Calm Before The Storm


Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’


These pictures were taken on Monday, in a bid to get them safely in the bag before the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo stopped by to say hello.

Given the geography, any wind direction with an ‘N’ in it has less of an impact here. And on all sides other than south the wind is further filtered by the trees.  So we escaped the worst of the weather, although more leaves fell and the garden doesn’t look quite as good as it did.



After the dreaded crocosmia, the most abundant inheritance in the garden is the common hardy fuchsia. The previous owners clearly adored them. I shifted at least a dozen up on to the bank last year and then immediately started to worry about how they would look against the autumn foliage of the cornus. It’s turned out to be rather pleasing, to my eye at least.



Looking down the drive from about half way up, a tapestry of foliage colours is beginning to form. There’s plenty more to do in this area, it is going to be my main project for next year, but it’s a start.

In the foreground a variegated pink and white berberis, then the cornus. The yellow leaved tree beyond, almost over now, is Davidia involucrata, the handkerchief tree. Like the cornus we brought this one with us in a very large pot. It was tall even then, necessitating the hire of a hi-top van, so I’m delighted to see it establishing well. Next year, next year, always next year.. but I can’t wait for those very first white bracts.

The two slightly larger trees, still in green leaf, are oak. Regrettably they are coming out. Long before maturity they’ll be far too big for where they are so I want to tackle them whilst they are still at a manageable height. Cue chainsaw man..



Enkianthus campanulatus



Acer (variety unknown), Rhododendron & Berberis (ditto)



A longer view of the same border


Above, another nice grouping of foliage colour and texture forming the border at the bottom of the lawn, although this too is slated for a makeover. On the right of the picture, just out of shot, there are two large beech trees. The river runs closest to the house at this point yet is totally hidden from view. The plan is to remove both of the trees, relocate most of the shrubs and replace with a low hedge. It will create a vista similar to that from the parking area, as featured in the previous post.

The acer will stay as a specimen tree for now. The half dead Crataegus to the left of it probably not!



Acer, leaf detail



Yet another berberis, with striking leaf colour (variety unknown)



Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

On the terraces the hakone grass gets better and better in its new position. I love the pinky grey seed heads against the faded hydrangea and persicaria behind.



Prunus, ornamental cherry



Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Robert’

.. and bramble



Could I possibly have a foliage post without the black mondo grass? Tricky.

This month’s offering:  Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ with Sarcococca and Rose ‘Pat Austin’. If I could only get the grass to spread itself all around the rose, how good would that be?


Linking up with Christina’s Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.

Click through (here) to see how Christina and many other gardeners are using foliage this month.


2018-04-22T19:07:09+00:00October 22nd, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Jo October 22, 2014 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Such lovely colours in this post. I fear there’s many more leaves lining the gutters than there were on Monday, though thankfully, the wind’s now abated.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      I think you probably got it worse than us but I’m sure you’re right. It was the rain down here that had the worst effect, torrential at times.

  2. Pauline October 22, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    You have some super colours in your garden Jessica. Your Cornus and Acer look so beautiful, set off by the greens nearby.
    I think we got off relatively lightly when the end of Gonzalo struck, it seems to have been worse further north. I too took my photos before the wind started, just as well as quite a lot came down.
    You have some big plans for next year, moving shrubs isn’t the easiest of jobs!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Allegedly some of the rhododendrons are sunk in large pots. I think probably they’ve bust out of those by now but it might make it easier with a bit of luck. I need to find out whether they can be cut right back before we start.

  3. Marian St.Clair October 22, 2014 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Still a bit too early for foliage color here. The cornus and fushia are stunning together; you were a poet and didn’t know it:^)

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Poetic justice?

  4. Christina October 22, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Jessica, a lovely post, giving me my fix of autumn colour; I’m sorry the hurricane has taken some of it away, your garden has some really special autumn plants. I think the Cornus looks magical against the Fuchsia, but everything else looks sumptuous too. As Pauline noted, a lot of plans for next year. Sad to lose beeches when they are struggling climate wise but it would also be sad not to have a view of the river, good luch with moving the shrubs. Thank you very much for joining in this month’s FBFD. Christina

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      The beech trees are in poor shape anyway. They have previously been lopped so are rather ugly and one looks like it has had it. Branches have been dying and falling off all summer. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if the whole thing had come down yesterday, had the wind been stronger than it was. For safety reasons alone they have to go.

  5. Cathy October 22, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Great foliage photos Jessica – yet here apart from the witch hazels there is not any noticeable colouring of the trees, although plenty of leaves falling!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      The natives here are only just starting, the cornus and acer always seem to go first. Witch hazels seem variable too.. Diane lost her leaves weeks ago.

