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The Dorothy Clive Garden in September

Back again ready to enjoy another visit to the Dorothy Clive Gardens and see what has been happening since our August visit. We expected early signs of Autumn and hoped for some colourful displays of Dahlias and Salvias. We decided to take a walk around the young mini-arboretum area this month instead of following the winding paths of the Dingle which has less interest at this time of the year.

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As we wandered over to the coffee shop we admired the views over the lower garden and the light which lit up the Pampus Grass behind the Viburnum caught my eye. This was a sign that we could be looking forward to interesting light for garden photography. fingers crossed!

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The border alongside the entrance to the coffee shop was at its most colourful so far this year, with Dahlias, Salvias, Nerine and Hesperantha sharing their colours.

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These brightly coloured plants set the scene for much of our September visit.

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I thought that a gallery of brightly cheerful flowering plants would be a good way of sharing the warm feeling prevailing over the Dorothy Clive Garden this September visit.

Please click on first pic and then navigate using arrows and of course enjoy!

I promised to share our enjoyment of wandering around the soft grass paths that led us around the little arboretum and closely studying the young trees. One surprise was the total lack of autumnal tints to the foliage.

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We were particularly taken by this unusual, in fact unknown to us, Hawthorn, Crataegus laciniata. We are now considering adding one to our garden.

The foliage presented a metallic appearance, almost pewter and the haws ranged from yellows through orange and to a dull brown – a most subtle but attractive combination.

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I feel that another gallery is the best way to share our amble through the arboretum.


Our next visit to these lovely gardens will be for our October report so we should be getting into signs if autumn by then.

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My Garden Journal – December

To celebrate the moving from 2015 into 2016 I thought an appropriate post to publish would be my final monthly garden journal entries for 2015.

This is the final month of reporting on my garden journal where I have been keeping track of what has been happening in our Avocet garden. December should be a month of cold nights, frosts and wintry showers but this year it has been a month of strong winds and rain accompanying mild temperatures. We have still only had one frost in this last bit of the year. Our Dahlias remain outside as we move into the first week of December as we are waiting for frosts to blacken their foliage which would allow us to prepare them for their winter rest.

Opening up my garden journal onto the first pages for December reveals photos of berries which are such a strong feature of our winter garden.

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My first entry for December reads, “The berries of our trees and shrubs give bright splashes of colour in the Winter Garden.”

My photos show berries of Hypericum, Sarcoccoca, various Hollies and one of our Sorbus.

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We have many different Cotoneasters throughout the garden giving shiny berries in many red shades – ruby, scarlet, crimson – and one even has yellow berries. They are so easy to grow but add so much to the garden. Each variety has a different habit and foliage in different shades of green, different sizes, shapes and textures. But what is common to them all is that they are true favourites of our berry eating thrushes.”

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The greenhouse features next in my December Journal as it is during this month that it fills up with tender plants which we want to overwinter.

“The greenhouse is very full and busy in December. Our Fuschia thalia after flowering outdoors for months is still full of bloom now but in the sheltered environment of the greenhouse. Accompanying this special Fuschia, our succulents are also sitting out winter under shelter, after spending the summer and autumn in the Rill Garden.” 

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I tried to show the uniqueness of the Fuschia and its incredibly bright colour with watercolours.

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My final quote for 2015 from the little book by Jenny Joseph, “Led by the Nose” appears as we turn the next page.

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Fragrance outdoors in this season is not so much a twinkle in the eye as a sniff in the nosmic imagination. You will see the tips of bulbs and look forward to being overcome by spring.” 

Below these words I share photos of a few of the flowers that are sharing their scent with us this month, roses and perennial wallflowers.

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“Roses and Perennial Wallflowers invite us to get our noses close to their blooms so that we can enjoy the sweetest of scents. Other plants need us to rub their leaves before they share the secrets of the scent with us.” 

The accompanying pictures show two such plants, salvias and mints.

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The colour yellow can cheer up the garden in the deep dark days of December, so I moved on to see what plants were giving us these golden tints.

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“On gloomy days in December when there is no sign or chance of sunshine, we really are grateful to plants that give us cheerful yellow flower and foliage.”

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Opposite my tour of our garden yellows I make mention of the members of the ?thrush family that share our garden with us in the winter.

“Let me introduce you to our Winter Thrushes, drawn in a stylised fashion.”  I hope you enjoy them.

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We next turn from the colour yellow to bright pinks, Nerines.

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“Nerine bowdenii is the shocking pink of winter. It is difficult looking at these dry bulbs to think that such bright and wonderfully shaped flowers can burst from them.”

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Seed heads are the theme of the page opposite the Nerines.

“Seedheads on perennials and grasses play such an important part in our Winter garden. We have even bought ourselves a trio of seedhead sculptures made from stoneware.”

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So now we turn the page to the very last entry in my 2015 Garden Journal.

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As December slowly comes to an end for 2015, we are already looking ahead. Jude’s little nursery is well-stocked with young plants which we will sell on our open days and to garden clubs who visit Avocet. The greenhouse keeps our tender plants warm and snug. They are patiently awaiting Spring 2016.”

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Young plants that we are growing on for sale at next year’s open days are sheltering in a plastic mini-greenhouse to encourage them to grow strong and healthy ready for next year. They look pretty sad through the winter though as most are herbaceous perennials.

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