The Bloomers: October


Hedychium gardnerianum 002 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

A short and sweet Bloomers this month. Very sweet indeed if you happen to be standing anywhere near the ginger lily above. The fragrance is just incredible. We’ve had an extraordinarily busy couple of weeks, progressing on three fronts simultaneously and, I fear, there’s been something of a catastrophe. But more on that later.


Terraces 044 Wm[1]


The terraces are looking quite autumnal now.


I have pretty well left these borders to fend for themselves this year in favour of time spent on the bank and it’s obvious that gaps still need to be filled. The Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis at far left has grown taller than the rose behind it, in total and blatant disregard of the 60cm printed upon its label. To give you an idea, the wall behind it is 80cm high, so if we include the flower spikes it weighs in at well over a metre. In just one year. Such is the way of things in the mild and moist south west. If they are happy they just keep on growing. The persicaria will follow in the footsteps of so many previous offenders and relocate to more spacious accommodation come Spring.


Rose 'Susan Williams-Ellis' 004 Wm[1]


Pinned back against the wall.. Rose ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’

Complete with photobombing persicaria flower spike.


Rose 'Pat Austin' 009 Wm[1]


Rose ‘Pat Austin’ is looking good..


Geum 001 Wm[1]


Geum ‘Lost Label’

Possibly ‘Marmalade’. Putting on a very late show.


Chives 003 Wm[2]


And what about chives… in October?


Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' 005 Wm[1]


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

Or even witch hazel?


Cosmos 002 Wm[2]


Cosmos. Not what it said on the tin. It was supposed to be ‘Purity’

The bees don’t care.


Symphyotrichum 003 Wm[1]


Symphyotrichum, variety unknown

Aster to you and me. The bees don’t care about that either.


Hesperantha coccinea 'Fenland Daybreak' 003 Wm[1]


Another name changer, Hesperantha coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’, with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’


Sedum 008 Wm[1]


Sedum, variety unknown. Probably ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy).


Hedychium gardnerianum 001 Wm[1]


Hedychium gardnerianum

Ginger Lily


I’ll end back where we started. This plant is a triumph. It’s been growing in a border next to the house wall for the last couple of years and before that in a pot. It flowered the first year that I had it and then took on a sulk. Now it has six… SIX flower spikes. It sits in the lee of that big spruce tree we had down a couple of months back and I can only conclude that it has benefitted from all the additional light.


Sadly though the ginger lily has one further claim to fame.


The shot at the top of the post was the last one ever from our 18-200mm zoom lens. We’d taken the camera back to Mike’s study to have a look at the pictures on his computer screen and somehow the camera fell to the floor. I shall not divulge who had their hands on it at that last moment except that, mercifully, it was not me. The lens, our only lens, bore the brunt of the impact and literally split into two. We’ve ordered a replacement so hopefully I’ll be back in action before the weekend. Still.. Bloomers waits for no man. Or woman. Or lens. Until next time..


Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens (here), where you will find many other October bloomers from around the world.


2017-10-24T19:32:43+00:00October 15th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Em October 15, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    You’ve solved a mystery for me with the Hesperantha. I was given aa clump of leaves last year and this year they’ve produced flowers…definitely Hesperantha now I see your photo. Thank you! Gorgeous pics and so much Autumn colour. Beautiful. X

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen huge clumps of the stuff on other blogs so I hope it does well for you. It’s struggling a bit here, might have to move it.

  2. Sarah Shoesmith October 15, 2015 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Aaaargh! Camera catastrophe. I don’t think anyone had their hands on it. It probably fainted with shock over the number of ginger lily spikes. What a fab plant – isn’t it great when something goes better than planned? Here’s to your aspirational Persicaria!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      The ginger lily is fab. It’s currently surrounded by four stout poles and some thick cardboard to protect it from our latest lot of works!

  3. jannaschreier October 15, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Oh, you are a good writer, Jessica. Love the ‘Lost Label’, bees not caring and Persicaria not reading its instructions!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      I’ve searched everywhere for the label. What I thought it was it clearly isn’t from internet research. So either I forgot where I put it (most likely) or I was sold the wrong plant!

