Thursday, 23 October 2014

GBFD October 2014 - Autumn Colour

I don't often find the time to post a Foliage Day post but knowing that I had little on midweek this week, I thought I'd join in.  Of course, I hadn't factored in Hurricane Gonzolo!  Had I done so, I'd have taken a few shots at the weekend but me, I'm never that organised.  Granted the wind has calmed down a fair bit today and we have not experienced it quite so bad as it has been elsewhere in the country.  Standing poised, with the camera in hand, waiting for breaks in the wind - anyone watching must have thought I needed my head looked at.

We can always rely on Leucothoe for a bit of Autumn/Winter colour but temperatures have not quite been cold enough to get them going.  Leucothoe are rather unassuming shrubs the whole summer but come winter, they begin to earn their keep.  The are usually more red/purple by this time of the year but me, I'll take any colour I can get as the garden begins to go to sleep.

Leucothoe walteri Royal Ruby
Heuchera Caramel and Marmalade

Leucothoe axillaris Red Lips
The Witch Hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena, to be precise was new to the garden last winter.  Sadly, most of the foliage succumb to the winds this last couple of day and now lie in a rather ugly heap at it's feet.

Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena
All is not lost however, do you see what I see?  My garden is definitely at sixes and sevens!  My previous post was about the snowdrops surfacing, the first signs of flowers on the Witch Hazel are just breaking.  That little ribbon is more threadlike at the moment and I almost missed it.

Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena

There is a stark difference between the 2 climbing Hydrangea.  The one in the sunnier spot is looking decidedly peely wally, yet the one growing in total shade has only just began changing colour. 
Hydrangea petiolaris

The golden foliage of Jasminum Fiona Sunrise was a gift last year from a friend, she hadn't been aware that it was tender when she purchased it.  It came through the mild winter last year but sadly did not produca a single bloom this year. It found a temporary home in front the teeny tiny Acer palmatum dissectum Garnet, which should by now be a fair bit taller than it actually is.  It's been stood on, damaged by cats and had at one point had all but a single stem left due to my clumsy feet.  5 years on and it's still no more that 10 inches high, which is around half the height at which it was bought!  Still, it has guts and is determined to survive.

Jasminum officinale Fiona Sunris and Acer palmatum dissectum Garnet
Children of the eighties will remember the lyrics of Karma Chameleon by Culture Club - personally I wasn't a fan, way too tomboyish for all that make-up!  The tune and words Red, Gold and Green are now stuck in my head.  Don't you just hate those blasted Earworms!  All together now.......
              Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
You come and go
You come and go
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
Red, gold and green
    Red, gold and green

One the top tier at the very back of the garden - difficult as it was to get a decent shot in such windy conditions, I'm pleased how these shrubs are working together to if you stand just at the right angle that is.  They are still rather small in stature and are currently over shadowed by the perennials growing in front of them.

Cotinus, Physocarpus and Acer

A closer look at the Cotinus foliage shows that it is still looking really quite fresh as we veer nearer to November.  It's well sheltered in this corner.

Cotinus coggygria Golden Spirit
I hope you don't mind me continuing with the Cotinus theme - Dusky Maiden has shone all summer long and yet, this late in the year shows little signs of autumn yet.   Meanwhile, Grace, whom I moved round to the front garden earlier in the year is not happy with the windier position out there. 

Cotinus coggygria Dusky Maiden and Heuchera Marmalade

Cotinus coggygria Grace

The red stemmed Cornus is loosing it's foliage at a vast rate of knots in the winds.  The foliage only began turning a few days ago and to be honest, I expected to awake and find it bare, just like the Rowan this morning.  There are a few left to share their colour.

Cornus alba Sibirica
As I wander about the garden, I realise it's not all about the shrubs.  At ground level, some of the perennials are adding their own touch of Autumn.

A new addition to the garden, the autumnal colouring of Epimedium warleyense Ellen Willmott looks great.  I could not resist the colours - I bought 5 plants, 3 are in the ground in the front garden and I've yet to find a spot for the other 2.
Epimedium warleyense Ellen Willmott
The bold foliage of Darmera peltata is beginning to look rather dramatic.  I first came across this plant a few years ago, in flower, I missed the autumn colour last year when it was still quite small but this year, it's made good growth and you'd need to be looking in the other direction to miss it!

Darmera peltata
The distinct lack of slugs and snails in this very dry year has meant that even then Hostas are getting in on the Autumn Act!
Autumnal Hostas
Finally, the different shapes and colours on the autumn flowering Cyclamen are just as interesting now that the flowers are almost gone. 

Cyclamen hederifolium
If like me, you'd like to celebrate the foliage in your garden this autumn, please pop over to Christina's Blog and share with us what's happening in your part of the world.  Everyone's welcome, the more the merrier!  See you over there! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A wee word of warning

When working in the garden this autumn, take care around spots where already established clumps of bulbs are.  It's so easy to get carried away and forget they are there!

