Tag Archives: Sedum

Bitter Sweet Beauty

Down in the Woodland, all has been quiet for a few months. The spring bulbs have done their bit, and the early summer flowers are now collapsing and disappearing underground, as they do. But the watering has still been needed, so it hasn’t been forgotten.

And now these little beauties have appeared, almost from nowhere. Cyclamen hederefolium “Album”, shining out amongst the green foliage, under our silver birches. They have, not only pure white flowers, but also beautifully white marbled, dark green foliage. They seem to like it here – the clumps are spreading out and popping up throughout the border.

A beautiful sight! But why bitter sweet?

Because they signal to me the waning of summer and the onset of autumn. The waning of a truly amazing summer, too! It’s been many years since we’ve been able to enjoy a summer like this. Just as well I don’t mind watering! Me and the watering can have enjoyed many relaxing hours together ! We’re bezzy mates!

Now I’m starting to see other signals too!

In the grass garden, our sedum (now Hylotelephium, I believe?) is now showing hints of its future colouring.

Now, I have to keep my eyes peeled for the colchicums’ purple goblets to erupt from nowhere – I hope before the slugsnsnails get there!

Hopefully, nobody will let on to the weather, and we can continue enjoying this glorious weather for a wee while longer. And when all good things come to an end, as indeed they must, we still have much to look forward to and enjoy in our gardens.

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A Bowl of Frosties!

Crocosmia with Miscanthus, Artemisia and Persicaria

Crocosmia with Miscanthus, Artemisia and Persicaria

Boy, is it cold today! Takes us all by surprise! A pleasant one, however, after this wet and weary spell.

Well, my first choice of title, was to be “A Touch of Frost”, but it had already been used. But a touch of frost is what this post is all about.

How wonderful is the first real winter frost! It transforms the garden from a dull, mushy brown to a winter wonderland. It defines all the leaf edges and foliage detail, with crisp whiteness. This is when you pat yourself on the back for including all the grasses, and structural plants.

Deschampsia cespitosa

Deschampsia cespitosa

Miscanthus "Morning Light" with fennel

Miscanthus “Morning Light” with fennel

In the Grass Garden, the silvery Miscanthus grass, “Morning Light”, becomes even more silvery, set against the backdrop of frosted fennel seed heads.

Even the functional Allotment, takes on a picturesque quality.

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The last of the sweet pea flowers twinkle out of its frosted tepee, looking somewhat like an early Christmas tree!

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The wayward stems of the Japanese Wineberry, still with its autumn coloured leaves, are now edged with white.

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And the frost outlines the box balls, accentuating their crisp, structural qualities.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

Elsewhere, in the garden, the frost picks out the scented shrubs, giving the Mahonia japonica, just starting to flower, the appearance of a sparkling star.

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Most of the flowers are now long gone, but the raspberry flower heads of the sedum, looks like fruits that have been dusted with icing sugar.

And talking of raspberry tones….

Cotinus "Grace"

Cotinus “Grace”

….isn’t the last of Grace’s leaves, stunning etched in white?

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Despite the sterling work done this year by our lovely “Annabelle”, she is still looking wonderful in her old age. As the song says “Silver threads among the gold”.

If this is what winter has in store, then bring it on!

The Last of the Summer Wine

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I’m so pleased with our crop of grapes! O.K. – so they’re small, more the size of blackcurrants, really, and all “pip and skin”, but they’re also sweet and delicious. When you consider that the vine, Vitis vinifera “Brant”, was chosen for decorative purposes, to cover the pergola, this is definitely a bonus!

While (sort of) on the subject of wine, my walks around the “Estate”, has revealed a very rosy glow (or should that be, rose?). Now you may be saying to yourselves, “What do you expect? After all it is autumn!” and I agree. This is the time when foliage takes on fiery hues – reds, purples and golds. But these dying embers seem to embrace more than the leaves.

They include flowers,

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– here we have our unknown variety of sedum, their flat, rosy red flower heads, in among the daisy flowers of Aster frikartii “Monch” and Echinacea purpurea –

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– and here we have the rosy red bottle brush spikes of Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail” with their complementary coloured leaves. They have been flaming now since the start of the summer, like a veritable bonfire.

They also include grasses,

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such as the wonderful wine velvet inflorescences of Miscanthus “Ferner Osten”, so beautifully soft and tactile, partnered with the similarly coloured Cotinus “Grace” and its contrasting shaped leaves

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and the grass Imperata rubra now joining in the colour scheme. Note the carefully positioned self-seeded Red Orach!

Even the stems want to join in!

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Our Japanese wine berry is making a bolt for it over the box hedge.

Some plants have it all!

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Red Orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra) is greedy with its deep wine leaves and stems, and matching flowers and seed heads.

But leaves cannot be ignored!

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Our Hydrangea quercifolia is turning a gorgeous, rich wine shade, with tiny flower remnants turning slightly pink.

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Now to turn this theme on its head! Here, the colour change is in reverse. The normal wine colour of Cercidophyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, is starting to change to buttery yellow. Its somewhat rubbery leaves, turn a lovely shade before shedding and emitting a wonderful scent of burnt toffee! (I had to get scent in here somewhere!) The prospect of this was so irresistible, that even though this is a large tree, unsuitable for the average garden, I had to give it a try in a pot. Probably utter folly, but worth a try! This coloured leaved variety is no so tall as the species, so I may stand a chance. Is this my most unusual scented shrub perhaps? The scent being provided by its shed leaves?

And also, looking in from next door, not wanting to miss out are
some beautiful Hydrangea mop heads.

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More “stolen pleasures”!

All we need now, is to bring some of these rich colours indoors, to light up the house.

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