After equinox


It was a lovely morning, the morning of the Equinox. I let the chickens out around 7.00 and took a few photographs to record the turning year. Autumn never used to be a favourite season, but I have warmed to it with the passing years. Since we moved here 3 years ago I have been working to plant a garden with a longer season of interest than the spring garden we bought.

All the work we have done in digging the new perennials border has been with this end in mind. That and creating a border that will be lower maintenance, nominally, when we have finished the initial preparation.
So on Equinox morning the new border looked like this. The new bed on the left is waiting for a final top dressing of organic compost and beyond it the straw bales are killing off the grass in the next area to be cleared. The bales are left over from the midsummer party and have done Stirling service as seating and grass killer! I’m hoping to do a little more planting before it turns too cold, but the majority will happen next spring when I’ve bought more plants and raised more seeds.



Elsewhere in the garden, my collection of Bishop dahlias are still flowering really well and this season we are enjoying a great show from the sedums I planted in the spring. My favourite is the little “Red Cauli” for its beautiful deep colour, but I rather like the dark leaved “Purple Emperor ” and ” Xenor ” as well . Ever reliable, Autumn Joy is in bloom too.


Quite a few of the hardy geraniums are still flowering, but a new star is the geranium-like Erodium manescavii , a storks bill, rather than a cranesbill. I got this at a plant sale in the village and it has been in flower since June and is spreading gently. It grows about 30 cms high with bright pink flowers about 4 cms across. Beautiful.


And speaking of stars, I planted 3 little plants of salvia uliginosa in April and by good fortune or good positional placement, they have grown tall and elegant and produced a mass of gorgeous little sky blue flowers for weeks. I have them planted with Vebena bonariensis and the combination looks great- height without weight. I have taken insurance cuttings, but I hope they will overwinter in the garden with a good mulch. I can see them from the kitchen window waving in the breeze and backlit by the setting sun. It’s hard to believe the whole border was shaded out by a large tree cotoneaster we took out last year.

There are quite a few Michaelmas daisies, asters, symphiotrichum, call them what you will, in bloom too but as we are going to see the collection at Picton Gardens tomorrow, I thought I would save those pictures for after that visit.

fire and frost

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

The glory of September has slipped quietly in the autumnal promise of October, leaving behind the memories of warmth and summer flowers. Last week we enjoyed lunch in the garden in T-shirts and this week it’s time to zip up the fleece. In the cutting border the dahlias are still blazing away although there is an end in sight to the flower buds. The red and orange-flowered Bishop varieties I have grown have been splendid, but next year I want to add to the mix. I like the dark leaved ones very much. Does anyone have any recommendations they grow ,  that I could try next year?


Collage of plants on a frosty, misty morning

Elsewhere in the garden the predominant colour remains purple. It looks good but I’m looking forward to some leaf tints developing to enliven the scheme. Yesterday there was a touch of frost on the grass first thing-not enough to knock the dahlias out- but a sign of things to come. Some of the deciduous azaleas are colouring up nicely , as is a hydrangea I bought as Bluebird, but which has come out pink. I’m not sure if it is the acidity of the soil or the accuracy of the labelling that has caused this.

The beautiful seed head silhouettes of tall perennials I didn’t cut down in the summer-delphiniums, opium poppies and eryngium in particular are becoming very noticeable. The poppies are proving popular with little birds. Small holes have been pecked in the sides of the capsules and the seeds removed. Clever little birds; bluetits, I think. To my eye, the poppies are even better in naked silhouette than they were in flower although they are messy as the leaves die back. They stand up very well without needing support, even to strong winds.


Opium poppy seed heads