Saturday’s Look Back!

Waterford, south-east Ireland. 31st October 2020

We have moved into shorter-days, gardening-rained-off, quagmire-underfoot, leaf-collecting and heavy-pruning season; days to treasure anything which continues to give colour, anything which chooses to perform at this mucky end of the year.

The ground here has become very soft and, unless we get a few days of good drying, grass-cutting has come to an end or, I suppose I should call it by its seasonal name, leaf-collecting with the lawn-mower has come to an end. Our ride-on mower was returned from a service this morning – the drive belt for the blades had broken last week – and getting it from the gate at the bottom of the garden to the shed at the top was a skidding about affair, doing damage to the grass along the way.

Leaf-collecting is the new gym craze (I have heard nobody else say to date) and I spent two hours today, perfectly warm on a cool day, in my T-shirt as I gathered up the latest fall. One side of the garden, chosen by the prevailing wind, always has a heavier layer of leaves and is the most rewarding side in which to rake leaves. Elsewhere, there is that sense of raking air for so long before a decent pile accumulates, a lot of effort for little return and best tackled with the lawnmower – the push-mower is light enough not to do damage to the turf and gives the gardener a good walk as well as collecting the leaves very efficiently.

Leaf raking in The Lane

Elsewhere, I had several heavy pruning sessions this week. A large branch had split on a Gleditsia and had to be taken down while a number of similarly large branches on a crabapple, Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ and on an Ironwood, Parrotia persica, were threatening our telephone line and had to be taken down, a finicky job so as not to break the cable while pruning to protect it for the future. All jobs were successfully completed, to my great relief.

The Lane with pruned branches from Malus ‘Golden Hornet’.

Another item of news: a garden club, of which I am a member, had its first Zoom meeting during the week. A gardener from Wollerton Garden gave a talk on the use of pots in the garden. Technically, it was a success, all going smoothly with about 50 viewers – which of course is far more as most would have been couples. This method of presentation is the best that can be done. It, of course, lacks the social aspect of these club meetings. This club is in Cork, an hour and a half away from us, and we would regularly travel early to do some shopping, to meet our son for a meal or to include some other activity to “make a day of it” but not this time.

Now, let’s have a look at some things which are attractive at the moment. Parthenocissus henryana, a self-clinging climber covers the back and one side of our garage and it would go much further if I didn’t prune back the long growths which are made each year. At this time of the year it gives a wonderful display of vibrant red. The “henryana” of the name, by the way, is for a Dr. Augustine Henry, an Irish doctor who worked in the Imperial Customs Service in China and he can be credited with bringing the riches of the Chinese flora to the attention of the western world. He sent approximately 15,000 herbarium specimens to Kew Gardens as well as 500 plant specimens, which lead to many famous plant hunters being sent to China in search of plants for our gardens. Later in life he co-authored The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland with Henry Elwes. Click to start a slideshow:

Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ has reached the end of its season and the final few leaves will certainly be gone in the next few days, perhaps by the end of the day, as strong winds are blowing and should strip it bare. The leaf petioles and veins turn a very attractive pink as the leaves age. The first photographs are from earlier in the year, showing foliage and flower in season. Click to begin a slideshow:

Primulas, at this time of the year, fall into the category of the “easily-fooled” for the rain of autumn seems to trick some plants into thinking it is spring and they throw up a few stray flowers. They never flower to the same extent as in spring but it is pleasant and interesting to see a few of them out of season. Click to begin a slideshow and to see the names:

This little maple, an unnamed Acer palmatum cultivar, has coloured so very beautifully over this past week or more. It is growing under a witch-hazel which also colours well and above both, leaning across them is an ironwood, Parrotia persica. Unlike the maple I showed last week, I do prune this one a little as I grow a number of snowdrop varieties underneath it and want to allow access and also be able to see the snowdrops when in flower. Click to start a slideshow:

Gingko ‘Troll’ is a miniature or slow-growing gingko and seems to have grown only very little since planted here a few years ago. I have read that it may reach and height and width of one metre at full size which is very small when one considers that a normal gingko tree can reach thirty metres in height. Over this past week it must have felt like a film star as I have photographed it everyday to catch the changes in colour. Click to start a slideshow:

Finally, the lingerers – and not malingerers!, those plants which have held on to a few stray flowers late into the season. They are on their last legs and will either die off or be cut down and put on the compost bin very soon so it is good to show them before they are gone for the season. Click to start a slideshow; each should have a caption with its name:

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributors to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read

22 thoughts on “Saturday’s Look Back!

    1. Yes, I have the same attitude to the grass cutting. I like to get in a cut as late as possible so as to avoid facing long grass in the spring for it does grow over the winter but the ground is too soft to run the mower. The wind certainly cleared out the place here overnight and added a huge amount of water to the ground. It is lying around the edges of the beds here but will soak away during the day. It’s a day for watching rugby on tv!


  1. I really dislike raking leaves but I think even I would enjoy it in your beautiful garden. So many wonderful trees and bushes offering unrivalled colour – thanks for sharing Paddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy raking leaves, good exercise, gets me outdoors in what could be miserable days sitting inside and the resulting leafmould is the very best of compost, the very best addition to areas with snowdrops which really benefit from it.


  2. Leaf collecting is a sport that I have not yet started this year … The majority of trees still have their leaves here but they start to drop.
    The cornus controversa is one of the future purchasing plans. I love this tree but it must be highlighted and I must find the good sport first. Nice Six

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The leaves of your Parthenocissus henryana are stunning, and they make a perfect frame for your window. Great to see the Cornus throughout the seasons, and that little Gingko can only be described at cute! Thanks for sharing all those lovely photos from your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re the Parthenocissus: Some of the photographs were taken from inside the garage, looking out the window at the back of the leaves. I thought it was a nice effect with the sun shining through them.


  4. Another lovely walk around your garden. I like your little ginkgo tree which has turned a gorgeous buttery yellow. It’s nice to see all those little plants that have been tricked by the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re welcome.Since it’s so mild there, I wondered if you had both kinds growing at the same time. A. nemorosa is definitely a spring plant here, and I won’t see it until April. Four inches of snow has fallen this morning and it’s still coming down. But it will be in the 60s (16C) by the end of the week. You might enjoy Windcliff by Dan Hinkley. His climate is similar to yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, as with you, Anemone nemerosa is a spring plant here and, yes again, Dan Hinkley’s writings are certainly enjoyed here – he spoke here quite a few years ago and I attended.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful, beautiful. I love the white fuschia and I have always had a soft spot for the autumn leaves of the ginko tree – now perhaps I can fit one in to this garden. Many thanks.


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