First flowers on white Sweet Rocket, Hesparis matronalis alba

Going around the garden today I was struck by how many things I was seeing for the first time. Suddenly, things are happening.010

The first Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ not quite a round ball yet but getting there.014

The first fully formed flower of Aquilegia ‘Mrs Scott-Elliot’002

The first Leopards Bane flower, Doronicum grandiflorum, just beginning to open a month later than normal.021

Always has to be the first, the tallest, the most spreading and the biggest pest in the garden, hardy Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’022

Not impressive yet but the first shoots of Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’ and Lysimachia punctata mingling with Geranium pratense023

The aforementioned Tree Peony flowering for the first time. Don’t know the name, threw the label away 7 years ago!030

The Guelder rose, Viburnum opulus, promising hundreds of creamy white flowers to come followed by bright red fruits which the blackbirds go mad for. Sadly,the dreaded Viburnum beetle larvae usually shreds the foliage into lace doilies by the end of June. As I don’t like using chemicals in the garden due to the potential harm to wildlife and to our dogs, we have decided to live with problems like that and I am growing a Clematis tangutica up through the Viburnum to take over and hide the beetle larvae damage. Should look good if it works.035

This Lilac, almost certainly ‘Madame Lemoine’ is a sucker from a previous tree we removed. I am happy to leave this one and try to contain it’s enthusiasm.039

The first shoots of Hosta ‘Touchstone’ about to be protected with garlic wash before our slimy friends find it.048

Osteospermum ‘Cannington Roy’, reliably hardy here against a west facing wall in gravel starting the show which will literally go on for 6 months non-stop.051

Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw flaunting her pretty underskirt.052

The first dahlia buds!053

The first flowers of Geranium macrorrihzum in the evening sunshine062

The first Gooseberries forming!085

The first flower buds on Clematis viticella ‘Rouge Cardinal’088

Possibly the first ever edible Brown Turkey figs if we get enough sun to ripen them!097

And finally…..the first lovely pure white flowers of Argyranthemum ‘Donnington Hero’, a plant I have just received in the plant exchange from Plant Heritage.

Autumn Colours

The autumn colours of Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

A walk around the garden on this cold and misty morning was a treat and just served to remind me how gardens change and evolve with each season. The immature Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ is still only 2m tall but is already showing it’s well earned reputation for fabulous autumn colour.                                                                               The red tipped foliage of the Photinia fraserii hedge glistens with dew and is quietly beginning to go to sleep for winter.

The young purple beech hedge holding it’s coppery leaves

The young purple beech hedge is gradually knitting together to give us some privacy in the middle garden and I am pleased with it after just three years from 60cm whips, particularly given the awful first two winters it endured. It has had it’s first proper trim this year and I think we will see some real progress next summer now that it has got it’s feet down.

One season’s growth on Cotinus coggrya ‘Royal Purple’ after cutting back hard in Spring

The Cotinus coggrya left from the previous garden in the middle of the lawn had got too big and sprawling and was therefore cut back hard in spring to either rejuvenate it or kill it off! The pruning worked and it responded with bigger and better leaves but on thin wispy branches. It will get the same treatment next year and should be even better for it. It is under-planted with cream tulips, yellow primroses and Geranium sanguineum and looks a treat!

Autumn foliage of Viburnum opulus after the birds had the berries!

Despite being munched by Viburnum beetle earlier in the year which turned a lot of it’s leaves into lace, the guelder rose, Viburnum opulus, has managed to retain some foliage which will gradually turn a beautiful shade of dark pink. The few bright red berries it produced have all gone, snaffled by the blackbirds, pigeons or squirrels!

New flower buds of Peris japonica preparing for the Spring show!

My little Peris japonica in a pot likes it’s position by the front door and is always putting on a show. At the moment it is covered in pink buds which burst into white flowers in spring to welcome visitors to the door. It is a constant talking point.

The emerging fat pink buds of Skimmia japonica, the hips of the dog rose poking through the Pyracantha, the fading flowers of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and the seed heads of Echinacea purpurea are all telling me it’s nearly time for me to stay indoors and start looking through those seed catalogues!