We find a nearby mini-arboretum

Isn’t it a treat when you discover a garden so close to home behind a house we drive past a few times a week passing through a neighbouring group of houses. We did this in mid-October when we discovered that a new National Garden Scheme, being mentioned in an NGS email.

Thus we travelled for a few minutes to find this neighbouring garden which was described as having a small but fine collection of trees. It really did turn out to be an interesting mini-arboretum.

As we walked up the front drive we started to see what a treat we were going to be in for.

We then skirted the house and entered the back garden where we were greeted by a a pond surrounded by colourful shrubs and small trees.

We always enjoy seeing gardens which show the gardeners have a sense of humour.

I will share some more of my photos of the back garden in the following gallery. Enjoy!

We had noticed a few interesting trees in the front garden as we walked up the drive so returned to have a close up look before we made our short journey home.

I shall finish by looking at a trio of one of our favourite trees, gingko biloba.

A great little arboretum right on our doorstep!


My Garden Journal 2022 November

November sees us well into autumn but the garden seems to continue to be confused with trees unable to decide whether to colour up, drop leaves or stay green on their branches.

Looking at the first two pages, I considered the effects of autumn on trees and shrubs and on the opposite page I shared photos of some of our hesperanthas.

Concerning trees and shrubs in autumn I wrote, “November sees autumn well established in our garden, but our trees and shrubs of deciduous character are confused about whether to change foliage colour or not.”

Some have turned red, others just becoming yellow but others are still completely green.

The opposite page is where I shared photos of some of our hesperanthas, where I noted that “We have several varieties of hesperantha now established throughout our borders. They are currently flowering well, glowing in any dull light.”

Over the page to the next double page spread I looked at the importance of reds in the November garden. I wrote, “In the first week of November the most noticeable colour around the garden is red, the reds of foliage, flowers and fruits.”

I then shared selection of photos of red features in our garden at that time.

The following two pages were all about berries.

The first page looked at the berries on our callicarpa shrubs, both the purple and white berried cultivars. I noted that, “Jewel-like berries give lots of interest in our garden now. Callicarpa in both purple and white are highlighted by the low rays of the sun.”

I then shared some photos of our callicarpa.

More berries feature on the opposite page where I wrote, “The whites and greens of Hedera helix and Fatsia japonica are also highlighted by the low rays of the autumn sun. In shade they appear more like yellows and greens.”

Two photos of the shrub Clerodendron trichotomum sit below and I noted that, “The brightest and most unusual berries of all are those of Clerodendron trichotomum with the bright glossy turquoise berries sitting within deep cerise calyces. Wonderful!”

On the next two pages I looked at the changing foliage on trees and shrubs and then at a true surprise.

I wrote, “We can’t leave November without another look at the changing faces of tree and shrub foliage.|”

On the page opposite I shared photos of a truly unexpected surprise we found in ‘Arabella’s Garden’ while dead heading dahlias. I noted that, “Occasionally our gardens give us exciting and very unexpected surprises. We have a mature specimen of the climber ‘Akebia quinata’ also known as the Chocolate Vine. Deep ruby purplish flowers hang in long racemes . These are also sweetly scented. Recently though we spotted a pale grey-purple pod hanging, a single fruit among the foliage, about four inches long. As it opened seeds were revealed looking like a small head of sweetcorn. Where the grey coating peeled off it revealed glossy black seeds.”

The final double page spread for my report on my November Garden Journal 2022 shows jobs we have been busy doing and one of my sketches using Japanese Brush Pens, featuring flower heads of “Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Blackfield”. I noted on the job page that, “Every month is a busy month for us as we love being outside in the garden. But our time outside in November is being controlled by the weather. Heavy showers arrive most times and drive us indoors or into the greenhouse. We have insulated the greenhouse with bubblewrap and moved non-hardy plants in there. I tied up bundles of hollow stems to give places for wildlife to shelter in over winter.”

Below the greenhouse photos I wrote, “Meanwhile outside we continued to develop our ‘Secret Garden’, removing and potting up the plants and re-shaping the borders.”

Onto the penultimate page I shared some notes concerning persicarias and showed a sketch I created of ‘Persicaria ampexicaulis ‘Blackfield’. I noted that, “Persicaria amplexicaulis in all its variety is one of the most valuable herbaceous perennials for any garden. We grow several cultivars and they flower late summer and well into autumn. This year the drought made them suffer badly with foliage dying down. We cut some down to within inches of the ground to see what happened and were amazed by their rapid re-growth and renewed flush of flowers.”

And so to the final page of entries for my garden journal in November, where I showed my watercolour sketch of one of Jude’s many vases of flowers and foliage we have around the house created with materials from our garden. Our next visit to my garden journal will be the last for 2022 when we visit our garden once again.