Tips sliced of some snowdrops
Had a bit of a close shave with some emerging snowdrops this afternoon.  Luckily I noticed them before I was able to perform a complete slice and dice!

Is it me or are they very early to emerge?  I don't think I've noticed them above soil level quite so early before.  Has anyone else noticed theirs yet?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2014

In some ways mid October has crept up on me but weather wise, it has come with a great big wallop to the back of the head.  It's got remarkably cold this last couple of days and I'd be surprised if we don't get our first frosts quite soon.

Something I rarely do is compare the previous year's bloom day post, purely because I really only have 1 full years worth of posts as a comparison.  I thought the garden was looking so good  this October, I wanted to see just how different things were this time last year.  Lo and behold, things are not that different really.   My mind is obviously playing tricks on me.

The work I've been carrying out in the front garden is almost complete, the new arch was put in on Friday.  I had hoped to get it done a few days before hand but could not coordinate time with my son to hoist it into position.   The planting scheme in the front garden is loosely based, I say loosely, because my plans to have peach and yellow roses accented by the deepest of blue/purple perennial
Liriope muscari Royal Purple
hasn't quite gone to plan.  I have been attempting to source reliably hardy perennials in same shade as Salvia Amistad but they are scarce.  Of course, I set out on my search a bit late in the year.  I've already under planted all the roses with purple crocus, so come springtime I will be on the lookout for more.  In the meantime to fill the gaps, I have used blues, yellows, oranges and reds.  Following advice from a couple of you last bloom day post, I have successfully struck some cuttings and even after just 1 month they appear to be well rooted.  I only need to get them through winter time on the kitchen window sill now.  I live in hope that this sunny spot, between the hedge and fence is protection enough.

Salvia Amistad in October 2014

It's a toss up between the Salvia and Rosa The Lark Ascending as to which is my favourite new addition to the garden this year.  I just love both of them!  This rose is extremely healthy and very sturdy, it holds it's blooms upright remarkably well.  It hasn't stopped blooming since I brought it into the garden back in June.

Rosa The Lark Ascending October 2014
Of all the other Roses, which are I'm sure putting down roots rather that blooming again -  Port Sunlight and Lady of Shalott have lots of buds and the blooms that manage to open are pretty soon spoiled by wind.
Rosa Port Sunlight

Rosa Lady of Shalott

The only other blooms right now in the front garden are the Rudbeckia and Sedum Autumn Charm, charm by name, charm by nature.  This sedum is always the last one to flower in my garden.  I'm suspecting it may be a bit too pink to be out here but I'm letting it have it's moment before I move it round the back.  I spent an age the other day looking for the label for the Euphorbia griffithii Fireglow - no wonder I couldn't find it, it's balancing itself on top of the Sedum, can you see it?  I hate loosing plant labels - I like to keep them all for reference.

Rudbeckia Goldstrum and Sedum Autumn Charm

Wandering through the gate, the side garden has some mixed feelings towards autumn.  The Acer generally doesn't begin to turn bright red until nearer the end of the month and the star Magnolia is as fresh as ever.  The Hostas and deciduous ferns have began their decline, whilst the Primulas are refreshed and perking up now that the air is cool and damp.  I was complaining recently that the couple of Asters I grow were looking awful.  They generally don't do well but I had completely forgot about this one growing round here.  It's looking none too bad.

Under the Asplenium a few Cyclamen hederefolium flowers linger.  I like the leaf on this one, it's silver coloured centre is quite attractive.         

Cyclamen hederefolium
The honeysuckle further down the fence is holding onto a few blooms this late in the year.  It flowered beautifully back in June and has been producing blooms sporadically since then.  I thinned this out quite a bit and in my over zealous pruning, have lost most of the berries.   

Lonicera periclymenum Scentsaction
Round the back of the kitchen extension the secret shady bed is still looking remarkably well.  The Leucothoe have yet to show some Autumn colour but the Heuchera continue to flower this October.  Sadly the variageted Euonymus has almost reverted to pure green foliage.  Getting no direct sun I suspect is the cause. 

Left to Right: Heuchera Crimson Curls, Caramel and Marmalade

The gravel area outside the back door has had a bit of a redesign.  I've extended both the shady and sunny side this summer.  

The revamped shadier bed - a few Honeysuckle flowers on Lonicera periclymenum Sweet Sue at the top of the trellis.  Heuchera and Astrantia blooms are hanging on in their but the star of the show here right now is the Mahonia.  It's flowering earlier this year.  I'm pleased it's now making a sizable plant.  This bed now has better proportions I feel.  I had no real need to buy any new plants, everything growing in this bed before had got a bit cramped and just needed spaced out a bit better.  I did though treat myself to a lovely white flowered Japanese Anemone.  Her name is Andrea Atkinson.  She is full of buds but they refuse to open. 

