Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – October 2016

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I’m amazed at how much colour there is in the garden at the moment, especially as there seemed to be very little back in August.  Of course some of the colour is courtesy of the autumn leaves and various berries but there is still a significant floral contribution. This hydrangea is one of those supermarket finds from a year or so ago which to be honest I had forgotten about until I got to the top of the garden today and spotted it.  Such a lovely combination of dark leaves and flower – I think I need to find a better location to show it off better.

Salvia involucrata boutin
Salvia involucrata boutin

Part of the reason I struggle to get to the top of the garden is this Salvia which is going for world domination – its huge.  So much so that I have left it in situ the last few winters with just a mulch to protect it roots.

Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy'
Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’

I actually prefer Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ as the flowers are more delicate and I like the two-tone effect which brings a special light to the border.

Aster lateriflorus 'Lady in Black'
Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’

Although the majority of the asters have been moved to the front garden there are still a few adding to the colour in the back garden.  I think Lady in Black is my favourite aster, it has wonderful dark stems and whatever the weather it remains upright, just wafting around in the wind.

Symphytrochium novea-angliae 'St Michaels'
Symphytrochium novae-angliae ‘St Michaels’

Symphytrochium novae-angliae ‘St Michaels’ is a good strong purple and I like the larger daisy flowers; I also like it as it is named after a local hospice.  This is also doing well in the RHS trial of Symphytrochium novae-angliae which I am acting as recorder for at the local Old Court Nursery.

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I do like Japanese Anemones, this pale pink one is a new addition to the garden and lightens a very green border.

Kirengeshoma palmata
Kirengeshoma palmata

The Japanese Anemone is adjacent to the Kirengeshoma palmata – that pink and yellow combination abhorred by many but to be honest I quite like; well if it’s the right pink and the right yellow.

Colchicum 'Dick Trotter'
Colchicum ‘Dick Trotter’

The second group of Colchicums are flowering.  I bought the corms for these at the Malvern Autumn Show last month.  I do think Colchicums are underrated, yes they have large leaves but they bring so much colour to the garden at this time of year.

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

As well as Colchicums there are Cyclamen hederifoliums flowering around the garden.  I particularly like this group and the way they appear to be lining up behind the leaves.

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Another discovery in the depth of the back of the garden – a begonia of some sort bought from a charity plant sale, which seems to be thriving.  I love the way the flowers add pin pricks of colour amongst the foliage.

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Finally, high up above the back planting the Abutilon is flowering.  I can’t remember the variety but I do like the way the flowers look like they are made out of silk and velvet.

Thanks to Carol over at May Dream Gardens for hosting the GBBD meme each month.

Foliage Follow Up – December 2013

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

Despite being December and the start of winter there is still a lot of foliage interest in the garden and hopefully most of it will remain now all winter.

I love Cyclamen and more so for the vast differences in the patterns on the leaves than the flowers which seem very similar to me.  The patterns and variation on the leaves can differ dramatically within each species.  The one above, Cyclamen hederifolium, is a new acquisition and has blush pink flowers although there are not many of them in evidence at the moment.

Melianthus major
Melianthus major

Melianthus major continues to shine in the Big Border.  I love its serrated leaves especially when it has rain and the raindrops are caught like jewels along the leaf rib.

Saxifraga 'Silver Velvet'
Saxifraga ‘Silver Velvet’

I do  like the way the leaves on the Saxifraga ‘Silver Velvet’ are turning.  The deep burgundy is slowly bleaching from the outside to a bright pink.  This is the first winter this plant has been in the border so I have my fingers crossed that it will survive.

Ajuga reptans
Ajuga reptans

Another dark leaved perennial that looks good all  winter is Ajuga reptans.  It is especially good with the bright fresh shoots of bulbs pushing up alongside it.  I have only ever seen this form of Ajuga but I have recently been reading Marjery Fish and she mentioned some other varieties which I shall have to investigate.

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Finally there are the Epimediums which I seem to be acquiring quite  a few of.  There are the evergreen ones such as above – I can’t remember the name of this one and it is now too dark to go and look at the label.  Then there are the deciduous ones like below, Epimedium ogisui, whose leaves turn as they fade and I really like the added interest they bring to the border.  I think we are so busy looking at the Autumn foliage of shrubs and trees that we forget to look down at the perennials.

Epimedium ogisui
Epimedium ogisui

I hope you enjoyed my wintery foliage but if you would like some warmer offerings pop over to Pam’s blog Digging where you will find links to many other posts with some from warmer climes.

Foliage Follow Up – November 2013

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Finally I can blog again.  With the shorter days I am struggling to take photographs for the blog and being away last week meant that I couldn’t get any photographs for the GBBD post.  But never mind its the weekend and the sun is almost shining so I have taken some foliage photos.  There is still lots of colour in the garden and predominantly from the turning foliage than from flowers – I wonder should I look to have more floral interest at this time of year or just enjoy the autumn colours.

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The top photograph is a Cotinus which looks wonderful when the sun decides to shine on it. Above is Sorbus vilmorinii whose leaves have been slowly turning over a number of weeks, I like the way they go through a number of shades colour from green through burgundy to a yellow.

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The large unknown Prunus at the top of the garden has finally decided to give in to the change of seasons and the leaves are starting to turn a soft buttery yellow. It occurs to me that with all the trees and shrubs I have added in recent years I have increased the amount of fallen leaves I need to pick up.  I do tend to take the approach of pushing them under shrubs and hedges as a sort of mulch although I plan to bag some up again this year as rotted leaves are meant to be very good for alpine and bulb compost mixes.  I will have to find somewhere to store the bags where the evil badger wont find them and rip them to pieces.

