Monthly Archives: October 2014

Return to the Duver, Wildflower Wednesday – late October 2014


As some of you know, St Helens Duver is owned by the National Trust, and they have recently completed a brush/undergrowth clearing exercise, opening up some lovely new views from the path that descends to the Duver.  Shame that at the same time they haven’t chopped down the trees threatening to obscure our view!

I took these photos during Monday’s beautiful morning as I knew today it would be grim, and sure enough, there are stair rods coming down as I type.


On the Duver there is still an occasional new thrift flower to admire,  but the majority have turned to a sea of papery heads.IMG_5209

There are grass seed heads everywhere.  These ones look like South African restio grasses and are much darker thanIMG_5214

Marram grass (Amophila), here together with the Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaena).IMG_5222

There are still plenty of new  chamomile flowers coming to replace the those already faded.IMG_5212

As well as the occasional new Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)IMG_5230

With many thanks to Gail, who hosts Wildflower Wednesday from Clay and Limestone in Tennessee.

In a vase on Monday – Nose twist


Whilst one of the reasons I grow nasturtiums is to add a peppery twist to a salad, what I didn’t know until today was that, according to the National Gardening Association website, the name literally means ‘Nose twist’.  Any of you who have eaten one of these flowers will immediately recognise the sensation!

Today’s vase is I think the first time this year I’ve picked Nasturtium (N. Black Velvet) for a vase. Bizarrely I think my plants are looking healthier than at any previous time this year, so all of a sudden there are ample blooms to pick.  What is not ample, however, is their stem length, so I’ve resorted to my ‘vase of many bottles’ which I use very often for shorter blooms and used before for my ‘Purple Circle’ post.

In addition to the nasturtiumIMG_5153

I also picked some of my long flowering Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’IMG_5146

and a few of my Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) which are continuing to threaten to take over the garden.IMG_5145

Not exactly refined, but very jolly on the kitchen table.IMG_5156

Please go to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and others have in their vases this Monday.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – October 2014


So many of the plants flowering now have already been featured in previous GBBD, so I thought I’d start with one that hasn’t.  This is Clematis ‘Freckles’, flowering on the pergola together with Rosa St Swithun.  According to it is ‘often out by Christmas and sometimes by November’.  Clearly mine doesn’t have a calendar to hand.

Other non-annuals flowering now include Aster Frikartii MonchIMG_5114

and Aster September Ruby IMG_5119

I’ve still got plenty of roses flowering, although many have been battered by the recent weather. This one was inherited and is, I think, Rosa Flower Carpet Pink.IMG_5111

These next three were also inherited, so I’m not sure of their names.IMG_5113


This last one is a bit of a joke as it is clearly very red when the rest of the garden is pink.  It was accidentally chopped right down to the ground by a builder when we were having a porch extension a couple of years ago.  I decided I wasn’t too upset as it didn’t really go with anything, but clearly, to spite me, it’s bounced back and is better than ever.

I can see it from the kitchen and I grudgingly have to admit that while it doesn’t match anything in the garden, it does go nicely with the Aga!IMG_5112

I love the dusky pink colour of this potentilla – I think it’s Potentilla nepalensis,.  I have a number of these plants in the Mediterranean beds and they’re flowering beautifully now, even though the weather could hardly be described as Mediterranean.IMG_5120

These can’t really be described as blooms, but I just love the flower shapes these succulent leaves make.  These are all still in the garden at the moment but expect they’ll all have to be taken inside by next month.

And a last non-annual – this is Pelargonium sidoides.  I just love the dark, rich colour against a silvery leaf and have even started cutting it for flower arrangements as the flower stems seem to get longer and longer as the season progresses.  I really must get round to taking more cuttings.IMG_5118

And to finish, an avalanche of annuals – all I think featured before, but all still flowering their socks off, bless them!

Zinnia, Giant Dahlia Mixed (the first bloom looking rather strangely glossy in the rain)IMG_5121IMG_5123

and Zinnia EnvyIMG_5124

Two Cleomes, C. Cherry Queen and C. Violet Queen.  The colours are more different than the photo would would suggest.

Marigolds – although some have succumbed to powdery mildew, many are still going strong.IMG_5125

 Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These stopped flowering completely after the summer drought, but are flowering beautifully again now – they seem to be relishing this wet weather.IMG_5117

And to finish, my Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.   I planted around 8-10 plants out back in June, and now have a veritable hedge, 20 ft long and 6 ft high.  Beats Leylandii any day.  IMG_5126

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.


Blown away (again) on the Sussex Prairie


Back in July I visited Sussex Prairie Garden in West Sussex for the first time and was blown away by the scale and vision of a garden only five years old.

In mid September I visited again, but stupidly left my camera at home and so only had my phone to capture my visit.  It has taken some time for me to pluck up courage to download the photos, as I was concerned that they really wouldn’t to justice to such wonderful views and combinations.  However, I’m delighted to say that while the photos may not be great, the planting was so stunning I feel the overall effect has been captured, so I’ve finally got round to sharing them.


As before, the planting is on a massive scale but what’s so impressive is how, despite almost all plants which were flowering in July having now ceased, there are plenty of new flowers to admire – particularly classic prairie plants like rudbeckia, echinacea and of course grasses. Although the grasses were in evidence at my first visit, this time they were so much taller and bolder.




As well as the muted grasses, there was still a lot of colour from helianthusIMG_0276

rudbeckia and golden rod.IMG_0270as well as kniphofiaIMG_0268

and the biggest planting of Ipomoea lobata I’ve ever seen.IMG_0250

I think my favourite plant was this Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ – such a stunning autumnal colour, and gorgeous with the Stipa.

IMG_0260I also loved this shrub which I think is Phytolacca americana or American Pokeweed.  It was a sizeable plant – taller than me!IMG_0264

And, as well as the fabulous planting, like last time, there were some charming sculptures placed around the garden to admire.  I was particularly taken with this charmer, to finish off my post (geddit?)IMG_0279

My over-the-road-oak October 2014


At first glance my over the road oak looks much as last month, but the pile of leaves on the drive tells another story:IMG_5079

Not only are there quite a few brown leaves, but the terrible wind and rain on Monday have brought down quite a lot of green leaves as well as a few smaller twigs.  There’s clearly only one way this is going.

In the meantime the canopy still  looks very full


Although close inspection shows a lot of browning


I was investigating the whole deciduous cycle of trees and came across another new word for me – Abscission, a noun meaning

1.  the separation of leaves, branches, flowers, and bark from plants by the formation of an abscission layer and 
2.  the act of cutting off

As far as trees are concerned, they first withdraw valuable pigments, like chlorophyll, from the leaf, (hence the loss of ‘green’) and then form a thin band of dead cells at the base of the stem, separating the leaf from the stalk. The leaf tissue then dies and drops to the forest floor where it decomposes, any useful nutrients can then be reabsorbed through the roots.

One of the other words I’ve learnt by taking part in this meme, was ‘Mast’, and looking online I found an update in the Guardian about whether this is a Mast year.

And the answer, as I thought in my August post is no.  Whilst 2013 was a mast year, 2014 definitely isn’t.  Think I’d better stock up on some hazelnuts for the red squirrels.

 Photo from the Forestry Commission site –

With thanks as ever to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for hosting this ‘Follow a tree’ meme.