Sunday, 14 October 2018

THE AUTUMN LEAVES


Drift past my window .... well you know what I mean.

Cosmos continue to flower, the moorhen is back at the pond as is the heron, and I have racked up 56 Bramley Apples wrapped in pages from the I newspaper. 
They are now in the shed in old photographic developing trays. 
Last year we had apples until April. Damaged apples are left to the wasps.

Just when all seems westerlies and rain mum nature sends us Wednesday, 23C and the lawns are mown before the new storm, allium seedlings out and Martagon lily seeds sown. And another huge trug of Bramleys collected.
Started to shift slate clippings myself as unable to find a gardener. The I fell over - the usual backward roll, and when I stood I realised my glasses had come off. Now there was a problem as I could not see where they had gone. So help from old pair of glasses and R and we still could not find them, not in the black currants, in the horseradish nor on the lawn. Finally saw them under the mower under the seat. No idea how they flew there.

So - autumn colours -


Acer

Cherry

Toffee tree

Spirea



Azalea


Etc







Etc



Sumac

Euonymus




Even strawberry leaves and rain on the alchemilla are attractive.








Ash


 Crataegus Orientalis berries



Bramley Apples,
Birch


 And finally the colourless beauty of Honesty seeds. 



Sunday, 7 October 2018

GLOBAL WHATEVERING?


Plants that flower in July are flowering now amongst the beginning of the autumn colour. It can only be due to the early hot summer and drought postponing flowering. Is global whatevering having an effect?

The eucryphia is finally out as is the potentilla - I have seen this out elsewhere too.


As for autumn colour the Acer sango kaku and the euonymus are an eyeful. (Is the Greek language responsible for so many plants having Latin names beginning with eu? Or is this a subtle ploy by the European Union to infiltrate British gardening?)



Wonderful weeds? After the Thornapple, now removed to the weed heap in the far garden, I have been pulling up Ragweed. I suppose it must have come from the bird seed but was several yards away and anyway we only have sunflower seed, never and peanuts not mixed seed.
We have enough with bindweed and gout weed (ground elder)(thank the Romans for that one), couch grass and horsetails.

We have, at last, roses in flower in the new bed. The orange one was given to us by I and L.



Now my pal Mr. Pheas is becoming more tame and, if he sees me topping up the bird feeders, he comes running and stands a couple of yards away in hopeful anticipation.



 On the other hand - "What shall we do for lunch dear? Let's pop down to the garden shed and see if we can chew through the wires of the peanut feeder."


Now to something a bit disturbing - no not Trump, Putin or even Boris - The black bootlaces of Honey Fungus are alive and well in the garden. The toadstools have appeared along a fifteen foot length of hedge under the sallow, around the bottom of the eucalyptus and around one of the lovely white birches.
Now, I know they are edible but I am not very tempted. All we can do is wait and hope the trees are strong enough to withstand the fungus.

Finally autumn is with us. mellow stuff and fruitfulness - and colour so here is a taster for the next blog when I will try and get some more photos of the autumn colours before they get blown away.



Monday, 1 October 2018

IRISH MIST


For some time now all the Bushnell camera has caught are squirrels, rabbits and cats plus the odd bird.
But now a glimpse of a badger then - 


Reynard is hunting in the garden.

So we went to Ireland gathering ideas for the garden - on the way we stopped off at Castle Kennedy for a coffee and a walk in its splendid walled garden and herbaceous borders. Then we walked down to the big pond/lake that needs a bit of dredging.

The red hot pokers (knifofia) were indeed splendid, ours flower in June not September. 

One place we visited was Glenveagh Castle in the wilds of the Donegal Mountains, surrounded by coach loads of Americans.


At the back of the castle was a walled garden with interesting plants. R said take a picture of that, and that, so I did.


In Falcarragh we went to Cluain na dTor Nursery & Gardens, a fascinating place with this display in front of mirror glass. 

Also R was taken by the idea of grasses grown in the lawn instead of the flower beds as we have now.




We have had this one in the garden but it dies. I think it is Anne Folkard. The anapthalis is another she chose which we have had in previous gardens. Obviously some shopping to come. There were a couple of interesting ideas though - Growing marigolds with red cabbage and vegetable with cosmos. as shown here. Companion planting is something we must try.

One thing at Glenveagh that appealed was the lily pond by the lough - it used to be a heated swimming pool - okay but the thought of midges would be a worry.


And then it was good to get home and mow and weed and pick up fallen twigs and cut the banking and find we had yet more marrows on the courgettes and feed the birds and wonder what has happened this years to the seasons with things flowering two months late because of the drought or, in the case of the sweet peas, yet again not flowering at all.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A WINDING DOWN WORLD

I have to own up - just returned from the Emerald Isle. Came home early to avoid crossing St George's Channel as storm Ali arrived.
Went to the Giant's Causeway at 8 a.m. to avoid the coach loads of tourists. Came away a bit underwhelmed. The rocks on Staffa and at Shiskine golf course on Arran more impressive?

The sky is full of rags, rooks fighting the gale. The grass is long and very wet, beetroot are full of holes from munching slugs as are the remaining potatoes. I picked enough damsons to make a litre of damson gin. Did not crush the fruit just pricked them with a silver fork, bunged in the sugar (how much depends on how sweet you want) and gin and put away in a cool dark place (the back porch) for a few months.
One thing I found was that damsons eaten of the tree when ripe are sweet and juicy, not at all bitter like sloes.

The courgettes marrows are doing well but no flowers on the sweet peas, no butternut squashes, ate our first bit of purple sprouting broccoli.



The small wasp Diplolepis rosae lays its eggs in Dog Rose buds and forces them to develop into a large red-tinged moss-like galls from which the young wasps eventually emerge. Known locally as Robin's pincushions.


Having talked of success and failure in the garden I have only to walk up the lane to find fruit everywhere - 

Blackberries or brambles and sloes,



 rose hips and haws










crab apples in the road fallen from a hedge side tree.


 Of course not all the wild fruit are harmless - the gloriously red berries on the right are from the wild honeysuckle and are moderately poisonous. Other bright red berries - colour a warning sign - include Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum} and the various nightshades. (Woody on the left)(Not the Deadly nightshade, that has black berries.)


To move on, a tale of two tree trunks. The one on the left was covered in ivy so I attacked it and thought I had been successful until I saw green shoots emerging.

On the right the rugged bark that can only be an oak. That is what I call texture.

A note about marrow (overgrown courgette (zucchini)) gluts - planted far too many, made gallons of soup with roasted garlic, was disgusting and had to put it down the toilet!
Why do I grow so many? Probably because it is one of the things that grow well and relatively trouble free.

It is cold! Usually we do not get frost yet but just about zero last night.

Finally, as some of you know, I have a habit of coming home from places with a pebble or two in my pocket. Unfortunately these stones were a bit big no matter how deep my pockets.