  4. Vera October 15, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

    It is a miracle that my camera has remain undamaged because I am always putting it down here and there around the house. Hope you get the replacement lens soon, your photos are great, …….and I know I always saying it….but you really make me want to improve my photos but lack the time to do so at the minute. Well, that’s my excuse…I think you have a better ‘eye’ for detail than me!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      In my case it’s teetering on the brink of steep slopes with camera in hand.. I’m amazed that something like this hasn’t happened before!

  5. Sam October 15, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Oh crikey! Sorry to hear about the lens. But what beautiful photos taken with it before its untimely end. Sedum does look fabulous planted en masse. We had a Hamamelis mollis ‘Wisley something or other’ in our previous garden and it would start to bloom in late Oct-Nov. I think they are very long flowerers.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      That makes me feel better about the witch hazel. Although I’d rather the blooms all came out at once because they’re a bit difficult to see otherwise.

  6. Lea October 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! Love the Pat Austin Rose!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Pat Austin has been quiet since her initial flush in June so it’s good to see her back. The blooms don’t last quite as long now though, the nights are too cold. Thanks Lea.

  7. FlowerAlley October 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I had to write down the name of that Ginger Lily. Lovely and fragrant, too! = win + win.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      The fragrance is quite unbelievable. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when all six flowers are out.

  8. croftgarden October 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Great Hedychium. I’m always surprised that they’re not more popular. My last plant was sold with the previous house, but I’m now tempted to get replacement.
    Shame about the camera. I bounced a lens earlier this year, alas the repair was almost as expensive as a new one. I was in disgrace for ages!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I’m just so glad it wasn’t me who bounced this one. You’d have heard the remonstrations from up there.

  9. jenhumm116 October 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Pat Austin indeed looking good – as is so much else!

    So sorry to hear about the lens. I dropped my camera last year, breaking the lens, and burst into involunary tears and sobbed and sobbed I hope you manage to avoid that, and that the replacement comes soon.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I can quite understand. Lenses become part of us, quite apart from the extortionate expense.

  10. Charlie@Seattle Trekker October 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    The ginger lily looks quite amazing and would be a great fit for my garden. I am going to search out a bit more information to see if I can’t get a plant or two before autumn passes us and we enter winter.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      It’s a fabulous plant Charlie. If it works for me I’m sure you’d also manage it in the PNW. It looks far more exotic than it is, but it does need winter protection.

  11. Charles October 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I envy you your garden. My garlic chives are in flower as well, although the regular chives are sulking. Our move to Somerset hangs in the balance, due to the buyers of our house taking so long that the sellers of the house we want to buy are going to put it up for rent. This means another lost year in London as gardening in a house you are trying to sell is not that much fun. Still this is very much a first world problem and as I will be RETIRED I will be able to fish, go walking, visit gardens, visit houses, travel, cook, (help around the house….) so I am sure the time will fly by.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      Oh that does sound frustrating. I’m sure we make house buying and selling far more stressful than it need be in this country, speaking as a veteran of several moves. Hang in there, it will happen and as you say, time will fly by. I still can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone. Also, when retired you are way more busy than you ever were when you were working. I used to travel a lot too.. and it still holds true!

  12. AnnetteM October 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    What a shame about your lens. Will you go for the same one again? 18mm to 200mm is such a great one to have; so flexible. I agree with Vera that your photos are a real inspiration. I know you use a tripod much more than I do as your photos are so crystal clear. I was amazed to find out the Ginger Lilly was grown outside – it looked like a real greenhouse plant. Your Autumn terrace looks wonderful – gaps, what gaps? It is a bit annoying, though when things grow bigger than they are supposed to, especially dwarf varieties, which I am learning are never dwarf apart from when you buy them. My biggest surprise has been my Verbena bonariensis which for the second year of buying (they don’t make it through the winter here) have towered over the garden at a good 8 feet! Next year they are getting their wings severely clipped!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Verbena bonariensis does grow a bit! I thought I had found the answer last year with Vb ‘Lollipop’ which is supposed to be a dwarf one.. until it self seeds and then some of the progeny revert to the original size. The 18-200 lens was good, but we found we needed more zoom. So we’ve replaced it with two lenses which between them cover 16 to 300mm and are supposed to have better image quality. Looking forward to experimenting!

