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My Garden Journal 2019 – September

Into September now so here is a look at my Garden Journal 2019 for that month. I first decided to look at some of the many berries in our patch. We grow dozens of berry-bearing shrubs and trees. I wanted to feature some of our many Hypericum inodorum cultivars with their many different colours of berries.

“September sees the start of the berry season when our berrying trees and shrubs show more colour, from white to black and lemon to deep red. These were all planted to help birds survive, especially members of the thrush family both native and European visitors. Hypericum is the shrub that has the biggest range of coloured berries.”

I selected just 6 to photograph, but we grow a good dozen or so cultivars.

And so onto the next double page spread and garden wildlife takes centre stage, along with some seedheads discovered in our patch in September.

About the wildlife I wrote, “Our garden is always gifting us surprises, and this month our wildlife seems to be at the core of garden surprises. The first unexpected visitor was an unusual Pheasant, a male Black Pheasant, one of a very localised group centred around village of Plealey. This one is coming out of a moult so not as dramatic looking as usual. Much smaller but equally strange are these black and green, beautifully marked larvae. We had never seen them before but these were seen on the beans of our Runner Bean plants. We guessed they were Shield Bug larvae but had to look them up to identify them as Green Shield Bug larvae.”

We also spotted an unidentified fly and a hoverfly.

I then shared a set of my sketches of seedheads found in our garden. I used Japanese Brush Pens to paint the Commelinas and pencil crayons for the poppy seedheads.

Next I shared some of the garden tasks we got up to in September. I wrote, “Here are a few of the garden jobs we have carried out in September. We continued collecting seed, we painted our metal garden furniture and potted up a fern, Osmunda regalis which needs moisture. We planted it in a pot with a reservoir in its base. We even found time to create a new garden feature, a rope swag for roses and clematis. We also put together a selection of plants together on our sales table.”

I then went on to share how we made the rose swag, “The new Rose Swag allowed us to treat ourselves to visiting some nearby nurseries, where we bought roses and clematis and a whole lot more of course. Creating this feature meant banging deeply into the ground tall 3 inch diameter rustic poles eight feet apart and then swagging the rope from one to another. We planted a rose and a clematis up each pole.”

Rosa ‘James Galway’

Clematis ‘Blue Angel’               Rosa ‘Wollerton Old Hall’

Over to the next double page spread and clematis take centre stage. I wrote, “We returned from our nursery visits with more clematis than we needed but soon found homes for them all! If I list the roses and clematis on the swag, I will list them starting on the right end of the border and go left wards.”

Rosa ‘Bobby James’ with Clematis tangutica ‘My Angel’

Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’ with Clematis viticella ‘Queen Mother’

Rosa ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ with Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

Rosa ‘James Galway’ with C. vit. ‘Venosa Violacea’ plus C. ‘Romantika’

Rosa ‘Paul’s Scarlet Climber’ with C. florida ‘Pistachio’

The newest additions to our ever growing Clematis collection. We must try to list all the clematis we have one day and see just how many we grow!

 

From flowering climbers I then moved on to plants specifically grown for their interesting foliage and I wrote, “I have featured Persicaria before and tended to focus on all the different coloured poker flowers of Persicaria amplexicaulis cultivars. So for a change I went out into the garden to photograph those different Persicarias we grow for their foliage.”

Because I am currently writing a new talk for gardeners I decided to feature some of the many plants we grow specially for their interesting foliage. I wrote, “It is easy to comment on flowers and their colours when writing about gardens at the expense of  foliage. Foliage is the unsung hero of our gardens and deserves more recognition. I am going to title my talk ‘Foliage – the unsung hero of our gardens.’ “

The photos below are of a small selection of the many foliage plants we enjoy.

So that is my September journal entries. I shall be back at the end of October.

 

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My Garden Journal – November

The penultimate visit to my garden journal for this year is here already, and I write this as November comes to a close. The strong winds of November howl around the house and roar down our chimneys. The rain has persisted for virtually every day of the month along with the strong winds.

My journal for the dreary month of November began “Our wonderful, heart warming Indian Summer lasts until the very last day of October, so we waited for the first day of November hoping for the continuation of warm, bright days. The eleventh month is usually a time of mists, fog and heavy dews.”

Jenny Joseph wrote of November, “Much of November belies the dread attached to its reputation, the shutting down, the gloom, the fog, the dark wet, the cold and the colds, autumn shrinking into winter.”

