Friday 25 September 2015

25 Sept : Reflection

After a week of lists, chores and self-imposed deadlines it feels good to get to Friday. I open the kitchen door and feel the early morning sun on my face. The light makes the deep colours of autumn glow and catches the dew on the petals. I need to pause to see these things. I forget that sometimes.

Thursday 24 September 2015

24 Sept : Heather

I have been seized by the overwhelming desire to clear my patio of summer plants. It happens every year and out go the trailing blue Petunia, frilly pink Geraniums, floppy white Nierembergia. I am quite ruthless in my mission to create a clutter free zone. Marie Kondo would bow before me. I only wish that I was as disciplined as this indoors.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

23 Sept : Yellow

I don't like Hypericum 'Hidcote' because it reminds me of supermarket car parks. There is a large bush by the washing line which was here when we bought the house and was probably a bargain from Woolworths. I try to kill it every year by savage pruning but it hangs on grimly, grows back and then flaunts those horrible flowers at me when I hang the washing out. And, as we talking about bad boys, I need to mention Malus 'Golden Hornet' which Prince Charles planted at Highgrove in a crown shape. It has charming spring blossom but the abundance of golden yellow fruits cling to the tree until they are black and withered and then stay there forever - not an attractive look. I am considering a drastic solution involving a tree surgeon and I am sure Prince Charles has come to the same conclusion. Meanwhile the Hosta is fading quietly and politely to a buttercup yellow. I heart that Hosta.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

22 Sept : Wheelbarrow

I must have a new wheelbarrow and so I spend a pleasant hour researching the best deals online. I read all the reviews and note that Pete the Planter says "As low cost garden equipment goes this is the tops." and Babs comments "Perfect for Lady Gardeners."  Now all I have to decide is which colour. Do I model the rustic, green eco look and channel Felicity Kendal? What about silver...a sharp industrial image which will tone with the white flowers but would require me to upgrade my gardening wardrobe. Or there is black which will allow me to express my inner Goth but will clash with my spotty wellingtons. I see with a frisson of alarm that 'people who viewed this item ultimately bought...' a garden incinerator. Why is this? Am I dabbling in things I don't understand? Will I too become a pyromaniac?

Monday 21 September 2015

21 Sept : Passiflora

You will be relieved to hear that I am not going to refer to the episode of rage which occurred when I realised that it was going to rain today. I do not think it is helpful if I reinforce my bad behaviour by discussing it in public. I shall merely note that the weather app on my phone was wrong and that this was extremely inconvenient because my window boxes are due a makeover. Instead I walked into town and tried not to be envious of the impressive display of Passiflora at the end of the road. I was envious so I failed at that too. I am sure that Tuesday will be better.

Sunday 20 September 2015

20 Sept : Resolution

Looking back through my files of photos I discovered these of waterlilies in Kew Gardens taken in 2011. My camera was in constant use in those days and I have a wonderful record to refer to. I don't use my proper camera very much now, partly because phone cameras have improved but also because at some point I lost the habit. I think that I am going to change that.

Saturday 19 September 2015

19 Sept : Orange

So, me and my besties HelenandCarolineandJane went to Oxford for the day. Most of the time we walked around admiring the scenery and keeping our energy levels up by eating cake, none of which is at all interesting to you lovely Gardening People. But I think that you ought to know that we went to the Covered Market and found an impressive display of bulbs for sale at The Garden. I was wringing my hands, quite unable to decide which colour of double anemones to buy and whether to try Ranunculus for the first time when Helen spotted a man who was carefully filling paper bags and writing the details on the bags. This charming man was persuaded to give a masterclass in selecting bulbs for a continuous display from January to June with dynamic colour combinations and interesting contrasts in height and form. It was all very inspirational and Helen decided to go large on a pink theme while Caroline bought a selection of purple tulips. I was rather crushed to hear our mentor say a categoric No to orange Tulips because I have toyed with the idea of a bold statement in orange. I think I need to review this because he obviously knew what he was talking about.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

16 Sept : Bulbs

People, I'm calling it : the Bulb Season is officially open! You may rush to the garden centre and indulge all your secret spring fantasies. Let there be drifts of Daffodils, seas of Crocus, rivers of Tulips. Bring on the Paperwhites and Muscari. If you are dreaming of Allium go large. But please,  if you want to make me happy, step away from the pink Hyacinths. And now, if you will excuse me, I have rather a lot of white Narcissi to plant. Laterz.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

15 Sept : Gorse

It was a hot day and we had driven a long way before we arrived at the Postbridge car park. We did not have time to walk far and there was still a distance to drive but these things were forgotten as we opened the gate and stepped onto the moor. The first sight of golden gorse banked up against blue sky was enough to clear our minds and we set off up the hill. 

