Saturday, 15 October 2011

Indian Summer

The first of October created a new record here in the UK; the hottest October day since records began: 29.9C at Gravesend and the plants, especially the roses, have responded to this unexpected summer heat.  Alongside this the shrubs and trees have continued to change colour and lose their leaves so everything looks and feels a little bizarre in the garden.

sunny Shropshire!
 I'll start with a couple of photos of a flower carpet rose that's been in the garden for two years.  These roses are fantastic providing lovely flowers from June until the first frosts and sometimes beyond.  They are incredibly healthy and robust and require very little attention other than an annual prune in mid to late spring - I cut them with shears back to six inches (yes, six inches) from the ground, then feed and leave alone for the remainder of the season.  The are relatively low growing, about two feet high, but spread and provide good ground cover.  I have three at the moment: flower carpet pink, white and coral (in photos) and intend to add more of the range over the next few seasons.

Following on from the roses is lavatera. What can I say other than still flowering!

Sedums always bring a burst of colour, and butterflies, to the late summer and autumn borders and this year is no different.  I keep promising that I'll increase my stock of these great plants but never seem to get around to it and they are so easy to propagate from early spring divisions - definitely next year!

sedum telephium autumn joy

sedum erythrostictum frosty morn
And finally for a real bit of autumn colour amongst, what I've just noticed, is a predominantly pink selection.  These are the stunning autumnal leaves of hememelis x intermedia Diane.  This shrub bears tiny flowers in late winter on bare stems and then somewhat ordinary green leaves through the spring and summer but for me it's the autumn colour that wins it its place in our garden - what do you think?

So, another roundup for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day completed.  Why not go over to May Dreams Garden to see some more delightful October gardens.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nice Weather for Ducks (VFTA No 8)

Another day out with my gardening buddy, A...this time to Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire...and the weather was awful; cold, wet and grey!  But we had a really enjoyable day, though I should say that we spent most of our time having morning coffee - whilst waiting for the rain to ease - and eating a late lunch - to warm up after our walk around the gardens.

I did however manage to take a few photos which have turned out better than I expected and even though we're close to the middle of October I think the gardens were well worth the visit.  Due to the weather we didn't wander too far around the park but stuck with the Piet Oudolf prairie plantings on the Eastern Pleasure Ground and the Italian Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, leading down to the lake.

The prairie planting was astonishingly beautiful even though most of the plants were past their prime, the drying flower heads of eupatorium and coneflower combined with the wafting seed heads of the grasses and the mass planting of sedums and asters was a joy to behold even on this greyest of days.  The planting snakes around the pleasure ground with closely cut grass paths between the planting - I'm going to have to go back next year probably at the end of August to see more of the plants in bloom, but I'm glad to have seen this autumnal sight.

The Italian Garden by contrast is very formal, and in its own way lovely, but not so much my cup of tea, though I can appreciate the work that's gone in to creating such a garden.

At the foot of the Italian Garden is the magnificent lake and it is possible to walk around the lake through the woodlands; though we did not take this opportunity on this visit, too cold and wet for us. 

I'm sure we saw only a very small proportion of the gardens and grounds and we will definitely go back for more, but we'll wait until next summer when hopefully we'll be able to spend more time enjoying the outdoors with a picnic.