Saturday, 22 November 2014

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day ~ November 2014


Still sitting in a pot on a rather soggy Saturday is one of my latest foliage purchases heuchera 'Georgia Plum'. I bought this earlier this year from Plantagogo at the Southport Flower Show. Plantagogo is a fairly local concern being a Cheshire based nursery specialising in heucheras, heucherellas and tiarellas. The nursery holds national collections of both heuchera and heucherellas and away from home have been gold medal award winners at all the major flower shows. Owner Vicky Fox also gives talks to gardening societies and other organisations. She has visited our local gardening club a couple of times and is one of those speakers who is so enthusiastic about their subject that you feel you could listen to them time and time again.


I mentioned earlier this year that one of my projects this year was to bring back some permanent mainly foliage container planting to the north facing courtyard outside the front door. I've failed abysmally so far so baby steps from now on so that hopefully I can achieve this goal during 2015. 'Georgia Plum' should fare nicely in this spot. I have a couple of companions in mind for her so far which are lurking ready made in the cold frame. They are an ophiopogon nigrescens and some early flowering galanthus 'Faringdon Double'. I'm intending to add a couple of other ingredients to the mix but am not sure what yet. I also need a new pot so sometime this week hope to locate both a pot and some more plant material that would be happy in shade. Any suggestions would be welcome. In the meantime I'm off to have a look at Christina's monthly foliage day meme over at 'Creating my own garden of the Heserides' for some inspiration.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

November Musing - 2014



"My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree
She walked the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise".

- 'My November Guest' by Robert Frost1874 -1963.

Illustration - 'Dancing Fairies' by Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ November 2014


Deserving of a long service award is erigeron karvinskianus formerly known as erigeron mucronatus, which flowers from as early in March right up to the first frosts. It is dotted about our shady north facing courtyard and would probably be more floriferous, even at this time of year if it was able to sunbathe. Still those dainty little daisies bring cheer on gloomy autumn days as they greet me on leaving and coming home.

Below glimpses of this plant in full summer mode taken earlier this year at  Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, gives some idea of their inclination to self seed with gay abandon and their ability to grow in seemingly somewhat inhospitable territory.



Apart from its long flowering period another attraction of this little daisy is the way the flowers change from white to pink as they age. It can be grown easily from seed or bought as a plant although I think that the latter option is usually relatively expensive.




This plant has been growing in our garden for many years surviving both what winters have thrown at it and himself's attempts to kill it off. He regards it as a weed! 

Thanks go as always to Gail over at May Dreams Gardens, who kindly provides us with the opportunity to wonder at other bloggers seasonal blooms every month.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tree Following With Lucy ~ November 2014


My willow has stood on tippy toes during the last month and has shed all bar a few leaves which are still clinging tenaciously atop of the branches. It's rather windy today and I'm not sure whether there will still be any hangers on tomorrow. There was no dramatic autumnal colouring up with my tree but a subtle thinning away. As Chloris from 'The Blooming Garden' commented in October "You will probably see the real difference next month when all the leaves will have faded away like silver ghosts" and that indeed is what has happened.

The foliage around the base has died down considerably now enabling a glimpse of the stream which runs close by. You will often find willows growing near to water and the word 'salix' which is the genus they belong to derives from the Celtic word, sal (near) + lis (water).


Our willow is on the opposite bank of a small surface water stream which runs alongside one boundary of the garden. Some time ago by sheer serendipity I stumbled across a photograph which shows the lie of the land just over a hundred years ago in 1913, when it was decidedly more watery than it is now.


Both the pond, cottages and greenhouses have gone but we do still get ducks swimming along the stream. I can't make out any definite willow form in the photo or work out exactly where our house is now, which is rather frustrating as it would be brilliant to pin an age to the willow, but I can see why the willow whenever it arrived chose to make its home in such a spot.