Our Pots and Containers in Autumn and Winter

We change many of our containers and pots as the seasons change, so recently we replanted several large terracotta pots and various larger containers ready for late autumn and winter interest.

We planted the pots with small foliage shrubs, small grasses and winter flowering cyclamen in shades or red, purple and cerise.

These clay pots have been displayed on the area of garden which my aeoniums and other succulent collection lived in throughout the warmer months.

At the entrance to our drive we have three planter boxes to welcome anyone as they arrive, the first one says ‘Malc and Jude’s Patch’, the middle one is plain, and the other says ‘Avocet 3 Main Road’.

Alongside the house itself leading to the front door we have more containers, the largest being a vintage galvanised bath. This is planted with foliage plants, grasses and winter cyclamen. Alongside the front door steps are several clay pots including two tall, wide terracotta pots with more winter interest plantings.

Around and about throughout our garden more winter interest pots can be found as we work in the garden or simply wander.


An Early Autumnal Walk among Attingham’s Woodlands

We visit Attingham Hall grounds frequently throughout the year as it is the closest National Trust property to us being about a half hour drive away. We enjoyed a leisurely wander around the “Mile Walk” in early autumn to see what signs of the season were there to be enjoyed.

As soon as we made our way from the paying kiosk to the courtyard signs of the season came into view. After our usual coffee and treat we walked through the mature woodland where sweet chestnut trees towered overhead, with branches heavy with nuts in their spiked cases.

We were on the look out for leaves changing colours as we wandered along the gravel pathways, but we were amazed by how much foliage remained green with no signs of changing.

One of the delights of autumn and certainly a good reason for a wander at this time of year is the appearance of fungi. Each one is a jewel and they are all so different but I am not good at identifying them so I simply enjoy a close up look and a search for delicate aromas.

Some views show no signs of the season at all!

Berries are a sure sign of the year moving on and they give so much colour before the migrant thrushes arrive.

There is so much autumnal confusion going on in our woodlands, gardens and countryside this year. We will make a return journey before too long to see how this autumn is progresses.


My Garden Journal 2022 – October

Back once again with a look at my 2022 garden journal to see what we have been up to in the garden and to see what the garden has been up to.

On the first two pages I considered signs of autumn in our garden, firstly changing foliage colour followed by our fruit that needed picking and storing.

On the first page I wrote, “October is a definite autumn month and we have signs of the season putting on a show.”

I shared a set of my photos of autumn colour in our garden.

On the second page I noted that,“Fruit picking is now coming to an end as we pick the last of our blackberries, our late apple varieties including heritage types and of course our varieties of pears.”

On the next double page spread I looked at some of the jobs we did in October and on the opposite page I shared photos of some of our fastigiate trees. I wrote, “Having only a quarter acre or so to garden and putting in lots of trees, we reached the stage of planting more fastigiate trees and shrubs.”

On the left page I wrote, “We had varied jobs to complete this month, including re-vamping the green roof on the shed, adding new plants beneath Cornus mas, replacing our edging of grasses down our central path. We also added new plants to our plant boxes in the drive entrance to reflect coming seasons.”

Below the photos I added, “We top-dressed the Shade Garden with composted bark and pruned the climbers there.”

The next set of photos features some of our fastigiate trees and shrubs.

Over the page to the next double page spread and I share a sketch I created with Derwent Inktense Pencils of a seed head of a crocosmia. I wrote, “Crocosmia grace most of our ‘garden rooms’ in late summer with bright cheerful yellows, oranges and reds and in autumn their seed heads stand proud in rich browns with hints of red and orange.”

On the page opposite I looked at some of the asters we grow in our garden. We refuse to sop up to the ‘DNA botanists’ who insist on renaming plants we know and love and whose old botanic names we have known for so long. They have given asters three new names all of which are too ugly!

I wrote,”Think of autumn flowering perennials and asters spring to mind. Whatever the botanists want to call them they will remain asters for most gardeners. Their beautiful cheerful daisy flowers come in many shades of pink, blue and purple plus of course various whites. Here are a few of ours.

Onto my final double page for October and I considered evergreen broadleaved shrubs. I wrote, “Shrubs with glossy colourful variegated foliage look good all year, but in autumn they seem to become more lively, more colourful and more glossy. We have several pittosporum and coprosma around our patch. Let’s begin with pittosporum.”

So now onto the last page for October in my garden journal 2022 so the next time we visit will be in November when autumn will be well established. This page concerned coprosma and I noted, “In more recent years we have started growing several cultivars of coprosma. We tried them a few years back and they failed in the wet, cold winters. As our winters have become milder newer cultivars are much more successful and are growing well.”


A Nursery and Garden in a Walled Garden – Part 2

As promised this part of the two posts looking at Wildgoose Gardens and Nursery will be simply a gallery of my photos all taken on the same day. I hope you enjoy perusing the gallery and get an idea of its atmosphere.