Mahonia x media Charity

Astrantia Snow Star
The sunnier side is looking rather bereft of blooms at the moment.  I won't feel the benefit of my changes here until early next summer, in the far corner Astrantia Buckland and Sedum are flowering. The Sedum has been taking a bit of a battering.  Not from the weather but from the cats casing the few remaining bees that are around the garden.

Unnamed Sedum, Astrantia Buckland and Euphoria characias White Swan
This blue sage has been flowering all summer.  I almost ripped this plant out in springtime but am kind of glad I kept it now.  The dry year has really suited it.

Salvia x sylvestris Blue Queen
Sedum Gooseberry Fool is a favourite sedum of mine.  It's creamy white flowers have a tinge of bronze.  It flowers later in the year too.  The only down side is that the dying flowers look rather dirty and are not really very attractive.

Sedum telephium maximum Gooseberry Fool

Through to the back garden proper, the climbing rose on the arch has thrown up a few flowers but they look awful, I didn't waste my time taking any shots.  In the far right corner - also in need of extending since most of the plants have outgrown their allotted space.  I'm not sure how much scope for extending there is here but I'm loathe to loose this planting combination.  I had hoped to take Lady Emma Hamilton round to the front of the house but there really is no more room. 

Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton, Sedum Red Globe and Heuchera Palace Purple
in front of
Viburnum tinus Eve Price and Physocarpus opulifolius Burning Embers
Lady Emma just fills the air with her citrus scent - you don't have to get up close to appreciate it, you can sniff her out at one hundred paces!   Her bronzy foliage is just an added bonus.

Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton
Further round in this bed a couple of late flower stems of foxgloves have appeared.  They certainly don't have the stature of earlier blooms but are more than welcome this month.  No signs of autumn on the Enkianthus yet either.

Digitalis x mertonensis
Directly opposite, a clump of Persicaria is refusing to give up this year.  Sunlight squeezing between the houses opposite just catch the foliage at just the right spot.

Persicaria amplexicaulis JS Caliente
The hot sunny bed at the back of the garden, which most of you are familiar with, as it's the subject of my End of Month View.  It's still giving it's all.  Helianthus Lemon Queen stood up to the winds much better than I had anticipated.  A few stems have bent over but I can't be sure it's the wind too blame - it could have been the cats up to mischief!  I haven't the notion to struggle in there and tie them up.  The Persicaria and Helenium have been flowering non stop since the middle of July.  That's not bad going in my opinion.  Any plant that flowers for 3 months just has to be invaluable in the garden.  

Persicaria JS Caliente, Helianthus Lemon Queen, Helenium Moerheim Beauty and Sedum
Verbena bonariensis and Red Admiral butterfly
We are still seeing some Red Admiral butterflies in the garden on sunny days.  They are taking advantage of what blooms are left on the Verbena.

Before I invite you all over to May Dream Gardens to see what's blooming in everyone else's garden this October, I thought I'd share with you some sunflowers standing out against the bright blue sky this afternoon.   Thanks for reading.

Helianthus Lemon Queen
Helianthus Lemon Queen


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Orange Crocus?

I nipped along to the local GC for some bird feed earlier this morning.  I was standing in the queue for the check out, it was surrounded by Christmas Time!  For me it's a bit too early to be thinking of Christmas, I much prefer to focus on Christmas when we reach November.  It seems I wasn't the only one, the couple behind me and the two ladies behind them were commenting on just how early these displays appear.  I know not if it's because the weather is still great and it's way to sunny to contemplate the cold dark days of winter or if these displays are appearing earlier.  I seem to remember that stores used to wait until Halloween was over before tempting us.  Is this just my imagination or are those marketing managers getting earlier?

Amongst the Christmas Cheer, the racks of spring bulbs, stood tall, teasing us all with their wares.  I decided to take my eye off Christmas and distract myself by perusing the bulbs.  I wasn't on the look out for any more bulbs.  In fact, I had just spent a few hours earlier in the week under planting the new roses with a couple of hundred of Crocus bulbs, I had no plans for more bulbs at this precise moment.  My back is still a bit stiff from all that crouching and crawling.

Amongst the selection of Crocus on offer I came across a variety I had never seen before.  Orange Monarch Crocus.  On any of my days out at Early Bulb shows, I had never seen Crocus looking quite so orange.  Deep golden yellow, verging on the orange yes, but orange? No! And it comes complete with it's own purple flame.  It sounds ever so warm and cosy doesn't it?

You know where this is heading don't you?  The novelty alone made these totally irresistible.  Marketing Managers 1 - Angie's Garden 0!  The bee friendly stamp gave my purchase all the justification it needed.  Have I ever seen a bee in my garden at Crocus time?  Certainly not in a regular winter, that's for sure.  Maybe like me, they'll be taken in by the novelty value!  You never know til you've tried, right? 

