After Storm Callum

Anemone 'Ruffled Swan'

Anemone ‘Ruffled Swan’

And so she might be… fair to say it’s been petal ruffling weather over the last few days. ‘Ruffled Swan’ comes from the same stable as the now famous ‘Wild Swan’ with the same mauve backs to the outer petals. But this one, unlike its predecessor, is semi double creating the ruffled look even without the assistance offered by Storm Callum. I brought her back from the trip up to Trentham Gardens and, with impeccable timing, she opened her first blooms this weekend.


Verbena bonariensis


Verbena bonariensis

The impact of storms chez duck depends very much on the wind direction. Nestled in a valley surrounded by trees we tend to be protected on three sides. But if the wind comes from the south then we take it head on. As this one did. On the plus side at least it was warm. Strangely warm for October.. I was running about rescuing pots in a short sleeved T shirt with branches crashing to earth all around me.



And then out again at first light yesterday morning to clear the drive before this week’s retinue of tradesmen arrived.



The wheelbarrow set aside as a repository for bathroom related detritus, now with its own water source built in. No plumbing required.



And it’s weird, in a nice way, to be hearing the sound of a bubbling river once again. It had dwindled to a mere trickle over the driest summer we’ve had in years.



The character of the garden has changed much over the last couple of weeks, now littered with leaves as the trees start to turn. The acer alongside the lawn tends to reflect the type of summer we’ve had. Originally growing in the shadow of two enormous beech trees its autumn colour was limited to golden yellow. Exposed to more sun over the last few years the palette has been transformed, never more so than this year and presumably a sign of the stress that it has suffered. Quite a picture though..




Many of the acer’s leaves have been corralled into corners by the wind


Davidia involucrata


Davidia involucrata, against a debris strewn drive


Hamamelis x intermedia 'Robert'


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Robert’



Fungi growing on a tree stump, a sure sign that the damp weather has returned. I am hoping this isn’t honey fungus. Don’t I have enough horticultural crosses to bear?


Rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton'


Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

But it’s not all bad news. Some of the roses are valiantly hanging on, albeit the blooms are smaller now and a little weather worn around the edges. In the days prior to the storm we had a few chilly nights, not quite a frost but teetering on the brink.


Rose 'Jude the Obscure'


Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’



The bank holding its own, much of the colour now provided by grasses


Molinia caerulea 'Transparent'


Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’


Pseudowintera colorata 'Mount Congrieve'


Loving this combo of Pseudowintera colorata ‘Mount Congrieve’, a low growing shrub from New Zealand (left) and Ceratostigma plumbaginoides


Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Andenken an Alma Pötschke'


And as we’re doing vibrant, how about this? Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ against the leaves of Enkianthus campanulatus, or what’s left of them after Callum. If only you’d seen it last week! And who comes up with these names anyway. Not the Enkianthus. No, I can cope with that. But what used to be an aster must now surely go into the Guinness Book of Records as the plant with the longest name?



Calm down, calm down. It’s autumn after all and as I gaze out of the window the Devon mizzle is closing in once more.

The season has most definitely turned.


Anemone x hybrida 'Serenade'


Anemone x hybrida ‘Serenade’


2018-10-16T18:08:16+00:00October 16th, 2018|Tags: , |


  1. FlowerAlley October 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    This was lovely. We too have had some storms here in NC. Not much damage for me. I feel very fortunate.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Your storms tend to be a lot worse than ours. Some frightening ones this year. I’m very glad you got through without damage.

  2. Ali October 16, 2018 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    You have captured such beautiful autumn images. I am being converted to grasses. And I love your used-to-be aster.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ali. Grasses are such useful things. They look great for most of the year but in autumn really hold the garden together. The colours can be so good too. A lovely backdrop for the later perennials.

  3. Peter Herpst October 16, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Your garden wears autumn’s splendor beautifully! So much stunning color. Pseudowintera colorata ‘Mount Congrieve’ is a lovely thing!

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      It is indeed a lovely thing. It stays that colour all year, with the redder tinges in autumn. I have tried taking cuttings but no luck yet. I shall persevere.

  4. KJ October 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    That kind of gardening calls for a Hard Hat!!

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      It certainly does! The perils of this garden are many, a permanent safety harness wouldn’t be a bad idea either..

  5. snowbird October 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Ruffled swan certainly is a beauty, I must look out for her! It’s the same here, branches down everywhere…..sighs. I do love the river high and running, how lucky you are to have that to enjoy every day, the hedge is looking fab too as though it’s always been there. What a fabulous acer too….oh dear, I think that is honey fungus, it’s all over my garden

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      I hope you didn’t suffer any damage to the garden, it was quite a storm. I haven’t been able to get down to the river yet, it’s just too wet down there. It’s always been on my list to get a path of some sort along the river bank which doesn’t try to claim my wellies in wet weather. One day.