To see what other trees are up to this month do visit Lucy over at 'Loose and Leafy' who came up with the great idea of tree following over the course of a year.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

In A Vase On Monday ~ Birthday Party


Albeit a day late joining in the birthday party as I was absent from home yesterday. So here is a little vase picked this morning. Time and the weather were not on my side so it was a matter of snip, photograph and plonk. The occupants of the vase are :

  • hardy fuchsia - name unknown as grown from a cutting from a roadside planting which was taken many years ago. The fuchsia concerned retained foliage during last year's warm winter and flowered prolifically earlier in the year. However it's still sending flowers out now but not as many as it does most autumns.
  • hardy geranium - name long forgotten and a bit of a rampant self seeder.
  • rose 'Blush Noisette' which has still not given up the ghost.
  • leycesteria formosa also known as the Himalayan honeysuckle.
  • lonicera nitida' Baggesen's Gold' which is in desperate need of a severe prune.
I've fiddled about since the photo was taken and removed some of the leaves from the leycesteria and am happier with these pickings.

The vase has featured on the blog before but not for a long time. It's a small bone china milk jug that hails from Staffordshire, which I think was passed on to me by my mum some time ago.

Although I have not been a regular contributor to the 'In A Vase On Monday' meme, I've so enjoyed visiting those of you who have posted your vases throughout the year. I've picked up many useful hints and tips on flower arranging and conditioning. I've also learnt to think more outside the box about the material that can be used, picked up some useful photography tips and my wish list has grown and grown. A HUGE thanks and a virtual bouquet to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', who came up with the inspiration for this meme and who has throughout the course of a year kept it running like clockwork. It takes some organisation and dedication to stay with such a concept. Cathy is full of enthusiasm and encouragement too so if you do join in if you have not done so already. Don't be shy! Many congratulations Cathy on the first anniversary of this meme and long may it continue!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Seedy Business


Some plants stop you in your tracks and this is one of them. In the depths of winter last year himself and I went on an outing to London to visit the RHS show. Now whilst there were plenty of snowdrops that dazzled me with their markings, the one plant that held me spellbound was not a snowdrop. It was a plant that had been planted amongst a display of snowdrops on the Avon Bulbs display stand, where its contrasting foliage was so effective. The plant in question was lunaria annua'Chedglow' and it was one of those cases where I wanted to get my paws on the plant immediately. There were none for sale that day so on arrival home I did some online research but met with a brick wall the search went on hold. However when my Avon Bulbs catalogue arrived at the end of the year I noticed with great joy that there were seeds for sale! Loud whoops of joy greeted this discovery, seeds were ordered and duly sown this summer.


Germination was successful, a friend kindly cared the teeniest baby seedlings when we were on holiday, they returned home where they grew bigger. Yet my plants are looking decidedly ugly at the moment - they seem to have the plant equivalent of measles. I'm hoping that this is a temporary feature and that as the weather gets colder that the foliage will develop an even purple/chocolate hue. If this doesn't happen they will not be the perfect companions for snowdrops or any other winter flowers and could well end up on the compost heap. Never mind the lilac flowers that will follow and subsequent shimmering translucent seed cases. Has anybody else grown this plant from seed and if so have you had the same experience with your seedlings? If my memory serves me well Caro from The Urban Veg Patch was also bewitched by 'Chedglow' and there may also be other bloggers too who have obtained seed.


In other seedy news I've noticed on the RHS website that members can now now order from their seed scheme. I've not made use of this membership perk before but thought that I would try it out this year.  Pen and paper will be the order of the day later when darkness falls. I'm one of those wimps who does not put their nose out of the door on Guy Fawkes Night. What about you when it comes to fireworks -  frit or fan?

Friday, 31 October 2014

End Of Month View ~ October 2014

As October evaporates in a heat haze a bit of outside has come inside today to acknowledge Halloween. Meet three of my little 'Wee-B-Little' pumpkins with some being more little than others.
The taste jury is out as yet but soup will be on the menu soon along with a verdict. We have quite a few of these to get through but only one of the much larger 'Black Futsu' the surface of which reminds me of a lunar landscape.

I am still struggling with getting to grips with the new camera so again this will be a photo light post. Now that the dark nights are upon us time to do some serious reading of the manual before the snowdrop season is upon us.

So a quick run through October starting with the garden where there seems to have been little in the way of action as the season has shifted discernibly to autumn. There have been various affairs going on in the background which have distracted me. One that I will share here is that after much earnest discussion we have purchased a static caravan in the southern Lake District. The discussion has been going on for a couple of years and with himself's possible retirement on the horizon it was time to make a decision about our options. One of the few advantages of not having the child or children we hoped for, is that our savings can be spent on ourselves. We both love France and spent time looking at some properties over there this summer but we did not want to uproot ourselves completely. If we lived near the south coast we would have been seriously tempted but instead we have looked nearer to home.

