainly green. Back in September our hostess Lucy commented that she would like a closer peek at the rust affecting some of the leaves. In response to this I took a couple of photos. I will add these as a postscript to September's post but have also included them here. If you have a pear tree and see orange spots like this take action and remove the affected leaves. I was slightly consoled by a comment from Brian over at Our Garden@19, who said that his pear tree was affected by rust for the first time this year. Maybe it's just not been the year of the pear.

Thanks as always to Lucy over 'Loose And Leafy' who hosts this meme where tree followers and their trees gather from all over the show gather every month for an update.

Monday, 12 October 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ Autumn's Bounty


There has been quite a major change on the home front here when himself retired at the end of May. One of his long held wishes was to go on a rail holiday in Europe to celebrate and that's what we have just done. Starting off in Amsterdam we then travelled on to Berlin, Prague, Bratislava (a last minute destination instead of Budapest), Vienna and finally Frankfurt before arriving back home on Saturday evening. 

We have some absolutely fabulous memories including seeing the finishing stages of the Berlin Marathon as the runners came through the Brandenburg Gate, walking around the enchanting city of Prague, and in Vienna visiting the jaw- dropping formal gardens at the Schönbrunn Palace as well as watching the Lipizzaner horses train at the Spanish School of Riding.


However we've taken away some most poignant and sobering memories too of groups of refugees gathered on the concourse of the main railway station at Vienna. Their numbers included some family groups but what was particularly noticeable were the significant numbers of apparently single young men, most of whom were travelling with very little in the way of possessions. On our departure from Vienna for Frankfurt on Friday morning, several of their numbers were waiting for the same train as us and we were asked several times for confirmation of the train's destination.The journey started but for many of them ended prematurely at Passau on the German border. Here a number of police officers walked through the train to check whether they had visas to enter Germany, explaining that without these they could proceed no further. The outcome of this was that a number of refugees had to leave the train. We're sure what happened next - our last sight of our fellow passengers was as they were shepherded into an queue on the platform. The experience certainly put any small worries I have into perspective and reminded us of just how fortunate we are. 

On a lighter note although we only visited one garden as such during the trip, I had to make several compulsory pit stops to gaze at gawp at the displays outside florist' shops. My 'vase' this week is one that caught my eye in Bratislava. In the pumpkin were asters, a dahlia, a sunflower, various hips and berries, richly coloured leaves, a couple of ears of sweet corn, hedgehogy cases spilling out sweet chestnuts, crab apples as well as what looked liked sprigs of herby goodness. Being a rather clumsy I dare not risk getting close up to peek to see how the contents were secured in case I disturbed the rest of the display. I did not have the energy yesterday or have had time today to come up with my own vase and take photos but thought that this is one that is calling out to be shared. With thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling Over The Garden' who came up with the brilliant concept of 'A Vase On Monday'. Do call in and wonder over vases from near and far.