Spoke Too Soon..


So, just as I write about milder winters and pushing the zone boundaries.. this happens.


Rose 'Desdemona'


Frosty Rose ‘Desdemona’


Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea 'Transparent'


Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’

Less so after frost..


Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Black Beauty'


Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Black Beauty’

..less black


Phlomis russeliana


Frosty Phlomis russeliana



Before the frost, Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ and Imperata cylindrica


Lady Em has had a difficult year.

She was moved later than was good for her, into the new terraces, and promptly dropped all her leaves. The leaves grew back, there were even sporadic blooms, only for her to get felled again by blackspot. And yet still she soldiers on. I’m hoping her persistence, plus a little rest over the winter, will bring her back firing on all cylinders again next year.

But it was the grass behind Lady Em I was most interested in for the purposes of this shot. I bought it as Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’. Up until now it’s shown not the slightest hint of red and after extensive research I concluded that I’d been sold a dud. All summer long it had a far greater resemblance to the straight species, staying resolutely green and becoming invasive, another well known trait. It was destined for a place in the Compost Heap For Very Bad Things in an out of the way corner of the wood. Despite my best intentions this job, like so many others this year, never got anywhere near the top of the to do list. And now.. well. Could I put up with its shortcomings for this gorgeous autumn display?


Hedychium spicatum


Hedychium spicatum, ornamental ginger

Ahhhh, seeds. How I love them.


And if it was ever in any doubt, yes, I succumbed. The Pope is indeed a Catholic. I really did have every intention of restricting it this year. To just my 20-packet allocation of Hardy Plant Society seeds. Halfway down the seedlist I stopped and conducted a tally of the entries thus far earmarked for acquisition. Twenty eight. Ah. When I joined the HPS last year I added Mike to my ticket as well, for an extra couple of quid. Not because he’d walked the Road to Damascus, elevated himself from the ranks of the ungardeners and seen the light. No. I’d done it in the hope that I could cajole him into accompanying me to the monthly events. Maybe doing some of the driving and helping me to carry away the spoils from the attendant plant sales. But that was last year, this is this and all the meetings were cancelled. Worry ye not. Because as a joint member he gets a 20-packet seed allocation too..

There is no hope for me. There really isn’t. Just for the sake of the exercise I had a count up of the spare spaces for new seed pots across the three cold frames and the greenhouse bench. About 15. If I really push it. Hello windowsills.


Rhododendron luteum


Rhododendron luteum

Added to the garden for the fragrant yellow spring blooms, it sports vibrant autumn foliage as well.


Hesperantha coccinea 'Major'


Hesperantha coccinea ‘Major’

Still pumping out the blooms, whatever the weather.



And what weather we’ve had.

Mike’s masterful alpine trough rain shelter has re-emerged from the shed. Fitted out with its optional gale protection upgrade.



We were relaxing in the sitting room on one particularly stormy night recently when there was an almighty thump from somewhere outside. A beech tree in the wood had basically broken into two about ten feet up from the ground. The upper part of the beech fell onto an oak and lodged itself in the canopy, but not before snapping off a main branch from the oak which in its turn also fell, partially blocking the drive. We can get a chainsaw to the lower reaches of the carnage. The rest will have to wait until we can get the tree fellas back in.


Camellia x williamsii 'Mary Christian'


Camellia x williamsii ‘Mary Christian’



I don’t generally have a lot of success with heucheras but this one’s done OK.

‘Peach Flambé’. With an extra sugar glazing courtesy of this morning’s frost.


This isn’t a garden that gets put to bed for winter. It would be rude not to take advantage of any warmer and (praise be) dry days, there’s certainly no shortage of jobs to be done. But it also pays to have inclement weather projects lined up, ‘cos I think I’m going to be needing them more and more.



Perhaps the sitting room will finally get finished this winter?

We can always hope.