We can be in the Lake District in less than an hour and a half and both love the area despite all the wet stuff. Himself is a keen rambler and sees himself walking up fell and down dell, whilst as well as taking me for some gentle low level walks in the beautiful surrounding countryside. So October has seen us rather preoccupied fitting up our new second home with some necessities, before the site closes for winter to reopen in March. Himself is already chomping at the bit to be there as much as we can in the spring, so I am in a quandry about how I will manage seed sowing next year let alone the allotment. I have much thinking and planning to do over the winter and there will have to be some compromises!

One fiddly job  that I have done much later than planned is to top dress all my pots of special snowdrops with fresh horticultural grit. They are all looking pristine and fresh at the moment in readiness for flowering. At the moment the pots are all outside but if the weather turns really cold I will bring them under cover into the greenhouse which needs clearing in readiness. I'm also planning to relabel some snowdrops as names are disappearing. Talking of labels I will be posting the results of my label experiment soon - a year on from the date it began.

Meanwhile at the allotment clearing and dismantling is the order of the day. Beans and sweet pea wigwams are coming down and old foliage is heading to the compost heap. There are still some harvests here and there. The 'Polka' raspberries continue to flourish and produce. I picked what I think must be the last courgette of the year earlier this week. After four months of eating courgettes I'm happy to wait another few months before eating another. The strawberry plants are sending out flowers and occasionally there is the odd strawberry to nibble - especially sweet at this time of year.
Tomorrow we are having an autumnal celebration on site which I'm looking forward to with soup and parkin being on the menu.

Plantwise I've resisted the temptation to make purchases apart from bulbs. A shipping order from Peter Nyssen arrived a couple of weeks ago which is looking at me and shrieking "Plant Me Now!" every time I go past. I've also added another snowdrop to the collection or was that last month? Whatever the date of arrival it's galanthus 'Ding Dong' which is an early riser. Maybe there will be photos in November. Yes I must make a start on that manual.

Thanks as always to the lovely Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' who provides us with the opportunity to reflect and contemplate about our gardens each month as well as look forward to the future.

Monday, 27 October 2014

In A Vase On Monday ~ Still Blushing


I picked a spray of this rose in the third week of June, along with some sweet peas for a vase which you can see here. The sweet peas are done and dusted but the rose is covered with sprays which have started to open during the last few days. The flowers are not as pristine as they were in the summer - some of the petals are peppered with small holes, but from a distance with my eyes squinting they look as every bit as fresh. What seems to have faded with time though is the scent. I'm not sure whether it's my imagination but do roses loose scent as the months progress? Maybe it's temperature related. I'm not sure whether all the buds will have the chance to open before the onset of colder weather but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some roses in November.

The rose in question is 'Blush Noisette' which I fell for when we visited the 'Queens Garden' at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire a few years ago. It arrived here the following January as a bare rooted rose which severely tested my powers of imagination. However to my delight out from a twiggy mass leaves and flowers duly emerged and opened that summer.'Blush Noisette' dates back to about 1814 and can be grown either as a shrub or as a small climber.


The little vase is a relatively new inexpensive one, which I think I picked up from that well known Swedish furniture store renowned for its meatballs. I've still to try them.

With thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who came up with the idea of sharing a vase of flowers to celebrate the start of a new week.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Musing ~ October 2014


"One says October, one says Nature lies down to sleep ; the gardener knows better, and will tell you that October is as good as month as April. You ought to know that October is the first spring month, the month of underground germination and sprouting, of hidden growth , of swelling buds ; scratch a little into the ground and you will find buds ready made, thick as your thumb, fragile shoots and straggling roots - I can't help you, Spring is here ; go out, gardener, and plant (but be careful that you don't cut with the spade a sprouting narcissus bulb)"

~ an extract from 'The Gardener's Year' - by Karel Čapek, 1890 - 1938.

I'm not sure whether October is really the new April but oh what a positive attitude towards the first month of autumn. Now working to get myself into that mindset.