  6. Donna@GardensEyeView October 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Glad you didn’t get the full brunt of the storm…and look at the lovely changes in the garden for autumn….so many dramatic effects especially that acer!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      The leaf colour has been really good this year, but it seems to be going over more quickly than usual. Not helped by the storm! Thanks Donna.

  7. Mark and Gaz October 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Fabulous autumn colours in your garden Jessica!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      I’m glad we snapped them when we did. Half the leaves on the cornus have now disappeared!

  8. wherefivevalleysmeet October 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Love the Cornus leaves Jessica, they look like little lanterns lighting up the garden – I think that we got off quite lightly from hurricane Gonzalo’s visit.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      At the bottom of the hill we hardly felt it at all. Two trips up top for deliveries reminded me it was windy!

  9. Annie Edwards October 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I love all the vibrant red foliage in your garden! (I have found time to join in this month too, but with exciting work projects cropping up, my blog may have to take a back seat ….)

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      I love your shingle garden. We have an area covered by gravel too and I’m thinking I should be planting into it now.

  10. flowersandhome October 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Love the many Autumn colours in your garden Jessica. So wish I had them in our garden as well. Thank you for your sweet comment on my last post. You asked the name of that first rose. It is a beauty isn’t it? It’s a single rose with the (not very romantic ;)) name ‘Leersum 700’. I bought it because I loved the blooms and I now also know it doesn’t mind the rain very much which is a very good thing for roses growing here.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      In that case it’s a truly valuable rose! Most of my David Austin roses, which were flowering quite happily this October, shrivelled and turned brown in yesterday’s deluge.

  11. justjilluk October 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    You have done so much. It is beautiful.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill. So much more to do, that’s the trouble!

  12. Mise October 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Fuchsia abounds here too and has started to strew the roads most magnificently with red. Note to self: plant cornus to imitate your fine effect.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      You won’t regret it Mise. Beautiful flowers in early summer that last a good month, and then another month of slowly deepening autumn colour plus fruits. Cracker of a tree.

  13. Sol October 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Beautiful pictures! Acers are so pretty aren’t they.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      If budget were no object I’d have many more.

  14. Denise October 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Just totally Autumn yumminess!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Colour yes, cold and wet no! 😉

  15. Em October 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I love that black grass too but mine refuse to spread, or get any bigger quite frankly. The lawn is more a leaf bed now after the winds…..I guess yours is very much the same!

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      The black grass is very slow for me too. I don’t think it likes my heavy soil. Yes, the lawn is slowly disappearing. If the ducks were still there they would be knee deep. Do ducks have knees?

  16. snowbird October 22, 2014 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful variety of autumn colour! I do love the glowing reds and yellows. Your plans for a river view sound

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      We may not be able to see the river at the moment, but after yesterday’s rain we can surely hear it!

  17. islandthreads October 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    clever you Jessica, taking your photos early, that first photo of the cornus is lovely, it is a beautiful tree, not just the foliage colour it’s also a nice shape, I like the photo with the fuchsia behind, the previous owners may have only planted one but it spread, I have some plants now that did little for years and suddenly in the last few years they are trying to take over, so annoying, I like the border with the ferns and it looks good to me as it is, you have some beautiful autumn colours, Frances

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      The fuchsias are a devil to get out as well, leave a small piece behind and it will return. When the frost got them the first year I was quietly relieved.. but the next spring they were back even bigger.

  18. Anna October 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Some fabulous autumnal colour Jessica. Glad to learn that yesterday’s storm left your garden relatively unscathed. Your leaves will be able to shine on for a while longer.

    • Jessica October 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      It must have been a lot worse for you. I hope your garden is similarly unscathed.

  19. Linda from Each Little World October 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    All of my witch hazels turn yellow in the fall. Nothing as brilliant as yours.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      You more than make up for it with your Korean maples. Wow!

  20. Anne Holt October 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photographs of gorgeous shrubs, very envious of such a lovely garden. L Anne

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anne. I hope it will be lovely one day, in the meantime I just see all the work that it needs!

  21. hoehoegrow October 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Glad you escaped the worst of the storm! I peeped through my fingers, expecting the worst, but I think we escaped too, although the wind was quite strong. Some lovely planting and autumn foliage, it all looks so tranquil and colourful.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      It is changing so quickly.. especially over the last couple of days. The beech tree leaves are turning as well now. I hope we get a dry weekend for leaf sweeping! Glad you escaped damage, your side of the country got it worse I think.