  13. Backlane Notebook October 15, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Gosh sorry to hear about the camera crash and I love and want that ginger lily.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      It’s lovely to have something that looks so exotic so late in the year. And the fragrance! It works well in a pot too, although it would need to be a big one. The rhizomes grow huge.

  14. Sofie Vandersmissen October 15, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    You have beautiful flowers in your garden!

    Greetings, Sofie #26

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Sofie, thanks!

  15. Diana Studer October 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    going out with a bang!
    And in such glorious photos of your covetable garden.
    I’d like those stone walled terraces.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      A big bang as it happens! We were lucky enough to inherit the terraces, the only flat bit of planting space in the whole garden.

  16. danger garden October 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Darn it! On a selfish note we, your readers, are glad you got your bloomday photos taken first. That Hedychium is a stunner.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Loree and thanks. Although only some of the photos, I’d have added more but with only one bust up lens that was the end of it!

  17. Pauline October 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Hope you soon have a replacement lens as your photos are always so wonderful. Your terrace is looking wonderful with plenty of interest.Like everyone else, I think your Hedychium is fantastic, so beautiful and with a perfume to match!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      The hedychium doesn’t look as though it belongs in this country does it. It lives in the warmest place in the garden I can give it but even so I think I may dig it up this year for its protection. Keep hearing awful forecasts of a cold winter ahead.

  18. angie the freckled rose October 15, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    You have such a beautiful garden! I really enjoyed looking at all of these stunning photos 🙂 I am SO sorry about your lens, as a fellow photographer I know how much of a nightmare that can be. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and wishing you lots of luck with the replacement lens!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Angie and thanks. The (two) new lenses have arrived so we’re looking forward to playing with them over the weekend. I would love to have geese to photograph. Although knowing geese they would probably peck the camera.

  19. Rosemary October 15, 2015 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    The gardens are still looking lovely even though we are heading towards November and yours is no exception. Does the Ginger Lily have a ginger scent ?
    Sorry to learn about the lens, these things are sent to try us.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      I always find scent so difficult to describe but I wouldn’t say it was ginger. I do know I wish I could bottle it!

  20. Christina October 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, that ginger looks simply fantastic. I am surprised that ginger is blooming in Devon, since I am always thinking of them as very tropical plants and assumed that even your relatively mild climate is simply too harsh for them.
    The terraces by your house look fantastic, especially since you said that have not been doing much with them this year. I love your roses, ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ being particularly charming.
    Hesperantha coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’, name change or not, has a just stunning flower.
    Overall lots of interesting things are still blooming in your garden, surely due to your great selection of plants.
    Last but not least: Sorry about your lens, I think that is simply a case of “shit happens” on occasion.
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      The ginger does need winter protection here. It’s survived, and indeed thrived, over the last two years with just a thick mulch. But this year it’s supposed to be much colder.. courtesy of El Nino.. so I think I may dig it up to be on the safe side.
      We’ve had the lens a number of years and it’s served us well, but perhaps it’s an opportunity to try something new. The timing could have been better, but is it ever the right time for something like this? Better than in the middle of a holiday I guess.

  21. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things October 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    The terraces, the asters, the sedum – everything is beautiful. Autumn seems truly have arrived for you.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Yes, it’s feeling very autumnal now. The temperatures are still quite pleasant during the day but it’s much cooler at night, hovering close to freezing a couple of nights this week.

  22. Julieanne October 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Love the Ginger Lily. Shame about the lens, hopefully the new one will continue to take as good pics as these

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      It’s a bummer, the lens, isn’t it. But we’re into a new generation of lenses now, so I’m hoping for good results. Time will tell.

