Monthly Archives: October 2015

May the Best Team Win!

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What a great six weeks of rugby, it’s been!
Today, it draws to its final.

New Zealand “All Blacks”

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VS

Australia “Wallabies”

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I don’t have any tree ferns (New Zealand’s shirt emblem) to use for my tribute….
….and definitely no wallabies for Australia!
Here’s the next best thing!

And here’s to a great contest! 😀

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Scent in the Garden – October

I’m afraid, there’s  not been much blooming in the garden this month to provide us with perfume.

There’s the last of the lavender.

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These lavenders, “Hidcote”, were planted earlier in the summer, in the sunny front garden. They’re settling in well and flowering nicely already. I love the dark purple flowers. They should be completed well by the paler Perovskia planted behind. The beauty of these two plants, is that they don’t need to flower to provide perfume. Like the lavender, Perovskia, too, has aromatic leaves.

And, of course, flowers don’t have the monopoly on scent. So many plants have scented, aromatic leaves and they provide the backbone to the scented garden. We all know the Mediterranean herbs well – Rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. Every well stocked garden should have these stalwarts, whether as decorative specimens, (just think of purple sage in a border!) or a as a dedicated herb garden. Brushing against the leaves gives a whiff of sunny climes!

At this time, when flowers are becoming more scarce, leaves are there to plug the gap. Apart from the obvious lavenders and herbs already mentioned, we have several other interesting plants who give us scent through their leaves. The Caryopteris, which has just stopped flowering, still has, for the moment, its aromatic foliage. Choisya ternata, Drymis and  Calycarpa are other shrubs that have scented leaves when rubbed. Did you know that, when crushed, Gaultheria procumbens (I know! It too, has had a name change! I think it’s now Pernettyia!) leaves smell of germolene? And that, when wet, the leaves of Rosa rubiginosa, the sweet briar rose, smells of apples?

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Oh, and there’s Cestrum parqui, but that’s not pleasant!

So all is not lost!

Autumn is all about foliage, mainly due to its myriad of colours.

Isn’t this gorgeous?

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This is Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, which have growing in a pot, under planted with the golden grass, Milium effusum, or Bowle’s golden grass, which complements this plants plum coloured foliage. But at this time of year its red leaves become a gorgeous mix of toffee shades. And that’s not all! The fallen leaves smell of candy Floss!

But, it has reached the time of year, where the scented flowering shrubs are heading towards their winter display.

Our wonderful Coronilla “Citrina” has started flowering again.

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I swear it can only have stopped flowering a couple of months ago!

Mahonia japonica’s racemes of lemon, perfumed flowers are just starting to open, and Viburnum farreri has its tiny “cotton wool” balls of pink, flowering too.

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Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!

How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!

And thank you to Wellywoman and Backlane Notebook, for starting this.

Harvest Festival and the Price of Greed.

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Well, that has to be our most productive year yet!

Our fruit cordons, which line a path in the allotment , are now in their fourth year. This is the harvest from the apple and the two pear trees. Not bad, eh?

Apples

Apples “Scrumptious”

The apples describe themselves perfectly. They have to be my perfect apple! Crisp, juicy and SO sweet! Almost like strawberries! And their beautiful dark red colour. They polish up beautifully!

For the pears, we had to consider pollination groups, so we chose two classics that were compatible:-

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– Conference, which keep well and are good for cooking with as well as eating, (perfect for poaching in red wine!) and

-Doyenne du Comice, which supposedly has the best flavour of all. And I just can’t disagree! The buttery flesh just melts in the mouth, and they are so juicy and flavoursome. This year’s crop has excelled itself with so many large fruits. Last year we only had about three or four. They need eating quite quickly, as they don’t have the storing potential of Conference. That’s not difficult though. Tonight they are to be caramelised and served with ice cream, for dessert!

Pears

Pears “Conference” and “Doyenne du Comice”

Even our grape vine, grown mainly for its decorative effect (and wonderful autumn colour) has been bearing fruit, too. Maybe small and “pippy ” but nonetheless, nice to eat.

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However, not everything in the allotment is rosy!

As you can tell from the photo of the pear trees, they have grown too well, and have outgrown their support, resulting in an alarming lean. The apple tree, too, was groaning. The “make-do”  canes were initially fit for the purpose, but no longer seemed strong enough to support them after three years of growth. I made a mental note, to make sure we invested in some proper tree stakes. Alas, too late! A few days later, I was presented with a sad sight! The weight of the fruit, insufficient staking and a bit of blustery weather took its toll. The tree had snapped!

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Nothing could be done!

i just had to remove the fruit from the broken tree,  make sure the tear was cut cleanly and learn my lessons! Correct staking and thinning of the fruit. The latter I knew, but I couldn’t bring myself to discard all those lovely baby pears! The price of greed!

Hopefully, all is not lost. There is still trunk and branches left, so it should grow back – properly supported this time! And the apple tree regained its composure, once its fruit was harvested.

Here’s to next year! Let’s hope I’m more disciplined then!