Autumn is on the way

The garden is definitely autumnal. Apples are ripening and berries are reddening on the hawthorn. The winged fruits of Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ are still green but in a few weeks will turn a bright rose-pink and open to reveal orange seeds. An old greengage tree is festooned with the fluffy seed-heads of Clematis orientalis ‘Bill Mackenzie’ alongside a fine display of the yellow flowers with their thick “orange-peel” petals.

The dainty pink and white flowers of Cyclamen hederifolium have popped up in unexpected places- the seeds have a starchy coating that changes to sugar attracting ants, which move the seeds around. I am always happy to see the flowers wherever they end up.

Acis autumnalis has reappeared in the gravel bed and to my delight, the clump has enlarged a little. DNA analysis separated the Acis genus from Leucojums in 2004. The delicate nodding white bells on their thin grass-like stalks, no more than 9 inches high, move gently in the breeze.  What a special autumn treat.

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Upper Green- Rain and Wildlife

Finally rain after a very dry spell. I am not a great believer in watering (pots are the exception and I do limit the number). I try to follow Beth Chatto’s advice, applying a thick layer of mulch in the spring when the soil is moist and selecting plants that are appropriate for the site. Established plants with deep roots will survive. Watering only encourages them to root superficially.

The garden is grateful for the good soak ….but so are the slugs and snails. Our toads and newts have work to do.  We found a most impressive grass snake in the compost heap (at least 2  foot long) with a very suggestive bulge half way down its length – I hope it was not an amphibian dinner, I need them in the garden. The grass snake is welcome to mice- we have plenty of those too.

We are going to be visited by two gardening clubs in mid- August. The garden still has a lot of colour, especially the gravel and hot beds, emerging grasses and some fine allium seed heads, but what will it be like in 2 weeks? My fingers are crossed and I am madly dead-heading to prolong flowering. Mr B has cut the hedges (we surprised one blackbird who must be on her third brood) and he has strimmed our little strip of meadow with the yellow rattle. Now we have to trample in the rattle seeds with our cloven hooves..perhaps the visitors can help?