  22. Vera October 23, 2014 at 5:00 am - Reply

    Lovely time of the year as your photos show. Hope the storm did not do too much damage.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      It could have been a lot worse. But some of the trees are in bad shape and many not last the winter. At some point (before the birds start nesting) we’ll need to get the tree people in to sort some of them out.

  23. Sigrun October 23, 2014 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Wonderful colours in your garden! The cornus is beautiful! We have sun in the moment, after two days rain and storm.


    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sigrun. I think the weather is supposed to improve here next week. I do hope so, there is so much still to do! Enjoy your sun while it lasts.

  24. AnnetteM October 23, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I love your first photo – that cornus looks on fire. I have a few rather ancient cornus shrubs, but there are such lovely varieties available that I think I might get some more. Just where to put them? We didn’t do too badly with the wind either – just another layer of beech nuts on the front garden. I am beginning to wonder if I am going to get any leaves for compost that are not full of nuts.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      I was looking at the beech trees just this morning. There are still a lot of nuts to come down.. Ironically the ones I want to remove shed no nuts at all. I wonder if that means they are the wrong sex, or just too decrepit!

  25. Janet/Plantaliscious October 23, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I’m glad you took the photos before the storm hit, such gorgeous autumn colour, the cornus is a real beauty, and I am envious of your acid soil, I don’t think I could get away with an Enkianthus campanulatus, even if I could work out where I could squeeze one in! Glad I am not the only one for whom ophiophogon is irritatingly slow growing, but it is a lovely plant, isn’t it! I wonder if I could get some to establish around my nandina… I can’t believe you are going to get rid of that lovely half-dead hawthorn 😉 Seriously though, I will look forward to watching you gradually unveil that river view, and develop that driveway border, both have so much potential. Lots of exciting projects, but I don’t envy you moving all those large shrubs, I am grateful that most of that side of things is finished for us! The beauty of having a smaller space to tame.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      The black grass and the nandina would look stunning!
      I have (almost) convinced Mike that we need some part time help next year. There is too much work for just the two of us to manage. Plus a lot of it is very hard graft and we’re not getting any younger. Not a gardener (we would fight), a young, chainsaw wielding muscle bound sort.. 🙂

  26. 1secondhandrose October 23, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Stunning colours Jessica! Made my day :o)

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rose. If only they would last! The cornus has probably only a quarter of those leaves left on it now.

  27. Chloris October 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    What lovely colours Jessica. I really love Cornus kousa Satomi. I think it is the best. I am also very envious of your Enkianthus, I would so love to be able to grow it.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Our soil is only borderline acid but the Enkianthus does OK, although it is slow growing. The rhodos, camellias etc that have always been here do alright so I thought I’d risk it.

  28. SeagullSuzie October 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    You have an amazing garden, but so much work to do too! It’ll be wonderful to clear out some of the trees to create better views and more wood for the wood burner and the garden insects. You are able to put the colours together so well.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      There are so many trees close to the house it can be oppressive when they’re in full leaf, not to mention the shade they create. It will feel like the garden is able to breathe again if we can thin them out a bit.

  29. paxton3 October 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Well it’s all looking very lovely I must say. It’s always at this time of year I bemoan the lack of autumn colour in my garden, and make a note to self to rectify it. Then I forget, and the cycle repeats itself. I may do a post about my garden soon. It’s a bloody disater zone. I am much ashamed.
    Leanne xx

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      If you look closely at the photos you’ll see mine is too… in the first one alone there is willow herb, some brambles, nettles, dead digitalis spikes, etc etc.. Luckily the cornus is so spectacular it draws the eye!

  30. Kris P October 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    You’ve got some beautiful fall color in your garden. As our fall/winter temperatures don’t get low enough, we get very little in the way of color changes this time of year so I enjoy the autumn colors in other gardeners’ blog posts.

    • Jessica October 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      I hope I can introduce more of it in the years to come, the colour from the natives is more subtle. It cheers me up at what could otherwise be a drab time of year here. The perennials are slowly giving up the ghost and looking quite sad.

  31. Sue@GLAllotments October 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Some lovely autumn colours – maybe you could give Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ a helping hand. I’m trying the same thing around a white bird bath.

    • Jessica October 24, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

      I shall split it in Spring, it’s probably big enough for that now. Like your idea too.

  32. Jennifer October 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    The leaves in your garden are so beautiful this time of year. I hope you didn’t have any damage from the storm.

    • Jessica October 24, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

      It could have been a lot worse, just fewer leaves! Thanks Jennifer.