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I think many perennials add to the autumn display and at the moment Kirengeshoma palmata is lighting up the patio border with its pale yellow flowers. Definitely a plant that should be grown more by people.

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But not all the leaves are turning and dying.  There is a whole range of woodland plants that give good foliage during the winter including epimediums, pulmonaria (above), ferns and hellebores. Then there is the wonderful range of cyclamen leaves which varying greatly within species

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Cyclamen hederifolium is a great plant, it flowers for months and slowly once it has started flowering you have these wonderful leaves.  I have noticed more and more cyclamen coming home with me from various horticultural club meetings chosen for their foliage!

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Melianthus major continues to look fresh and bright and I am wondering how long it will be before it succumbs to frost and cold.  I need to provide it with some protection but I have yet to decide what.  Last year I covered the crown with straw which seemed to work well but then it wasn’t that cold a winter.

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For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam’s blog Digging – there will no doubt be lots of sunny photographs with agaves and other interesting succulents.!

Welcoming Autumn

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Meteorologically with the advent of September we have moved from summer into autumn.   I have noticed a few bloggers bemoaning the passing of summer but for me I am beginning to feel a sense of excitement at the prospect of the new season.  Autumn and spring are my favourite seasons.  They are seasons of change, of the passing from new to old and vice versa and suit my fidgety nature.  I find winter and summer both increasingly boring and tedious, hating the extreme of weather  and how limiting the cold and heat can be.

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

Even though the meteorological definition of autumn – September, October and November, is a paper exercise you can already sense the changes in the  garden.  It just smells different but one sure sign that autumn is coming is the flowering of the Cyclamen hederifolium  which will flower now until early spring.

Changing leaves of the Prunus
Changing leaves of the Prunus

I wonder what the impact of the dry season we have had will be on the autumn displays of changing leaves.  Last year, after a very  wet summer, the displays were especially good.  I suspect that they will be over quicker this year and I have already noticed the large prunus in my garden leaves changing to a buttery yellow, earlier I am sure than other years.  In fact it is normally the witch hazel that colours up first and that is only just turning.  There are berries on the Sorbus and so far the blackbirds have resisted making an early start on this crop.

Changing leaves of Hamamelis mollis 'Arnold Promise'
Changing leaves of Hamamelis mollis ‘Arnold Promise’

Unlike many I don’t see autumn as the end of the gardening year but as the start of the gardening year.  I have placed bulb orders and expect parcels to start arriving shortly.   The greenhouse is being tided ready for the succulents to be moved into their winter home.  Plans formulated over the summer whilst considering the borders will be put into action and the sense of frustration of having to wait will hopefully pass.  I plant a lot in autumn as I believe it gives many plants a good start ready for spring but I only plant out plants that are substantial so they have a chance, any one year old perennial seedlings will be kept undercover to be repotted during the winter and then planted out  in the spring.

For me there is now a buzz in the air and a new sense of purpose.

GBBD – January 2012

Looking back I didn’t bother to do a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post last year which I am assuming is because we had so much snow for so many weeks that I was quite disengaged with the garden and there probably wasn’t anything to show anyway.

How different it is 12 months later.  Today I spotted my first snowdrops almost in flower.   There has been lots on twitter and the blogasphere about snowdrops opening early and I was beginning to wonder if mine were going to flower but I needn’t have worried here they are on time, even a little early.  There aren’t as many showing as I would expect but I did move a lot of snowdrops last spring so I am hoping they are just delayed a little.

The winter jasmine is still flowering its socks off.  I am really pleased as it had a very thorough prune in the summer and is probably only a third of its former self but I think there are more flowers in relation to stems than there was before.

This Vinca (major I think) creeps under the fence from next door.  It is a very welcome addition at this time of year and I have learnt that the flowers appear on the new shoots not the long sinuous ones so I am trying to cut it back to have more young fresh green growth and flowers.

The primulas are starting to flowering.  I love primulas and will be adding to them this year.  Also hoping they might become one of the key plants in my planned online shop if I get my act together.

A pretty Primula denticulata already flowering.  I grew these from seed a few years back and they are bulking up nicely now.  Maybe they will be bulky enough for me to divide soon.

The Cyclamen hederifolium is still flowering – its been flowering for a couple of months now.  When the flowers first appeared there were no leaves but now the leaves are appearing and I think they are lovely, such a nice shape and a welcome change the rounded indoor cyclamen leaves.  As I bought this as a large corm I have never seen it in leaf so this is quite exciting – well sort off.  Also I like the way the plant has decided to grow through the branches that edge the bed – I couldn’t have done better if I had tried.

Just as I was pleased to see the first snowdrops appear I was equally thrilled to smell the flowers of the Sarcococca confusa (Sweet Box).  At first I wasn’t sure where the smell was coming from especially as it was dark at the time.  But this morning my suspicions were confirmed and it was the Sarcococca.  I have had the plant a couple of years and like so many plants in my garden it was very small, and therefore cheap, when I bought it.  This is the first year it has had more than a handful of flowers and therefore scent.  It has put on so much growth in the last year that I have cut a small bunch of stems and the flowers are making the living room quite heady with their scent.Finally there are Hellebores nearly ready to flower – as you can see it has been pretty frosty.  Hopefully next month’s GBBD post will have lots of Hellebores featured.

Also lurking in the garden but beginning to go over are flowers of Mahonia, Abelia and Ceanothus.

For more GBBD posts visit May Dream Gardens