Autumn's Bounty

Thursday, October 31, 2019

At the date of writing this News, 21/10 I have just come in from the garden full of the joys of a dazzling array of colours from a wide variety of plants. Not yet  having had any damaging frosts in  an otherwise wet month, many plants from mid summer are still going strong.

Clear blue skies and bright sunshine did enhance the show and made the forthcoming late autumn seem a long way off





Cotinus Grace with asters in foreground


  Magical effect of sunlight on Cercis "Forest Pansy"


 What happens when you plant young trees too close together! 3 examples of the genus cornus



 Roses, salvias and autumn colour


 It is not only trees and shrubs that have good autumn leaf colour Maianthemum Racemosa turns a bright yellow during the month.


 Hostas too put on a show.


 Seedheads of all kinds add to the show as in rudbeckia sullivantii "Gold Sturm"



 Large seedhead of sinacalia tangutica an unusual daisy family member


 Selinum wallichianum a lovely late umbellifer


 Leaf colour on hardy geranium  and seed heads of allium 


 Deep red leaves on sedum in rockery


 What tree is bearing these unusual fruits? Answer later




 Sun = 7 days max 19C on 1st

Rain = 8 days. during the month 1.9" rain.and  on 26th 1.9" rain leading to some flooding of river

Chageable = 15 days

Frost = 3  min -1C on 28th and 3 other lows at just 0C





 Frosted dahlias and knifofia



Scenes of autumn 








Garden Update

In spite of very soggy ground we managed to get into store all the remaining rootcrops save parsnips and swede which remain in the ground. Brassicas are now a staple crop through the autumn and winter including brussels sprouts, all winter hardy along with leeks  which are growing well after a slow start; the rain has helped enormously. One crop we are sorry to see the end of is sweetcorn which has been the best we have ever had. 72 plants including some later sown ones which gave us continuity. The last feed was on 27th after our firt frost but still tasting good!

It is always said of home grown vegetables that nothing you buy in supermarkets or green grocers ever tastes as good. That is more true of sweetcorn than anything else which quickly  loses its sweetness when it has been picked for a few days, peas too are much the same.

 Root crops including in the background the odd shaped roots of celeriac which are so spooky looking they could supplant pumpins at Halloween!




Bunch of the carrots "Amsterdam forcing" sown in early August


Unlike last year when we had such a large crop of Bramley apples we didn't know what to do with them all, this year following pruning  of the trees we have a more manageable crop

Most of the hedge trimming has been completed and the larger yew tree now looks pristine with it's sharp lines - such a key player in the winter, when there is not mulch else to admire


  Seed gathering for the HPS Annual Seed Exchange

We sent 36 packets of seed


What is/was looking good. 

There is so much to rave about which in the different light levels at this time of year looks different from day to day, making a regular tour of the garden essential, and I just can't stop taking pics so sit comfortably!

Salvias continued to put on a good late show like one of my all time favourites "Phyllis Fancy" 


 Roses continue to flower well and look good with late flowering salvias


This huge salvia up to well over 6 feet is "Super Trouper"


 What a lovely shade of blue is salvia patens "Guanajuato" tall too up to 4-5 feet

Some years ago a vistor asked me what it was and when I replied it was a salvia, she responded that it wasn't and when challenged for her reason for saying this she replied it couldn't be a salvia because they are always red!!


A surprise Late flower from centaurea "John Coutts" usually summer flowering 


 Dahlias are a great addition to the autumn garden mingling well here with knifofiaRooperi


 Dalia "Honka" yellow


 Dahlia Merckii a wonderful species form  which flowers profusely from wht must be enormous tubers that have been in the same place for upward of 20 years


 I recently purchased this beautiful species type  in a pure white which was labelled "Lisa but I haven't been able to accurately identify it. Names don't always matter when you see something as lovely as this



A very late flowering plant which does well for me in part shade or sun in dry or retentive soil Strobilanthes rankanensis. unlike its relative Strobilanthes  attenuata it doesn't seed around.