As you can see from the label, they are described as 'The Only Orange Crocus' complete with capital letters on every word.  What's that all about?  Further investigation on the web, I have found many sites offering these bulbs up for sale.  It seems the name varies depending on which one you visit.  I found it listed a both C. chrysanthus and C. vernus Orange Monarch.  An image search produces colours ranging from orange to yellow.  I wondered if the image been fiddled with - time will tell, won't it?  The fact that this is a relatively new cultivar means there was little information readily available.

Or so I thought.  I came across a thread on the forum of the SRGC, here, where this bulb is the topic of discussion.  A couple of submitters seem to think this is in fact Crocus olivieri balansae Zwanenburg that has been given a fancy new trade name, complete with it's own ® just to make it more appealing and has been about for quite some time, 1983 to be precise.  Just to confuse maters even more, an image search produces what look like, to me, identical looking flowers.  In fact, the same picture seems to do the rounds for both.  I say that as a complete novice and these are just my observations.  

Crocus Orange Monarch is far easier to say than Crocus olivieri balansae subsp. Zwanenburg, providing you even know how to pronounce most of the later, that is.  It's a bit of a mouthful, so I can see why breeders might want to change the name for us common folks!  They are not the first and certainly won't be the last to do such a thing.   
All I need do now is select a nice sunny spot and hope to share them all with you come springtime.  Will there be Orange Monarchs in Scotland?  We shall see.    


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

End of Month View September 2014

End of Month View August 2014
According to the press, we are, here in Edinburgh experiencing one of the driest Septembers on record this year.  I'd pretty much agree with that!

The only thing normal about the weather this week is the wind.  We've had a fair few good drying days - is that a saying those of you from other parts of the country or planet use?  It's regularly used by neighbours here abouts as a way of passing the time of day.    

Helianthus Lemon Queen, must have put on another foot of growth over the past 4 weeks - I just love the size of these beauties and they are doing a far better job of hiding fencing than the shrubs are right now.  The cardoons are long past their best, I read somewhere that the birds should enjoy the seeds from this plant,   I'm not sure how long those bone dry stems will last in this wind, so they'd best get a move on!  It's hard to miss the acid yellow berries on the Pyracantha (P. Golden Charmer) covering the back fence.  Both the Helianthus and Pyracantha really stand out when the sun has gone over the roof tops.

Cardoon seed heads
On a scale of 1 to 10, one being unhappy and 10 being ecstatic, I'd say I am probably around a 7.5 with this new border but putting together this post over the last 9 months will prove useful to me whilst planning what needs doing between now and spring. 
My favourite combo in this bed just has to be the trio of  Persicaria, Sedum and Helenium.  I removed Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky, as I had better use for it elsewhere in the garden.  When I get round to my autumn tidy up, I will move the clump of Crocosmia Lucifer back a bit towards the fence, where it will get even more room and make a sizable clump before too long.  Slap bang in the middle is a lovely grass, Chionochloa rubra (a native of New Zealand), commonly known as red tussock.  It makes a gorgeous mature specimen, as seen in my local nursery, whether or not it survives the winter wet in the ground here, remains to be seen.  I've grown this for 2 years in a container but have chanced it in the ground this year.   I think the pot was holding it back and it's enjoyed getting it's feet in the soil.  Keep your fingers crossed for it please.  

Butterflies and Bees enjoying the late summer sun.  Thankfully there is still plenty on offer for them. 

The little Aster that appeared from beneath the foliage of a geum a wee while back, is just now blooming it's little heart out.  Now why can't the others look this good?  I have these dotted around the garden and all of them are looking, well, rotten really.  That's as good a word to describe them as any I suppose.  This little clump is a remnant returning after the floods of 2012. 

Aster novi-belgii Purple Dome
If we do a 180° turn and look back down towards the house,  the young Rowan is just beginning to look autumnal and I was absolutely fed up looking at the rust ridden Kilmarnock Willow - it's been relegated to the great big garden waste container at the local dump.  The Laburnum I purchased for elsewhere in the garden back in spring has been moved into it's spot.  I am much more happy with this area now.  Those Laurels at the back are going to a neighbour just as soon as we can coordinate removal.   We missed the window of opportunity back in spring, hopefully she can get herself into gear and ready to receive them at some point in the next few weeks.     

Autumn foliage on Sorbus Autumn Spire
My plans over the next few weeks will be to cut back and tidy up what's needed in this area.  Since I haven't done any weeding in and around the plants since back in spring, I have noticed that there are a few clumps of creeping buttercup appearing here and there and the odd marestail popping up.  The buttercup will be easy to eradicate but the marestail no so!

Thanks for reading my End of Month View this September.  Please join me and other garden bloggers over at The Patient Gardeners Weblog who are posting this month.