Autumn already! The tricorn seedpod of the species peonies, the telltale signs of the fleeting blooms I missed in spring, are turning themselves inside out exposing a deep silvery pink inner lining and startling shiny red and black seeds.
The last of the tribe, emodi, has produced a couple of viable seeds for the first time.
A bunch of large bright pink colchicums have popped up seemingly overnight to remind me that summer is on the way out. I like them well enough but they don’t compare with smaller varieties like the coy debutante Colchicum byzantium whose creamy white petals tipped with soft pink and pretty pink stigma echo the spring display of Tulipa cretica.
Smaller colchicum species are also pushing through, somehow more charming than their large cousins, and the first of the autumn flowering crocus. A solitary Crocus specious suddenly appeared last week and just now the first creamy white Crocus vallicola looking for the sun with its wispy tipped petals.
My favourite small tree, the coral bark maple, continues its year round parade of colour as it moves into the burnished amber stage. From the sunroom window this combines dramatically with the bright pink dahlias that have made themselves at home in the vegetable garden, matching the scarlet runner beans for height. They’re a little too willing so I’m considering replacing them with a creamy white dahlia that is curently sulking under the golden ash.
A rash of rabbits in spring meant no blue campanula latifolia or Kent beauty this season, plus much reduced clumps of penstemon Huskers Red and most upsetting, no Clematis x durandii. I can’t understand why it took me so long to work out who was nipping off the nigellas and munching through the big blousy double white carnations, and possibly other plants that disappeared before I noticed. Unfortunately my fences are far from rabbit proof, and now some other unspeakable varmint is digging, casually tossing galanthus bulbs aside as they squirrel their way down hunting for heaven knows what.
Bees continue to sleep in the roses
and gloriously coloured beetles materialise from nowhere
A surplus miscanthus was successfully rehomed the other day, it is a nice plant but was thugging a beautifully scented rhododendron. Also, rather regretfully I decided to relocate the rather too successful Knautia arvensis (from the fabulous Kedross Plain) to a more challenging life elsewhere in the garden, thus leaving the sunny space originally intended for Iris pallida and its rhizomous friends. Eventually the garden will be shaded over summer by the black mulberry at which time I’ll have to devise a different planting strategy. However right now I have lots of sun loving bulbs to plant
Poa Suggan Buggan and several eucomis are lolling about after heavy rain, the eucomis have always struggled to hold their heads up but were better this summer than previously
Next door the elegant Dierama reynoldsii produced just a few arching stems of its silver and deepest pink flowers
I’ve successfully created a small new garden space measuring roughly a square metre by joining two smaller gardens. Sprayed grass with round up, chopped it over down to the blue metal layer with pick axe, dug through spent potting mix and old horse manure, then buried a range of unnamed scillas and colchicums. I have two largish pink colchicums flowering already, almost instant garden.
The new bulb garden that replaces most of the front lawn/ car parking space is coming on. The soil was a tinder dry fine hard packed silty stuff dotted with large rotting tree roots which was quite hard to break up but now, mixed with the ever useful gravel seramis combination, I’m hoping those bulbs that want great drainage will thrive there on the slight slope in full sun. It’s still in construction mode, with the shape not yet properly defined. Ad hoc rocks sourced from a defunct quarry up the street line the edges and the remaining surrounding scratch patchy lawn pathway needs some tidying up. However it’s packed with crocus, iris and colchicums so I’m hoping for great things
Meanwhile cyclamen graecum has pushed out its first velvet leaves for this season
The vegetable garden mostly grew itself this year, zucchini hastily planted way too late, self sown potatoes hogging the centre, scarlet runners as reliable as ever and forming quite a charming arch across the path when they ran out of vertical support, three Russian kale survivors struggling through a mass of seedling silver beet and chard. I was pleased to find seeds of the zucchini Romanesco, a day after I planted four Lebanese, of course they all insistently produced nothing but male flowers for the first month so the current total is three lovely crunchy zuchinis, sadly I’ll miss the rest of the crop.
Finally lifted the remaining couple of martagon lilies from a bed where they had been languishing for years. And no wonder they had been languishing, they were sitting in solid clag. Its been considerably lightened now with spent potting mix, remaining martagons replanted, a few fritillarias and a line of potted lilliums have joined them.
Just a handful of apples set this year, so despite swearing off ever bothering with netting again, I did wrap the very few bunches of fruit in netting, hoping that the birds would not realise and peck through. Good crop of nashis, too many too small because no thinning was carried out but there were still enough of reasonable size to share, the blackbirds pecked into them early then evidently discovered a treat elsewhere and left them alone. Just noticed the first wasps for the summer, I had been happily thinking it was a remarkably wasp free season. I’ve realised they’re swarming all over the big willows again but can’t see any sign of last year’s aphids, subsequent honey dew and distressing sooty mildew end result…. yet
The last lovely blooms of Jayne Austin
Finally the two thorny arching Rosa moyesii, Fred Streeter and Highdownensis that I planted for the beauty of their hips are actually hanging on to them for the first time this year and they look so beautiful, only hope they repeat the experience next year. Apparently Fred Streeter was originally released as Rosa moyesii Petworth after the garden where it first appeared, I rather prefer ‘Petworth’ with its connection to place.
My little Van Diemon quince has spent the first five years of its life shaping itself into a lovely rounded tree and jettisoning any fruit that set. This year it decided it’s ready to both produce and hang on to a crop and now its branches are proudly festooned wth fat pale yellow/green globes. I dutifully thinned the original number and watched anxiously, now I’m concerned they will be discovered by the sulphur crested cockatoos while I’m away.
The spotted dog happily wallowing in a shallow water hole after a warm ride in the car