Autumn Cometh


Acer (NoID) in soft evening light.


Being an avid follower of the weather forecast, for all the good that does me, I was nevertheless taken by surprise last week. Somehow it had escaped my attention that night time temperatures were erring toward the chilly side. And a bit early too, for supposedly balmy Devon. And so it was that in one, hectic, late afternoon the last lingering tomatoes were unceremoniously cast out of the greenhouse and every tender ornamental I could lay my hands on was thrown back in.



There isn’t room for another thing in there now. Even The Gardener. The speed of the transition left no time for cleaning so at some point they’ll all be hauled out again to make way for wiping down then glass.


Salvia 'Royal Bumble'


Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’

Safe from the ravages of the weather (wind and rain have now followed on from the chilly nights) I hope I can hold on to its gorgeous blooms for just a while longer. In the meantime, along with Salvia ‘Amistad’ and a trio of new heleniums, it has become a stock plant with cuttings of the salvias already taking root.


Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'


Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’

Another transition in the making. Osakazuki always bides her time. It’s almost as if she gets stuck.


Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Garnet'


Not an accusation that could be levelled at Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’, a glowing beacon in the woodland right now. The brilliance of tone appeared almost overnight.



With autumn well underway the emphasis of The Gardener’s toil has shifted.. to shifting ‘stuff.’ Yet more lonicera has been dug up from various locales and added to the hedge, all the way to the red painted post in the foreground. Mike has levelled, raked and seeded another section of what will be new lawn. And Ptolemy Pheasant has re-emerged from the wood in the guise of a seed-seeking guided missile. Barely 12 hours after the grass was sown he was spotted strolling nonchalantly from the scene of his crime allegedly looking “rather plump.” No doubt his breakfast arrangements have been taken care of for the next few days at least.


Hedychium gardnerianum


Hedychium gardnerianum, ornamental ginger.



The new terraces have filled out considerably over the summer.

There are still plenty of gaps, partly down to the lack of plant fair purchasing opportunities this year and also to the temporary cessation of wall building work. The unfinished area to the right of each level is best left alone for now. To fill such space as I could I put in a number of persicaria divisions gleaned from elsewhere in the garden and they have responded to the brief with an exuberance that only persicaria can. Not least that pink one there in the middle.. Er-hmm. No matter. I have identified the perfect spot for it elsewhere.



It’s going up here. By virtue of The Gardener’s neglect over the past couple of years the Precipitous Bank is a tumbling mass of colour with the naturalistic fervour that I’d always intended. Maybe too much fervour. In this shot Verbena bonariensis and Solidargo rugosa ‘Fireworks’ jostle for space against a hardy fuchsia (noID) and  Cornus kousa ‘Wieting’s Select’.


Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Blackfield'


It’s a good location for persicaria which gives of its best when tumbling headlong down a slope. This one is Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Blackfield’.


Enkianthus campanulatus


Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire'(left) and Enkianthus campanulatus

Autumn colour is much in evidence on the Precipitous Bank as well.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Little Henry'

Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Little Henry’

In each year I’ve had this, about three, it has waited until October to bloom. Every Spring I battle against the molluscs which readily devour the young shoots. Perhaps that sets it back. Or perhaps it just chooses its moment. Not as eye grabbing as some of the other rudbeckias maybe but in its own subtle way it perfectly complements its backdrop of seasonal russet shades.

Bouteloua gracilis

And for another curiosity, how about this?

It is Bouteloua gracilis, a compact grass (60cm) with flower spikes resembling rows of false eyelashes wafting in the breeze. I’ve been searching forever for its cultivar, Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’, which as the name suggests is much lighter in colour. That one has yet to set sail across the pond but in the meantime the species is almost as good.


Rose 'Jude the Obscure'


Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Her leaves may be nibbled but she’s still pumping out the blooms.


Rose 'Boscobel'


Rose ‘Boscobel’

Summer’s last fling.


British Summer Time ends this weekend. Then it really will feel autumnal.

The SAD fund is down £38 already. Retail therapy you see. Did I mention there isn’t a single space left in the greenhouse?