  23. Virginia October 15, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Shame about the “Ooops!” moment …. but is this the opportunity to buy the lens you’d really, really, really love, but weren’t going to splash out on?

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Not quite.. the budget doesn’t stretch that far! I couldn’t believe the prices. You could buy a car for the same cost as some of them! But we have gone for a slightly longer zoom, which was becoming a limitation. Looking forward to trying it out.

  24. Chloris October 15, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    On my goodness, what a catastrophe. I always dread this happening as I am so clumsy. I love your Hedychium, how wonderful to have so many flowers spikes. I have Hedychium ‘ Tara’ which is very beautiful but I don’ t think it is so fragrant. Your terrace looks lovely.

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      I shall look up ‘Tara’, especially as I find myself now wanting more. Although if we are to have harder winters in the future that’s a lot of greenhouse space. Need a bigger greenhouse..

  25. Amy at love made my home October 15, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Beautiful bloomers, especially that gorgeous ginger!!! I hope that the new lens will be with you soon – not fun! xx

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      It arrived today. Let play time begin.. 🙂

  26. Freda October 15, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Such rich colours in this post – fabulous Jessica!

    • Jessica October 15, 2015 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks Freda. The colours seem to get richer as the season progresses.

  27. Karen October 15, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    All your photos were beautiful but the Fenland Daybreak took my breath away! It was stunning! Thank you so much for sharing! Glad the new lens arrived!

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks Karen. I really value plants which bloom this late in the year and that is definitely one of them.

  28. Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) October 15, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    So sorry about your lens. Always expect the unexpected, they say….I had to immediately look up ginger lily. New to me, and I see why – it would never grow in my upstate New York climate. Although, hmmm, I am trying to grow a hardy camilla.

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      They are tender even for here, I am always amazed when they come back after winter. Good luck with the camellia. For the first time ever I’ve had a small measure of success with cuttings.. insurance policy!

  29. Peter/Outlaw October 16, 2015 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Beautiful autumn blooms! I love seeing pictures of your front terraces with your picturesque home in the background! Very sorry to hear about your lens but the important thing is that you can blame someone else!

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Absolutely Peter. It also means that when I do something equally stupid (and expensive) no-one can complain, right?

  30. germac4 October 16, 2015 at 7:54 am - Reply

    The autumn colours are wonderful …the last hurrah before winter! Your garden has a lovely soft light to it..

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gerrie. The autumn colours are just hotting up! We’ve found that it’s best to take photos in the late afternoon and the light is lovely then.

  31. Janet/Plantaliscious October 16, 2015 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I sympathise with the “I don’t care what my label says, I’m happy here and am going to grow inconveniently tall” phenomena. The first proper gardener I met when we moved here introduced me to plant after plant, all at least 1.5m tall, all having been brutally pruned that Spring, all having bought as “dwarf”… My ‘lemon drop’ and ‘Leonard’s Variety’ geums are flowering better now than they have all year! A last hurrah before the snows?! I think your terraces look rather wonderful, despite the photo-bombing persicaria. Sorry about your lens though, such an inconvenience. And unexpected expense.

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      It’s an either or thing, with no happy medium. Plants either take off and within a season soar over my head (1.5m) or they curl up and die. It makes planning a garden extremely difficult, especially on a slope. And if I move something to a place where it has more space to grow? It suddenly takes it upon itself to read the label and reverts to dwarf.

  32. Mike @ A Bit About Britain October 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    It’s looking beautiful. Don’t the bees like that sedum too? Disaster re the lens – ouch!!

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      The bees love the sedum. Until the butterflies shoo them off!

  33. […] at Rusty Duck in southwest England, […]

  34. Sue Garrett October 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    The terrace looks wonderful. I don’t know about plants growing bigger than they should in the south they seem to have done exactly the same for me up here in the frozen north.
    Such a shame about your camera I would feel like you. -glad it wasn’t me that dropped it. Hope you sort out a replacement soon, I’d be lost without my camera.