Monday 14 September 2015

14 Sept : AWOL

We ate pasties and drank cider, MissM paddled stylishly, MasterM practised handstands, and MrsM didn't think about the garden at all. All very agreeable ways to pass the time in Cornwall in September. 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

8 Sept : Fuchsias

I have a fondness for fuchsias because they are the first flowers that I can remember. The garden where I played as a little girl had a large fuchsia bush, rich red flowers with flouncy purple underskirts, and the buds were quite irresistible making a satisfying pop as they split open. It was probably Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' an old hardy variety which grows in many Cornish gardens but I remember the flowers as much more voluptuous so it might have been another variety such as 'Winston Churchill'. When I first started growing fuchsias I bought the elegant 'Thalia' because my mother grew large standards of that variety in her conservatory and when I got tired of those apricot flowers I chose the white 'Annabel' and loved each frothy meringue bloom. I have never really stopped buying fuchsias for my summer pots but over the years my tastes changed and now I grow the tiny hardy varieties such as the pale pink Fuchsia 'Flashlight' in the photo. My new squeeze is a pure white version of 'Flashlight' which I bought unlabelled at the village plant sale. I don't recall seeing it in Jim's nursery even though he specialises in fuchsias but I think that it is 'Hawkshead' and it looks like the candles that you see on Victorian Christmas trees, catching sunlight in the most enchanting way. The wet summer has been ideal growing conditions and the front gardens on the way to the station are spilling over with fuchsia bushes so I am planning to plant out my white 'Hawkshead' and keep my fingers crossed for a mild winter.

[I realised after posting that I had misspelt 'Fuchsia' as 'Fuschia'. I must have done this all my life because the correct spelling looks completely wrong. How embarrassing.]

Monday 7 September 2015

7 Sept : Changes

I regret to advise that the Bishop of Auckland is no more. In his dotage he became rather scruffy and spilled over in a most inappropriate manner. I think he forgot that if you are going to be on display outside the front door you have to be on your best behaviour at all times. In the end he had to be retired but I kept the last trimmings to catch the morning sun on the garden table. The feckless Bishop has been replaced by pots of white Gaura, clouds of tiny butterfly flowers fluttering against the brickwork, which will last until the frosts. 

Sunday 6 September 2015

6 Sept : Sun-day

The Sedum looking luminous in the lovely afternoon sun. Because it was sunny all day today. And that was because we put our summer garden furniture away for the winter yesterday. This made sunshine today inevitable. So if you had a wonderful day sunbathing, a barbecue in the garden, drank Pimms on your patio or just a lovely picnic you have me to thank for it. You're welcome.

Friday 4 September 2015

4 Sept : Hiatus

I'm having difficulty pressing the Autumn switch in my head. When I do there will be no stopping me - bedding plants will be mercilessly tossed out, the herbaceous border will cut back until it is just a memory and the shed will be tidy. There will be pruning, dividing and mulching. Magic things will happen to the lawn so that it is a source of joy next year instead of something that we avert our eyes from. And there will be bulbs because the plans in my head require narcissi, iris, tulips, allium and anemone. All of these things will happen (except possibly the lawn) but I keep expecting the sun to shine for a day or two, a micro Indian Summer, so I can recline on the garden sofa. I know that this is foolishly optimistic but while I wait I have bought a Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' which will extend my Hydrangea obsession to October. Win!

Tuesday 1 September 2015

1 Sept : Excuses

It is important to have an original excuse lined up for your gardening failures. Every gardener in the world complains about the weather so that's no good. Slugs - such a cliché. Soil pH sounds dubious and fungal diseases are too specific. What I need is an excuse to cover all bases. This is where the Visiting Cat comes to my rescue with a couple of options : she will eat my plants or sleep on them. It's different, it's credible and I have photographic evidence.

Luckily for the Visiting Cat's continued access to my good will and cushions this window box belongs to a neighbour.