  6. Linda from Each Little World October 16, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    The bank really looks great. It’s certainly come a long way. I grew Alma P. in my old garden which was a small space. I had no idea how big that Aster was going to get!! Whenever I see that beautiful ‘Emma Hamilton’ rose, I hope poor Emma knows that everyone today is as enthralled by her rosy beauty as Nelson once was.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I needed a splash of strong colour for a gap near the top of the bank. Alma P fits the bill nicely! She has plenty of headroom and room to spread sideways so I hope she provides!

  7. germac4 October 16, 2018 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    Despite storm Callum your Autumn garden is looking lovely, especially the bank. The grasses really come into their own in Autumn and probably don’t mind wind. Anemone Ruffled Swan is looking true to her name. I love the Lady Emma Hamilton rose, ( nice to know from the above comment that it was named by Nelson)…I would love to know how Jude the Obscure got its name! Happy Autumn gardening.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      The grasses seem to thrive in the wind, except for the very tall wispy ones like Panicum which are now drooping a bit. Both of the roses come from David Austin so presumably it is he who names them. I looked up Jude The Obscure, it just says ‘named after the Thomas Hardy character from the novel of the same name’. English literary and historical figures crop up a lot!

  8. Heyjude October 17, 2018 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Lovely photos as usual and more new plant names for me! Love the grassy bank – it looks so beautiful and natural – and those Acer colours too. Wind from the south is unusual and as you say it was so warm despite the gales and the rain. Not sad it is over though!

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      No, exactly. But with the wind now switched round to the north it’s got rather chilly!
      I always intended the bank should look natural. It’s a sort of transition zone between the woodland and the formal part of the garden such as it exists. The grasses are key to that. The Anemanthele does rather take over but it is the perfect height and I love the coppery tones. Some of the other grasses I’m going to move next Spring because they’re tall and look rather too lanky up there. Constant trial and error it is!

  9. grammapenny October 17, 2018 at 12:33 am - Reply

    I love the roses.. and I have Alma Potschke too.. she is quite bright isn’t she! We have had wind as well… but no damage thankfully. Frost is coming and there is still much to do.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      She is very bright! It’s getting colder here now. I’m not ready for frost.. I still need to clear out the greenhouse so I can move the more tender plants into it!

  10. Kris P October 17, 2018 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Your plants may have been blown about but the garden looks very pretty in its fall finery nonetheless. I love the Acer surrounded by that beautiful green lawn. As to Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ I’m beginning to wonder if David Austin sent me the wrong rose – maybe she just isn’t a SoCal girl.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Rosa LEH is very late for me this year. She did very little over the summer and it’s only in the last month or so that she’s put out any significant blooms. She bucks the trend, most of the roses here did exceptionally well in the untypical sunshine. Perhaps we have plants from the same batch!

  11. Pauline October 17, 2018 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Your bank is looking really good and I love the colour of your Acer, so striking surrounded by green. I think we got off lightly compared to Wales, although we had plenty of floods and trees down.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      We did get off lightly. Although Rosemoor was shut for a day and a half, they’ve also had a few trees down.

  12. bumbleandme October 17, 2018 at 6:49 am - Reply

    The new hedge at the bottom of the lawn is looking good too! I hope you didn’t suffer too much damage.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Nothing that couldn’t be easily cleared away. The new hedge is urgently in need of a trim. I was waiting for the temperatures to drop in the hope that the next cut is the last one for this year. Lonicera never seems to want to stop growing! Possibly not the best choice for a very low hedge. But we had plenty, seemed a shame to let it go to waste.

  13. janesmudgeegarden October 17, 2018 at 7:23 am - Reply

    Your Autumn seems to be so much more-well-Autumny than ours. The colours are more vibrant, it seems to me, and like you, I’m finding the Peudowintera/Ceratostigma combination particularly fetching. I have Ceratostigma in my garden, but I don’t think it achieves that depth of colour. All the photos are very beautiful.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      The autumn colours are really only just starting. The acers are always first and then the natives follow on. With a drop in temperature this week things are moving quite quickly now. When I was out today I noticed there’s a difference already from the photos in the post.. just a couple of days later.

  14. Chloris October 17, 2018 at 9:01 am - Reply

    That must have been quite a storm but at least you got some rain. Yep, honey fungus I’m afraid. It’s gone crazy this year, I have the telltale toadstools all over the garden. You have lots to enjoy in your autumn garden, the bank is looking lovely. And that anemone is stunning.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I did fear it was the dreaded honey fungus. It’s on a dead stump, but on a tree we felled rather than one which died naturally. I shall have to wait and see what the impact will be. Not that there’s a lot I can do about it.

  15. wherethejourneytakesme October 17, 2018 at 9:37 am - Reply

    I like the new water feature re:the barrow – I have the wild swan – the rabbits favourite!
    Your lawn is looking really good and the Acer – it takes time doesn’t it in these woodland gardens as the big trees continue to grow the garden is forever changing. We have some big decisions to make next year over a few trees. Our woodland walk is diminishing as the trees get bigger and thicker meaning more dense shade.

