Six on Saturday, 26/09/2020

A Review of the Week in the Garden:

Any hopes or delusions that summer might continue for a while longer, that autumn and winter might be kept at bay just a while more, have been blown away by the chilling breezes of the past two days. Working in short-sleeved shirt in the garden is suddenly no longer comfortable; the evenings are closing in considerably early and the morning dew lasts to lunchtime or even into the early afternoon. Cutting grass is difficult for us at this time of the year. We are anxious to keep it as low as possible so as not to have to face heavy, high grass in spring for, with our mild winters, there will always be some growth right through winter so we keep cutting as late into the year as possible. The ground becomes softer as the year progresses such that we reach a time when the lawnmower begins to cut up the sod and we stop so as to prevent any further damage.

With the drop in temperatures, Mary has brought her collection of succulents in pots into the glasshouse for winter protection. The last of the tomatoes were evicted and the glasshouse given a good clean down in preparation. Phlox and asters are giving their annual display though present conditions indicate that this will be short-lived this year. The earlier Colchicums are now flopping and fading though some later varieties are still coming into flower. Nerines are at their very best, that dazzling pink a defiance to the regularly threateningly dark skies while other varieties of the autumn-flowering snowdrops are opening, perhaps a reassurance as with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Rather than moving into autumn and winter with enthusiasm, engaging with the changes of the season, celebrating the peace and the beauty that come with it and highlighting those aspects of the garden which are at their best at this time of the year, I am going to be a little nostalgic in this review of the week and take a last look at those plants which are fading away now and will soon be consigned to the compost bin. This may be brought on by my marking my 67th birthday yesterday. Perhaps, this passing of time and of the years is striking me forcibly at the moment and I am being a little maudlin! Tomorrow will be another day and we will get on with it!

Penstemons, I feel, are always the bridesmaids and never the bride in the garden. They are never considered more than filler-in plants, something to hide the bare legs of a shrub or to plant between the roses to give a little colour when the roses are out of flower. Nonetheless, they are very attractive plants, easy to grow, easy to propagate and not prone to pests or diseases. Good, easy and reliable plants – but, still the bridesmaids!

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Phlox are often an ignored plant in the garden as they require so little attention; they are easy to grow, perform reliably year after year, are easy to divide and propagate and easy to pass around to friends.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

We have had a love/hate relationship with crocosmias over the years. At one time we had quite large collection, mainly of cultivars of Irish origin, but many proved to be thugs, spreading far to vigorously and becoming a nuisance so we removed them – generally, with difficulty. We now have only a very few, the better behaved ones – ‘Solfatare’ and ‘Severn Sunrise’ being favourites – though, in the last few years we have been tempted to add some more. This, I suppose, is a failure to learn from past lessons and they will probably be taken out at some stage in the near future.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Fuchsias have been garden favourites for many years and are enjoying a resurgence of interest with hardier cultivars being more common and popular of late.

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This is certainly the season for Asters – though they have a different name now which won’t come to me at the moment but, I reckon, I can live without it for the time being at least.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

This spindle, Euonymous planipes, is a perfectly nondescript shrub/small tree for most of the year but it shines in autumn when the seedpods open to reveal the bright orange seeds inside. These hang from the pods and are very attractive. Despite the large number of seed produced I have never noticed seedlings in the area of this plant.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

To read more contributors to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today:  https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/26/six-on-saturday-26-09-2020/ ,scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

24 thoughts on “Six on Saturday, 26/09/2020

    1. We had a few which had really run wild and it was a curse of a job to get them out – layers and layers of bulbs. I’ll keep the new ones under more strict control.

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  1. Autumn is definitely upon us Paddy and I love your selection of plants this week. Asters and the late large Sedums are my stars. The darker Asters are not open yet in my garden but the lighter ones are leading the charge! Also love the fuschias you feature.

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    1. We notice the colour coming into some trees at this stage. It’s a pleasant time of the year especially if there isn’t too much rain.

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  2. Now, for me penstemons are the stars! I love them! I have never grown any phlox but creeping, but I’m going to try my hand growing some from seed, a bright pink one.

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  3. Crocosmia are not only bright splashes of colour in Autumn, they’re also very photogenic plants. Like you, I gave up on them some years ago, but I have a sneaky feeling that they might find their way back. I particularly like your C. ‘Severn Sunrise’

    Shot of the day has to be Euonymous planipes (1) (the second with that ref no. Gorgeous capture!

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  4. lovely pictures Paddy, really great. love the fuchsias, and the asters will always be asters to me. i have a rule that i only accept a botanical name change if it’s easier to say than the old one! happy birthday for the other day.

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    1. Well, Isn’t it a particularly awkward new name. It takes an effort to scan and pronounce it whereas “phlox” hops off the tongue with ease! I’m with “phlox” for the time being, at least.

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  5. Happy Birthday a week or so on! The crocosmia look stunning. I have always had unknown varieties in the garden which spread around and rarely flower so I’ve never paid much attention the them. But the colour feels just right for the time of the year so I may have do some research. Thanks for the inspiration.

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