  33. Hannah October 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    These photos capture Autumn so nicely.

    • Jessica October 24, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Hi Hannah, thank you!

  34. CherryPie October 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Your autumn colours are wonderful. I must get out and about with my camera before it is too late…

    • Jessica October 24, 2014 at 11:10 am - Reply

      The leaf change seems late this year, but is happening quite quickly now it’s started.

  35. elaine October 24, 2014 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Except for our willow being shredded most things survived the winds. Your garden is truly an autumnal tapestry.

    • Jessica October 24, 2014 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Thankfully the storm was less severe than predicted, in most places anyway. Sorry about your willow..

  36. Steph October 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Fall color at its finest. Just beautiful! At the moment I’m sitting by a lake at a friend’s cabin. Enjoying the color, too!

    • Jessica October 25, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Fantastic. Hope you took your camera..

  37. Isabelle October 26, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

    There’s nothing quite like autumn colours – gorgeous xxx

    • Jessica October 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      It’s been a good year too.

  38. casa mariposa October 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Your fall garden is a beauty. :o) Your dogwood (cornus)is fabulous. I’ve been trying to establish a stand of crocosmia in my garden since last year but after reading about how invasive they are, I’ve changed my mind. I’m already dealing with a couple of thugs, I don’t need any more!

    • Jessica October 27, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      It may be that it’s just the common crocosmia that’s the problem, as opposed to more modern hybrids. But the rampant one you definitely wouldn’t want. It seeds everywhere and grows up through other plants. And on top of that produces lots of little bulbils. Leave just a tiny one behind and it will be back.

  39. Beth @ PlantPostings October 27, 2014 at 1:49 am - Reply

    I don’t know where to start: You have such amazing combinations of foliage, and they look stunning all together. That last shot of the lovely Rose in the cage with the Black Mondo Grass made me sigh. And all the bright oranges you have and had in your garden–stunning! I’m glad the hurricane didn’t cause too much damage for you.

    • Jessica October 27, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Hi Beth, thanks, and welcome to rusty duck.
      Autumn colour here doesn’t even come close to the spectacular photos on your blog! I’m trying to get a similar effect by planting japanese maples and other non-natives in the area nearest the house. The surrounding woodlands contain mostly beech, which are now turning gold and give a lovely contrast.

  40. Denise October 27, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I haven’t been in the garden for a week due to the weather and preparing for the plasterer…….who arrived a short while ago!

    • Jessica October 27, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

      The weather has been awful, it’s only this weekend I’ve been able to get outside again too. Good luck!

  41. Chel @Sweetbriar Dreams October 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    The autumn colours look great in your garden. I love the black grass and to have the vibrant rose as a contrast will look stunning if it spreads.

    • Jessica October 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      I’d really like to find a way of propagating the black grass, other than waiting for it to be big enough to divide. There are many places where it would look good as a contrast. Must do some research! Thanks Chel.

  42. Paula @ Blooms n Spades October 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Beautiful colours and combinations Jessica. I added black grass to my wants list for next year after seeing it on blogs, no idea where I’m going to squash it in though. We were lucky in London and missed any remnants of the hurricane, hope it wasn’t too bad for you.

    • Jessica October 30, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      Ophiopogon works in so many places, containers too. But I like to use it at the front of borders where it contrasts so well with just about anything placed behind it.

  43. Annie October 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Some beautiful foilage combos here Jessica, some of those colours are amazing. And that is one pretty rose.

    • Jessica October 30, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      That rose has flowered in December before now, if the weather stays mild who knows? Thanks Annie.

  44. Cathy November 1, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    You have so many glorious foliage colours, Jessica, not something that has come across in other of your posts (well, not those I have seen) – I wonder how much is left now?

    • Jessica November 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      Nothing. Zilch. Zero. The rain and wind have seen to that!!! Hey ho. It was beautiful while it lasted.

  45. Laura November 9, 2014 at 2:41 am - Reply

    The pictures from different angles were fabulous, mostly because the dimensions differed so greatly from how big the same (barberry, etc.) get here. Your garden never fails to fascinate me! It’s absolutely beautiful.

    The other day, I looked up into the trees, and realized they were all bare. When I think of the fact that they’ll stay that way for the next six months, I appreciate your photos even more.

    • Jessica November 9, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

      It’s starting to get bare here now too. The beeches have started to go and I’m realising I can see further into the woodland and to the fields beyond. It’s not a good prospect, six months without leaves. At least yours is a ‘proper’ winter, lots of light reflected from the snow and blue sky between the showers. Here it tends to stay resolutely grey.

I'd love to hear from you..