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?

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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.

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Opium poppy seed heads
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9 thoughts on “fire and frost

    1. I’m pleased to have resurfaced in your reader again! The October garden is looking pretty good after that glorious September. I’m hoping it will die down gracefully and the weather doesn’t destroy it too quickly. It makes the winter seem shorter if the autumn is good.

  1. Your garden is even more lovely now I can picture myself there 🙂

    I love dark leaved dahlias too – ‘Moonfire’ is my favourite and I’m going to try ‘Fascination’ next year.

  2. Judith – How lovely to hear from you ! Thanks so much for visiting me and commenting. I’ve now signed up for your feed and look forward to keeping up with your beautiful posts. Jules

  3. Eek! I seem to have been missing posts from you too! I’m with you on the beauty of poppy seedheads, really beautiful, and if my poppy sowing works there should be plenty more next year. I grew dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford” this year, which I think is beautiful, though rather shorter than the magnificent ‘Llandaff’, a firm favourite of mine.

    1. I love Bishop of Oxford too-in fact all the bishops seem to be quite desirable!
      It seems ages until the poppies will be flowering again but it sounds as if you will have a great display next year. I’m hoping mine will be good too.

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