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      Oh no! Another expensive batch of rabbit food!
      The increasing canopy is a big issue here too. I’m rapidly running out of sunny spots in the garden, the trees are definitely taking over. We do need to maintain the clearing in which the house sits, the trees were far too close to the building before. But perhaps I also need to accept the change and move the planting more to shade loving. The woodland is a lovely place to be on a hot summer’s day.. apart from the wretched midges!

  16. derrickjknight October 17, 2018 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Another well photographed, colourful, post. I really like the bank photo. Jackie admired the acer pictures before I got to them. When she reads before me I know what I have to look forward to. 🙂

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Derrick. The acer has done really well this year. But if I remember correctly, you have one that is very similar? I don’t know which variety this one is sadly, it was inherited with the garden.

  17. Susan Garrett October 17, 2018 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I do wish that they would stop playing around with plant names. I love the Jude the Obscure rose – is it perfumed?

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Exquisitely perfumed. Even I can smell it and that’s saying something. There are two roses in the garden whose scent I can easily pick up, even at a distance. This is one and another David Austin rose, Desdemona, is the other.

  18. CherryPie October 17, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Beautiful autumnal colours 🙂

    • Jessica October 18, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      It could be a good year for autumn colour!

  19. Jacqueline Mumford October 19, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Fabulous Autumnal photographs of your beautiful garden Jessica, albeit after the storm !!! As much as Spring is such a beautiful time of year in the garden, Autumn has it’s own beauty and the turning of the leaves can’t be beaten. XXXX

    • Jessica October 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jackie. True, it’s a very pretty time of year. And on warm days such as we’ve had this weekend I do love it. But Spring will always win out!

  20. offtheedgegardening October 19, 2018 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! The shot down to the acer is wonderful, autumn in one picture. That aster (you know who I’m talking about) is very popular this week 🙂

    • Jessica October 21, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen it three times now, just this week alone. I blame Hardy’s, who sold it to me. They must be pumping them out as rapidly as Geum Totally Tangerine. Come to think of it, if that geum was still in bloom they’d look rather good together. 🙂

  21. hb October 19, 2018 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    The Precipitous Bank looks great in autumn colors. ‘Jude The Obscure’ is one of my favorite fragrances, sort of sweet grapefruit. Your garden looks quite wonderful, a little storm damage doesn’t mar it.

    • Jessica October 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks Hoov. Jude has a wonderful scent. But I hadn’t noticed the grapefruit before, I shall go and give her another sniff!

  22. Freda October 20, 2018 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Stunning and I love the one of the bank,

    • Jessica October 21, 2018 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Freda. The grasses really work up there. Not least the mexican wave in response to the slightest breeze.

  23. Caro October 20, 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Looks like autumn is the season for your garden, Jessica. Love the acer-on-fire colours against the wood but my favourite has to be the fading hydrangea – purple and green will always win for me!

  24. Caro October 20, 2018 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Looks like my last comment disappeared so apologies if this eventually appears twice! Autumn is obviously the season for your garden, the colours are so beautiful. My favourite shot though is of the faded hydrangeas – purple and green will always be my favourite combo.

    • Jessica October 21, 2018 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      Your first comment went into the moderation queue, maybe the new email address that WP didn’t recognise. My apologies.
      They do have a very interesting colour those particular hydrangea blooms when they fade. This is a shrub which is gradually changing to blue from pink as it settles into more acidic soil. This year it’s quite striking!

  25. Nick du Fresne October 22, 2018 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Pseudowintera colorata is NZs Native Pepper plant. Try drying some of the older leaves and then crushing/grinding them for a pepper substitute. They are quite hot..

    • Jessica October 22, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Hi Nick and welcome.
      Thanks for the tip, that is definitely one to try. I bought the pepper plant a couple of years ago for its gorgeous evergreen foliage. It seems to be doing quite well over here and is slow growing, perfect for where I have it. If it has a practical use as well even better!

  26. Diana Studer October 26, 2018 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Running around dodging falling branches is taking extreme gardening too far.

    • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      It is. But collecting the post or the groceries often involves a similar hazard!

  27. Carrie Gault November 1, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Nothing much happened here except that more leaves than usual blew off the trees and in the countryside some old trees fell over. I guess it was just a blip, no serious damage.
    Oh my how I LOVE that photo of the ground litter with acer leaves, ferns and ivy – eek! 3 of my favourite things 🙂
    Glad you managed to dodge those falling branches at your place – hefty they were!
    Hugs, and now to catch up up more with your most recent post 🙂

    • Jessica November 5, 2018 at 6:48 am - Reply

      Clearing up the drive of branches is a regular thing, even after a much lesser storm. Many of the trees are old and there are plenty of dead limbs up there. Occupational hazard!

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