A Nursery and Garden in a Walled Garden

Early on in October we made a return visit to one of our favourite Shropshire gardens, Wildgoose Garden and nursery, set in what was until fairy recently a derelict walled garden. We met a group of gardening friends there for coffee, a wander around the garden followed by lunch and then more garden exploration.

The current gardeners and nursery owners rescued it and created a beautiful garden with many unusual perennials with unusual annuals integrated with them. Winding gravel paths take visitors on a wonderful magical tour among the plantings.

A special tea shop adds so much more!

Jack and Laura are brilliant at putting plants together and producing masterpieces of design.

At this time of year we can appreciate perennials and especially grasses as they dry off and flowers turn to seeds. This is such an important element of the ‘New Perennial’ style of gardening as practised here at Wildgoose.

It makes a garden more of a pleasure to visit if you find plants you do not recognise and can’t put a name to. Friends we were with at Wildgoose were keen gardeners but there were still plants we could not recognise.

There is just so much to see in the remarkable garden and a good little nursery with treasures to buy. In my next post I will share the photos I took during this visit but have not used here.


My Garden Journal 2022 – September

Back again with a look into my 2022 Garden Journal, this time for a look at September. It was a difficult month for gardening as we were both recovering from Covid-19 which proved to be a very slow process which has carried on into October too.

On the first double page spread I considered the effects of the long summer drought and shared a sketch of some lily seed-heads. I wrote, “September brought with it a rather pathetic end to this summer’s drought, short heavy showers and longer periods of light drizzle.

Slowly some plants begin to recover from the ravages of drought, while others will need cutting back to stimulate new growth. It is a waiting game!”

Turning the page to the next pair we look at succulents, both their flowers and foliage. I wrote “Succulents often surprise us with their amazing flowers, many of which appear in late summer and early autumn. At the same time many foliage colours intensify.”

The bright orange flower is on Senecio ‘Orange Flame’.

On the opposite page I look at an urgent task for the month. I wrote, “One urgent task for this month was re-building and re-planting our roof garden atop the wood-store. It was collapsing as wood structure rotted and the drought caused havoc to the planting.”

Sodden roof sagging. Removing old compost.

Old roof almost stripped off. Placing new plants.

Jude adding fresh light compost. All done and looking good!

Onto the final pair of pages for September and we take a quick look at some of our special wildlife residents. I wrote, “We now have so much wildlife busy in the borders with hedgehogs emptying their food bowls most nights. The last few years here has seen so many new forms of wasp making our garden their home, including unusual and rare colourful ichneumon wasps.”

“Below are just two photos of our many ichneumon wasps. They are mostly brightly coloured often striped or bi-coloured.”

“Many have incredible names but only a few are common enough to be given common names, of which we see ‘Gold Marked Thread Waisted Wasp’ and ‘Digger Wasps’. Most have just scientific names such as

Pimpla rufipes Callajoppa exattatoria Callajoppa arrogaster

Ammophilia sp spheadae Mellinus arvensis”

The final page for the month features malus berries, and I noted that, “In August I shared photos of Rowan berries to illustrate how colour was beginning to show and promised to return. So, here are the rowan berries which now show even more colour apart from ‘Apricot Queen’ which has had all its berries eaten by birds already.”

The next time we visit my garden journal will into autumn as we look at the month of October.


Are You Sitting Comfortably? – Post Covid Lockdown No 4

Back again with a new collection of garden seats of all shapes and sizes, this one being the fourth of the new post Covid series of these occasional posts.

I hope you enjoy seeing the photos of garden resting places, starting off with seats we found at Trentham Gardens.

My next set of photos were taken at Chatsworth.

I shall finish off this post with a set of super seats found while exploring Bodnant Gardens, one of my favourite gardens anywhere.

I do hope you have enjoyed resting a few moments on each seat, just as we did. See you back looking at garden seats sometime soon.


My Garden Journal 2022 August

We are back having a look at my Garden Journal 2022 to see what has been occurring in our garden in the month of August, a month of heatwaves and drought this year making gardening challenging.

I wrote,“August is the traditional month to take a holiday and schools have broken up for their summer breaks. The NGS Yellow Book of gardens open for charities also seems to be having a quiet month.

But for us there is plenty to enjoy in the garden and jobs to be done. Our work with the NGS runs down and this month sees the last group visit to our garden, a local WI Group.”

Below are a few photos of the visitors discovering what our garden has to offer.

Over onto the second page of the August entries I shared my sketches of our everlasting sweet pea after writing, “Annual sweet peas flower strongly in the summer giving all sorts of colours and sweet scent. The perennial relatives, Lathyrus latifolius, comes in far fewer colours, just pinks, and sadly no scent.”