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      I suppose the guide heights printed on the label are an average, but most things end up exceeding it if they get themselves established. I think the record must go to a variegated grass which was billed as 30cm and also ended up at over a metre!

  35. Island Threads October 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    the ginger lily does look lovely, Jessica, I often find plants don’t do what the label says, I also sometimes find conflicting information, add to that, that the same plant can perform differently each year and sometimes 2 of the same plant in the same garden can perform quite different to each other, I have decided plants are like people each is unique,
    the terraces are looking good and how nice that after all the work last year they have largely taken care of themselves this year, the roses are beautiful, and the aster, it took me ages to learn a few names of plants I simply can’t cope with these changes, I like the name changer with E. bowls mauve and the red admirals on the sedum, Frances

    • Jessica October 16, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      I’m pleased that the terraces are now taking very little to maintain, about half a day a month just to weed and deadhead, if I can get more gaps filled in theory it should be even easier. Now to get the bank under control too then I’ll really be ready to take on a new part of the garden. At the moment the bank is keeping me quite busy enough!

  36. Sarah October 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    The ginger lily looks amazing and you still have so much colour to enjoy. So sorry to hear about the camera we seem to have at least one accident a year with ours! At garden club last night we had a talk by an expert gardener or recommended ‘Growing success’ pellets for slugs, have you tried them? They contain iron and the slug dries out and goes underground to die so it doesn’t affect pets or birds. Sarah x

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      I have tried them, they are about the only thing that works. The trouble is something else eats them as well.. birds? mice? I end up having to use loads which gets expensive and I worry about the effect they are having on the birds if indeed it is them hoovering the pellets up.

  37. snowbird October 16, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    What a heavenly set of images! Good to see you still have bees and butterflies too. Oh….what a shame about your camera, I do hope the replacement comes

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      Suddenly it’s got colder, there were far fewer bees and butterflies out today. The gardener was feeling the chill as well! Thanks snowbird.

  38. Brian Skeys October 17, 2015 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Your post reminds me I have been offered some ginger lilies, I must go and collect them. Camera ouch!

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Snap them up quick Brian, the fragrance is heavenly!

  39. Jo October 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    I think the terraces look fabulous, perhaps a couple of gaps need filling as you say, but I’d be very happy with the work you’ve put in. My chives are flowering too, much to the bee’s delight, but my geums are long gone. The cosmos isn’t Purity but it’s a beautiful colour nonetheless.

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

      The cosmos has actually worked out well, I wish I knew what it really is now then I could get more for next year.

  40. kristinrusso October 17, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Sorry about your camera! I’m beginning to understand why the pilgrims called where I live New England. I’ve got many of the same flowers blooming in my back yard at the moment, and the bees here are just as delighted. No chives, though, Our chives are long gone. What fun to see chive blossoms in October!

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      I’m sure I’ve never had chives blooming in October before, it’s been a funny old year.

  41. Kris P October 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    You’ve got a beautiful collection of October blooms! I love that Geum and the ginger lily and the sedum – and well everything. I’m sorry you had a camera catastrophe. I hope your replacement lens arrives quickly.

    • Jessica October 17, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kris. The expense aside, some benefit may yet come from the camera catastrophe.. The new lenses seem pretty good so far.

  42. Cathy October 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Great photos Jessica – the poor lens was perhaps overexcited by what it had achieved and couldn’t contain itself… but if you say the replacements are looking even better…? The ginger lily is hardy? Hmm, something to consider in the future…

    • Jessica October 19, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Borderline hardy I would say. Very. This is allegedly the hardiest variety of the bunch. Even so, I may have been lucky with a couple of mild winters. I’m seriously thinking of giving it better protection this year, if not digging it up.

  43. SeagullSuzie October 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about you lens, something I always fear doing. Great bloomers, it’s such a lovely month ‘down south’

    • Jessica October 19, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Gorgeous day again today. If only every autumn could be like this!

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