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Autumn in the air


By kowhai


It’s some time since I wrote my last blog, and, basically, not much has happened in the garden, although I have mowed the lawn once or twice to keep on top of the grass which is now growing vigorously. Fortunately, some of the stalwarts are still doing their best. Ann Folkard is blooming away, providing lovely dots of cerese in the upper part of the south facing border, which receives most sunshine.

Likewise, the brilliant blue salvia seems to be ending the season with a burst of very luscious flowers. Likewise, Salvia buchananii, which, as instructed, I cut back after its first flowering, has rewarded the effort by producing an even better display. Unfortunately, the photograph doesn’t really reproduce the deep pink which is such an attractive feature of this variety, which is an RHS Ward of Garden Merit winner, and which, according to the label ‘produces rose-red to vibrant purple flowers from summer through to early autumn’. Well, it certainly performs as advertised.

And the japanese anemones, a low growing pink version, are flowering, with one solitary plant sitting uncomfortably in the border devoted mostly to hellebore. For some reason, we’ve had no success in growing the taller and usually more vigorous japanese anemones, and so far these are the only ones that have survived and, somewhat modestly, thrived.

Meanwhile, nearby, the acanthus spikes are covered in ripening fruit. I say ‘fruit’ because I’m not quite sure whether they are berries or seeds. They look pretty plump and eatable. Pity that they’re not. And they certainly look autumnal in a fruity sort of fashion.

As do the cornus leaves, which have quite suddenly turned. When they drop, we’ll still have the red stems to keep a bit of colour during the winter, particularly the three in the south border, which are adjacent to the himalayan birch, whose paper white bark contrasts very nicely with the red cornus stems. In the photo, the now red flowers of the sedum can be glimpsed. They’re doing well this year, and provide some welcome dabs of colour in a border now largely depleted of colour.

Another autumn sign is provided by the ripening hips, which look like bunches of berries, of the Kiftsgate rose, whose flowers have a brief life in the summer. Fortunately, before they are eaten by the birds, the hips have a longer life span.

Even though it’s the back end of the gardening year, we’re already looking forward to next season, and recently bought a hardy hibiscus. These must be very hardy, because, despite the worst winter in decades, this year there are abundantly flowering hibiscus all over the place. Most of them are blue, which are attractive enough, but I wanted a pink one, and we were lucky enough to spot one at a nearby garden centre. At £9.99 it wasn’t too expensive, particularly when compared with one that was about three times as large, at another garden centre near Oxford, where it was on sale for £54.00!!!!

There’s a lot to do before next year, however. In a month’s time I’ll be off to Brisbane for a couple of weeks, followed by about ten days in Vietnam. Work in both cases. But I’ll have time to enjoy the early summer in Queensland, and the abundant floral displays, among them agapanthus, which grows and flowers in spectacular fashion there. And it will be interesting to see what awaits in Da Nang.

I do know, though, from years of experience, that what will await my return in November will be a garden comprehensively submerged under the foliage which, in my month away, will have showered in abundance from the neighbouring trees. That certainly brings me back to earth with a bump — and a rake!


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Interesting to see the acanthus pods, and all the colour still in your garden.
Have a good trip. See you when you come back.

23 Sep, 2010


Thanks, Hywel. I enjoyed your recent blog in Dylan Thomas country.

24 Sep, 2010


Thanks :o) I did see your comment .

24 Sep, 2010


Ooh yes Kowhai, that's the salvia I have too, its truly gorgeous!

24 Sep, 2010


Love the salvia Kowhai. Have a safe journey. :o))

24 Sep, 2010

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