Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki' 013 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’

The true autumn colour of ‘Osakazuki’ is starting to emerge. In another two or three days it will be a blaze of vivid red. Looking into the heart of this small tree is like gazing into glowing embers. I tried many times to capture the effect but it didn’t really work.


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The falling leaves serve to highlight the red tones in the Saxifraga stolonifera planted in a carpet below.


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This is perhaps the most dramatic change between any two of the previous months. And not just because the scaffolding has come down. It is undeniably autumnal now. Next month for sure it will look different again, when we’ll be pretty much back to the bare bones.

Looking over the season I find myself quietly satisfied with the Precipitous Bank after its first year of proper attention. As ever there are gaps still to fill and next year I’ll be bulking up some of the perennials, if the test cases I’ve planted so far prove themselves worthy. There are ideas for new things to try as well so it certainly isn’t a done deal yet.


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Eschscholzia californica


The californian poppies have performed really well, after a shaky start. There are still some in bloom today (above) and I hope many more will have set seed over the summer. They’ve proved adept at threading themselves through foliage and it’s given me an idea. Running down the bank, from top right in the ‘usual’ view, there is a river of pulmonaria. It looks great in Spring, but when the flowers are over it just sits there as a big green lump, taking up space that could be used for more colour. I’m thinking of seeding that area with the poppies too. If it works and they germinate could they push up between the plants and give me a river of orange for the rest of the year?


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The bank in side view, taken from the path.

The croscosmia in the right foreground is a bit of a problem. Surely not I hear you say! Particularly if you’ve witnessed my long standing battle and the numerous bin bags of the dreadful stuff carted off down the dump. In flower I have to admit it does add something, but once the blooms fade it flops down the slope and I’m not sure if there is a solution. Anemanthele, the large pink grassy mounds, also have me in two minds. The leaves are beautiful at the moment and so is the lighter-than-air inflorescence.. close up. From the bottom of the slope, the most natural viewing point, it isn’t quite so photogenic. It’s still slated for a move come Spring.


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Anemanthele lessoniana

The close up shot: fabulous autumn tints in the pheasant’s tail grass, perhaps a hint as to the origin of its common name. He’s back by the way. Mr Ptolemy. I caught him up on the terraces this morning, pecking at my penstemons. He has no shame.


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Anemanthele with cosmos and hardy fuchsia


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Verbena bonariensis

Not quite so easy to photograph this one. We were teetering on the very edge of the bank, Mike and the not-quite-walking wounded one. It was wet and slippery and possibly not one of my better ideas. Below the verbena we found evidence of just how wet it’s been over the last week.


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It’s not that many days since I was last in this place, having to use a hand fork like a mattock to weed. Now it is damp enough for fungus to sprout. There are fairy rings in the lawn as well.


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We may be almost at the end of another growing season, but the circle continues to turn. How exciting it will be, watching it all come back again next year.

Fingers crossed.


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.