Here is the 10th visit to my Garden Journal 2016 as we look at what our patch has got up to in October.
Peppers feature strongly and cover the first 4 pages of this month’s entries which begins with the words, “October arrived and temperatures started falling especially in the evenings and overnight. We seem to be verging on the arrival of our first frost. In my very first journal I wrote, “October arrives and brings Autumn. The first ground frost and the final crop of sweet and hot chillies. Best harvest ever!” This year we still have lots of peppers to harvest and enjoy and as yet no frosts.”
I took photos of the different sorts of peppers to show the varieties we are growing and then took out my water colour paints to attempt to capture their individual charms.
Soon after enjoying painting our lovely colourful peppers we harvested the chillies and prepared them for drying and freezing.
Turning over the page reveals the left page showing off a few of our Persicaria amplexicaulis collection and the right a page of juicy sweet fruits. Persicaria amlexicaulis is one of my favourite herbaceous perennials and we have a dozen or so different ones planted throughout the garden. In my journal I describe it as “A true performer”.
P. amplexicaulis Pink Elephant. P. amplexicaulis “Blackfield”
Persicaria amplexicaulis “September Spires”
Looking at the page of fresh, sweet juicy fruits I wrote “The fruits and berries of Autumn, some for us and some for migrant and native thrushes.” I took a few of pics of just 6 of our fruit bearing plants.
Moving on from my fruit page I turn my thoughts towards two unusual plants sporting the tiniest of flowers. both of these plants draw a lot of attention when we open our gardens when visitors are totally fascinated by them and want to know what they are. The first is a Fuschia, one of only three we grow as we do not like the large flowered, over-developed cultivars most commonly grown. I wrote, “We grow very few Fuschias in our Avocet garden and those we grow are the species in preference to the more usual blousy over-blown hybrids. We both find them far too fussy for our gentle garden.”
I then turned to my box of watercolour paints and my fine fibre-tipped pens to create my impressions of this little beauty. The Fuschia is called Fuschia minimiflora, more commonly known as F. microphlla.
After my paintings I wrote, “I shall look at 2 other of our Fuschias in my November entries as we take them in for the winter.”
The second of my featured tiny-flowered plants is very rarely sold or grown and it is known as Polygonum scoparium. Turning to the same media I studied a tiny individual flower and a section of the stem.
Of this unusual little plant, I wrote, “Polygonum scoparium is the plant with the smallest flowers imaginable. The plant shows its tiny flowers for months during the summer and well into the autumn. Each flower is no more than a few millimetres across, borne every few inches up the whole length of its deep green wiry stems, and the blooms are scented. We were surprised after 4 years of growing and enjoying this unusual and very special little plant, about 2 feet tall, to discover that it is classified as a shrub. It appears to have no leaves but early in the year tiny leaves a few millimetres long appear up the stem. These disappear during early summer to be replaced by a deep brown band fading to yellow above. What a special plant! We love it! Close up these minute little flowers reveal such beauty with bright centres and pale green on each petal.”
Next I returned to Sedum after looking at them in September and promising a return. I wrote, “I celebrated the Sedum family in September and looked at the many variations in the shades of pink and red found in the heads of tiny flowers. So for this month I want to look at them again and see how the colours have deepened and become more dramatic.”
So turning to the next double page spread in my journal I continued by looking at a yellow flower called Leontodon rigens and some white flowers with yellow centres.
About this wonderful rare yellow flowered perennial I commented, “Leontodon rigens is a most ugly, unfortunate name for such a beautiful plant. It was previously known as Microseris ringens which is just as ugly a name. It is a herbaceous alpine which flowers throughout the summer, but this year in our garden it is in flower again now. The yellow of the petals is so intense and when the autumn sunshine catches them in its front of border position hints of orange and even a little pink appear. Its foliage is in the form of a rosette and the leaves are hairy with toothed edges.”
My next page is titled “Hearts of Gold” and is all about white flowers with golden centres, about which I noted, “Have you noticed how insignificant white flowers become in the misty autumn dawn? Give them a hint of gold though and they zing!”
In contrast to yellows and whites I next turned to the deep richness of the foliage of our exotic Ricinus plants and their eccentric seed pods.
I wrote, “Ricinus is a beautifully statuesque exotic plant with interesting foliage, stem colours and crazy seed capsules like spiky pink golf balls. Sadly few gardeners give it space in their plots because of its links to poisons. We grow several varieties each year from seed and they vary greatly in leaf, stem and flower colour. We grow Ricinus “Blue Giant”, R. “New Zealand Purple”, R. carmentcita and more.”
Under the third photo I wrote the caption, “Orange glow beneath this leaf matches leaf rib colours.”
For the fourth photo I put the caption, “The orange of this Crocosmia contrast with the metallic purple leaves.”
Moving on through my October journal entries I take another look at our Agapanthus collection which I had considered the flowers of in my September journal. This month I decided to see how that were developing from flowers towards seed pods.
I wrote, “I want now to return to our Agapanthus collection grown in our gravel garden, the Beth Chatto Border. Last month I looked at their flowers but now a month later we can observe the magical transformation from flowers to seeds.”
Across the double page spread I shared nine of my photos.
Turning over in search of the next double page and colour is the theme, the colours of Autumn, but not the usual autumnal colours.
I wrote, “The flame colours of Autumn usually refer to the changing colours of tree and shrub foliage but, red, orange and yellow add depth to the flower borders too, and even the colourful grass leaves.”
Every gardener loves checking on the weather and talking about it too! It controls what we do if it gets too wet or too cold for us to get outside and enjoy pottering. So for the final two pages I turn to the skies!
“We have wonderfully colourful skies over our garden in October. Rainbows add delight and bright hues.”
The first pair of photos show “A rainbow finds its twin.”
“The rainbow follows the curve of the Violet Willow.”
The last page of the October entries for my October garden journal shows five pages of the sun and light changing over the fields beyond our garden fence. I added the caption, “Light changes over our borrowed landscape as the sun lowers and a storm approaches.”
So October was a very busy month here in our patch at our home, Avocet. Next time we consider my garden journal it will be the penultimate visit to it.