Sunday, 15 November 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 2015

The winds may have decreased but the rain persists.  It was more of a squelch around the garden than a stroll to get some shots of just what is blooming for this month's Bloom Day Post.

We've been spoiled with far warmer temperatures than we would normally experience here lately but this last couple of days have seen us come back down to earth with a bang!  At the beginning of the week the thermometer was reading an all time November high of 16°C.  That's warmer than some of the days we had back in summer this year.

The November Garden can be rather lean on blooms yet had it not been for the aforementioned storm some of the roses would have been looking particularly good this month.  The blooms that were open are now rather worse for wear.

Rosa Teasing Georgia

Still holding on in there, Rudbeckia summerina Orange.

Rudbeckia summerina Orange

Laden with rain, almost listing from the weight, is the magnificent Salvia Amistad.

Salvia Amistad

Against the fence, the winter Jasmine is now blooming.

Jasminum nudiflorum
Far from perfect Alstroemeria blooms.

Alstroemeria Inca Ice
Some of you may remember I attempted to over winter last year's Fuchsia as dormant specimens in the dark and by all accounts this was a massive fail or was it?  I left the pots to their own devices and for pretty much most of the summer they did nothing - a few weeks ago one of the pots suddenly sprung to life and is now flowering.  Now there's a turn up for the books!

Unknown Fuchsia

  Another Fuchsia, a hardy variety this time, shows few signs of just how late in the year it is.

Fuchsia magellanica Alba

The obligatory Mahonia in bloom.

Mahonia x media Charity

The first Hellebore of the winter also in bloom.  These green blooms eventually fade to a pale lemon.

Helleborus x hybridus Yellow Lady

Lastly, some surprises, we all like surprises do we not?

The most elusive plant in my garden.  Clematis Elsa Spath.  Last seen autumn 2013 but has never bloomed since around 2011.  I was surprised to find a single bloom entwined amongst one of the Clematis montana.

Clematis Elsa Spath

Candelabra Primula and Cowslips - Primula veris
Primula japonica Millers Crimson and Primula veris Sunset Shades 

I wonder, are there any surprises in your garden this November?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Tree Following November 2015 - Sorbus Autumn Spire

Standing erect and almost naked, my wee Rowan tree has every reason to be proud of itself.   

Silhouetted against the gloomy autumn sky. There are no berries left.  Not that there was many to begin with!  I counted a total of 23.

It may be small but it certainly packed a punch!  

At it's peak, the colours were astounding.  Rich shades of red and orange.

They now lie manky brown on the ground below

Lastly, the wider view.

If you are a regular Tree Follower you will know that Lucy is now passing the baton over to Pat at The Squirrel Basket.  Same rules apply and you can join or read November's post here.  Hopefully Lucy's laptop problem are resolved sooner rather than later and I'm sure you'll all want to join me in wishing Pat all the very best at taking over at the helm!  Pop over now to show your support. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

End of Month View October 2015

I made few inroads with the jobs I was planning to do since I my last end of month post but not quite completed all the jobs I had hoped to have done by the end of the month.  DIY
Looking west
End of September 2015
projects, both here and at my brother's house saw my weekends occupied.  It can be tough being the family 'DIY go to gal' at times. Like buses, DIY jobs tend to come all at once!

As you can see there is still a fair bit of colour out in the front garden.  The trees that line the river bank tell their own autumn tale.  I think without seeing these trees you'd be hard pushed to guess we are now in the last throes of the year.  Thankfully the lawn has needed no mowing since my last post.

Looking west
End of October 2015

I have removed and binned the annuals.  I had originally toyed with the idea of attempting to bring Begonia Burning Embers through winter but the fact that the plugs were quite cheap last spring means it is probably not worth the time and effort involved.  The two roses I needed to move have been cut back by half and moved into better positions.  It broke my heart to cut of all those buds and blooms from R. The Lark Ascending but needs must and all that.  R. Lady Emma Hamilton has many buds lower down on the bush which might yet open and  two out of the three Salvia Amistad needed removing in order to do this.  This corner now feels much more balanced and each rose didn't even flinch!  Salvia cuttings have been taken and are now rooting away nicely on the kitchen windowsill.   I went a tad over the score last year by successfully striking no less than 18 cuttings and had a job finding homes for those I didn't want.  I've been a bit more cautious this year and have taken 6.  I had no idea just how readily they root.  Not having a greenhouse, I toil for valuable windowsill space in winter, the other reason I did not bother with the Begonia cuttings. 

The view toward the street shows the gaps left by the removal of the annuals and Dahlias.  I lifted the Cosmos atrosanguineus Chocamocha plants shortly after taking these pictures.  I will go into more detail at the end of my post on my plans for these expensive plants.  At a tenner a pop I can't afford to throw money like that away each year.  Cotinus Grace, in the foreground, now in full autumn mode.  Along the fence line, I have added some tall species lilies.  Lilium leichtlinii, which I bought last spring and never did get round to getting them in the ground.  They did beautifully in their pot though.  I picked up a couple of packs of martagon Lilies, L. martagon Arabian Nights, the other week in the GC.  I would have bought more but these two packs were the last on shelf.  I think their colours should blend right in.  They look rather impressive don't you think?

This is how the garden looks as you walk in the gate.   You can see some of the plants are just not  giving up yet.  There is plenty still on offer for any pollinators that are still visiting the garden.  The plants I added last month,  the Erysimum cuttings and silver edged Lady's Mantle have settled in and are now putting on quite a bit of growth.  Rosa Lady of Shallot will also receive a prune back to prevent wind rock.  This edge takes a mean battering from the winds.  The impressive foliage is that off Erysimum Fragrant Star.  Variegated green with cream edging it has done a grand job whether in bloom or not.

I mentioned last month of my intent to mulch the roses this winter.  My friend swears by giving her roses a good dollop at this time of the year.  I got round to buying the manure but haven't quite got round to spreading it yet.  The roses I have moved have been done and the climbing R. Teasing Georgia by the arch is also done but the remainder have yet to have their share.   They will be done this week come hell or high water.

A couple of you asked me last month on how I intend to keep the Cosmos for winter.  I should have pointed out that this will be the first time I've attempted this, so very much at the experimental stage.  Unlike the annual Cosmos many of us grow,  Cosmos atrosanguineus Chocamocha is in fact a tuberous perennial that in order to keep them for next year will require them to be kept frost free during winter.  I have scoured the web for advice and the first stage is to lift the whole plant, cut back growing stems to a couple of inches and allow the tubers/roots to dry out for a few days in the shed.  The plants lifted very easily and I shook off as much excess soil/compost as I could. Once dried it will, I imagine, be easier to clean of the remaining soil.  To me they look like a mass of roots rather than tubers, or tubers than I am more familiar with that is.   Once dried out I will pot them on into a trough I have with some fresh, dry compost.  I will overwinter them in the cupboard under the stair.  The idea, I am assuming is to treat them pretty much like Begonia or Dahlia tubers.  We shall see.  I am also reading that they can take an age to come back into growth and that I must not be too hasty to discard them next year.  

Thanks for reading and please join me and other garden bloggers over at The Patient Gardener's blog for a nosy around other folks gardens.  Have a good week.

Rosa Port Sunlight