 Chance seedlings of feverfew in the Picket Fence Border looking fresh as a daisy! on a cold autumn day


A true plant of autumn and almost into winter formerly sedum "Spectabile", recently renamed Hylotelephium "Spectabile"


















We grow  a good range of impatiens and this jewel is a wild collected form from China that was collected by the late Michael Wickenden who introduced many fine plants into cultivation. I give you "Emei  Dawn"


Another choice and hardy plant from China and the far east is begonia grandis ssp evansiana teaamed up with asters in this pic


A better image is afforded by these crates of  varieties of these begonias loaned to me by my nursery man friend Richard Bramley, Farmyard Nurseries for a talk that I gave to our Hardy Plant Society  Group in South Wales


Wildlife and Countryside

 All signs of butterflies have now gone but the bees are still active on drier days. One amazing wildlife stat is that we have neither seen nor heard many blackbirds for about 3 months. Where have they gone? I rather suspect that the large population of magpies in the surrounding contryside have predated fledgling and young birds. Crows too are also most likely the cause.

There was some good news about birds when a flock of fieldfares came to visit the large hawthorn at the top of the garden which was smothered in berries a favourite food.The next day there was the first sighting of large flocks of starlings which has continued into the end of the month. There was also the chance sighting of a goldcrest when  one of them flew into a window but fortunately it was just concussed and after some gentle massaging it recovered and sat on my hand for a few minutes. They are such pretty tiny little birds you don'often get to see them at such close quarters. They are Britain's smallest bird.



Rabbits thank goodness are still conspicuous by their absence and we hope it stays that way!



There were several during the course of the month, to which I have added others that we did not have room for in packed News items from previous months, and a few more left for next month.

25th Anniversary of Malvern Autumn Show on 28 Sepember


 The floral Marquee with a range of quality nurseries and guest speakers








 This lovely salvia is a sport of Salvia "Amistad" This red form with dark calix is a recent imtroduction called "Amante"












 The Harvest Pavilion is always packed to the rafters with people and many fine exhibitions by amateur growers and plant Societies. One of the real beating hearts  of the show


 These are not cup cakes but a novel way of displaying dahlia flowers


 We always bump into people that we know and it is good to catch up with them

Moira is having a Cwtch (Welsh for cuddle) with Medwyn Williams  the great vegetable grower who last May won Gold and best in show at Chelsea Flower Show. He usually puts on a display at Malvern but this autumn he was having a break and selling gardening products from his company


 A cwtch between 2 elderly gentlemen  would not be appropriate!. We first met Medwyn at Llanberis, N. Wales where every autumn Medwyn runs a 3 day Vegetable Masterclass weekend for members of the National Vegetable Society  with a range of guest speakers. Having heard me speak at the Royal Welsh Show, Medwyn invited me to speak at his event. I was flattered and humbled to be asked to speak at such a prestigous event packed with some of the top members of the NVS. It was great learning opportunity and we were made to feel so welcome. an unforgetable experience. Medwyn is  a most engaging man and unaffected by all the success he has had over the years at shows all over the UK and around the world. He has many stories to tell and always find the time to catch up with us.




 29th September The Picton Garden, Colwall worcs. also comprising Old Court Nurseries. Famous for its National collection of asters, it still holds a large collection although the garden has been expanded to include a wider range of plants and habitats to allow the garden and nursery to open over a longer season then previousy, including many fine plants for shade and incorporating some intriguing garden structures
















 October 13th Hergest Croft garden Herefordshire annual Autumn Plant Fair, the last of the year. For us an unmissable event in one of our favourite gardens


 A week of wet weather had left its mark on the showground but it was dry on the day and well attended


 The garden is famous for its trees and shrubs and arboretum






 Many plants are like old friends at their very best in autumn

One of the rarest is Neoshirakia Japonica that has the most marvellou leaf colour that varies with the weather and light conditions




 Borders on the terrace by the tea rooms




 Friends Sylvia and Tony always bring their nursery Shady Plants. com to the fair, and  we know just about everyone of the nurseries that regularly attend




Answer to question - What is it?

 Fruits on cornus kousa. They are supposedly  edible but I am too wimpy to try them!

And finally at last I hear you say.

A message from Kit Kat - he likes following us around the garden and is learning more about the joys of autumn which sometimes includes diving into leaf mounds but on this occasion he refusd to do so. As is often said, never act with children or animals!