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On November 1st we woke to a heavy dew, thick fog and the rest of the day was damp and dreary. The whole first week was the same. Oh dear!

Thank goodness for our garden which on the dreariest of days provided bright, colourful sparks. In every border there is a flower blooming its heart out to please us and of course any brave bees out on the wing in search of pollen and nectar.

All the photos below were taken on the same day in late November.

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I next wrote about a real favourite plant of mine, a shrubby Buddleja rarely grown but oh so beautiful! Buddleja lindleyana.

We grow an unusual Buddleja, which is still flowering this month. Buddleja lindleyana hails from china and boasts beautiful two-tone purple flowers. Racemes arch from the tip of every arching stem. Sadly it is rarely grown. I take cuttings every November to give to friends. They love it too!”

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I enjoyed painting it too!

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I took a couple of photos as well which you may like to see, as they illustrate the colour range found within the flowers.

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On the opposite page from my Buddleja lindleyana painting I have featured another special plant again rarely grown. This one though is a tree, an Acer.

“A young Acer tree is growing in our front garden. At this time of the year its leaves turn into the colours of fire. Its leaf petioles glow red. Acer pectinatum – a very special tree!”

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Turning the journal’s page over we have a mouth watering page about apples! and on the opposite page I look at our Viburnums.

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“By this time of the year we have usually harvested our tree fruit and it is safely in store. This year we are still picking apples, some varieties should have been harvested by early September.” 

I reveled in the chance to get out the watercolours and study two tasty and very colourful apples, Scrumptious and Red Falstaff which grow one either side of the green house door.

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I moved on to consider the Viburnum shrubs putting on performances in our garden this month. “Various Viburnums give Winter interest and start their show now in mid-November. Their show is a profusion of gently coloured flowers, scent and shining red and black berries.”

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More shrubs graced the next few pages too, deciduous Euonymus and a Hydrangea.

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“Our deciduous Euonymus give us so many shades of pink as they metamorphose into their Autumn personas.”

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At the bottom of this page beneath the Euonymus I just found room for a pic of the thistle-like Silybum maritimum.

“The teal-green and silver foliage rosette will give us these colours through the winter. In Spring flowering shoots will creep upwards full of promise.”

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Another all time great of the shrub world is featured on my next page in the journal, A Hydrangea that gives us flowers that change colour, foliage that changes colour and a most unusual shaped leaf for a Hydrangea. It is Hydrangea quercifolia.

I wrote of it, “Hydrangea quercifolia is giving its all in the garden with white flowers turning pink and then finally rust. Autumn turns its leaves from bright apple green through to ruby red.” 

Its name gives a clue to its leaf shape as quercifolia means simply “oak leaved”. Our specimen has an extra attribute in that in Summer on humid days it emits a sweet honeyed scent. As far as I know they are not supposed to be graced with scent of any kind let alone one so special.

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My last double page spread is all about Persicarias, a really useful perennial for any garden with hints of the new perennial movement or a nod towards the Prairie style planting. We love both these styles so we grow several different ones.

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“A plant that gives us great pleasure in the Autumn is the Persicaria. We grow one type for its flowers and seed heads and another for its incredibly coloured and marked foliage. Persicaria amplexicaulis have poker-like flowers in various shades of red, pink and white followed by chocolate coloured seed heads.”

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“Persicaria virginata gives us wonderfully coloured and unusual marked foliage with the addition of tiny white flowers.”

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So that is the November visit to my journal. Next month will see me fill up my lovely little “Moleskine” note book as my December thoughts, photos and paintings bring the journal to an end for 2015.

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Aulden Farm Gardens – Part 2

As promised I am back with more photographs from our visit to the gardens at Aulden Farm in Herefordshire. Firstly I would love to share a gallery of photos of the many pieces of garden sculpture we enjoyed discovering among the plants in this wonderful garden.

This atmospheric garden was full of interesting plants used in original ways, in great combinations, in creative partnerships and set to catch the light. Two families of plants which enjoyed having the sun put them in the spotlight were the Persicarias and the Rudbeckias. I hope you like this photo gallery featuring just them.

We hope to return to this garden, surely one of the most beautiful and atmospheric of any we have visited, in the autumn when the light will be playing on the yellows, russets, reds and browns of that season.