Six on Saturday

And, just like that, Autumn is upon us! The Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ began her decline at the end of August this year, a full month earlier than usual, so her leaves are already turning crimson as they lose their sugar and end their life cycle for another year.

The Amelanchier lamarckii is also turning from its summer green to that gorgeous, golden honey shade before they too drop and carpet the ground with colour. This is not death but renewal, and both trees will come back bigger and stronger next year.

The previous owners of our bungalow must have planted some Rose of Sharon bushes, Hypericum calycinum, which, despite my best efforts, are still around making a nuisance of themselves 13 years later. I pull them out but they always return. This one escaped my attention by hiding under the beech in the drive border but I must dig it up before those berries fall and cause even more mayhem next year. A real persistent survivor from the 70’s when it was all the rage. Little did they know!

This little patch of Persicaria affinis did not enjoy the full glare of the hot sun in July and sulked for weeks afterwards. Even copious amounts of water did not coax it into flower but now, suddenly in October, it is back again in force! The little pink fluffy bunny tails are enjoying the cooler conditions and the low sun in the lee of the hedge and delighting me every morning as I raise the kitchen blind.

The Chinese Mountain Ash, Sorbus hupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’, is laden with fruit after a barren season last year. It may be a variety that has a rest year, I am not sure. What I do know is that the pesky Wood Pigeons will be on it shortly performing their acrobatics to strip the tree of every last berry. They are quite comical and never seem to break a branch no matter how precarious their endeavours!

This is a bit of a dilemma. The Cosmos which was planted here, which fell over and was removed weeks ago, obviously shed a lot of seed behind my back and has produced dozens of babies. I doubt they will survive the winter but even if I were to dig them up, I have nowhere warm enough to put them. What to do? Leave them and watch them turn to mush and die? Pot them up and leave them in the greenhouse to turn to mush and die?

This was it before it was removed. Too pretty to lose forever. Watch this space!

Have a great weekend


Six on Saturday

Autumn has arrived in style and the Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ is putting on her beautiful display. I always marvel at the way shorter days trigger dormancy and leaves stop making chlorophyll causing them to change colour and fall off the tree.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has been rather shorter in stature this year, only 150cm tall, probably due to the dry summer we have had and the adjacent hedges and trees sucking up the available moisture. They don’t need much water but if dry, they don’t wilt like other plants, they just don’t seem to grow as tall.

The Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ have been extraordinarily good this year and we have taken armfuls of flowers into the house and given bouquets to friends and family, but still they go on! Twisting and pulling rather than cutting does seem to stimulate more and more flowering shoots as the advice suggests. It’s a bit like pulling rhubarb!

We have a squirrel problem. They are always on the bird feeders and are costing me a small fortune in sunflower hearts which, incidentally, have increased in cost by 50% since Brexit! However, the new ‘Squirrel Buster’ feeder really works and the squirrels have given up and gone somewhere else for their daily fill. I would highly recommend it, very well made, sturdy and weatherproof. £30 well invested!

The very last Phlox flowers nestled amongst the agapanthus foliage. It has been a wonderful year for garden phlox and they have given me a lot of pleasure, although I am gradually reducing them or banishing them to less front and facing positions. I love the flowers but hate the foliage and their weedy appearance. Too old fashioned and a tendency to get mildew unless constantly moist makes them a bit-part player nowadays.

In just three years this Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ has gone from a self sown seedling in a 9cm pot to a 3m tall giant! What a performer. It must be its common hedge cousin genes which makes it so prolific. I stupidly planted it close to the driveway so it’s going to need hacking back in the early spring. Knowledgeable gardening friends tell me that ‘coppicing’ produces better foliage but less flowers so maybe a more selective approach is in order!

That’s my six. I look forward to seeing yours.

Have a great weekend