Monday, 15 October 2012

My October garden

Autumn has arrived in London, it is either cold, crisp sunny days or hammering down with rain. The nights are chilly and my garden has started to die down here and there. I can’t really believe it’s only 2 ½ month left of 2012 – we waited so long for the spring that never really arrived, then we waited forever for the summer too and now it’s all over. Well, nothing is really over in my garden, I have plants in flower every month of the year, but the winter is going to feel very long after a spring and summer like we have had this year.

On a distance my garden might look like there isn’t much in flower at the moment, but that’s just because you have to go a bit closer. The flowers on show at the moment are not the showiest but they are all the more precious just because they flower right now when the days are drawing in and a trip out in the garden is a rather nippy experience. The Dregea sinensis on the arch is about to die down due to the cold weather and looks a bit sad, all the leaves have lost their spring and are hanging down rather depressingly. But I am cheering the process on as it also means getting rid of the unbelievably enormous colony of uninvited milkweed aphids which is happily sapping the life out of layers of leaves and multiplying as if it was a contest. I wrote about these yucky creatures last month, if you missed the post YOU CAN FIND IT HERE. 

And now to what’s flowering in my garden. After all it is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, and I have lots of plants in flower, once you get a bit closer. My Hydrangea 'Blue Wave', which incidentally turned out dark pink this year, flowered late due to the late spring, but as all mop-head hydrangeas it keeps its flowers and doesn’t drop off the petals. That is such a nice feature I think, no bending over to pick up petals on the ground – I just leave them on all winter and snip them off when the new buds are forming in early spring. The flowers go off to a delicate porcelain look when they age and I think they look beautiful even at this stage.

Hydrangea 'Blue Wave'

My experiment with Physalis Franchettii, Chinese Lantern almost ended in the compost bin last autumn, as after 2 years without any flowers I nearly gave up the whole thing. Fortunately I decided to give it one more year and lo and behold, it did flower this year. The leaves got badly eaten when I had the caterpillar attach earlier this summer, but it seems like the lanterns were not to the caterpillars taste, thank goodness! This plant is supposed to be a fast grower when it takes off, and a bit invasive, so I intend to give it a large tub next year and not put it in a flower bed. I think it will look great up against the wall in a tub and perhaps give it something to climb on. I am being optimistic now, hoping for a plant at least twice the size next year :-)

Look at those zingy coloured lanterns!


This is how the lanterns develops, slowly turning transparent and eventually revealing the seeds inside. Magical, looks like expensive Christmas decoration :-)


It is sedum time in my garden! This is Sedum erythrosticum 'Frosty Morn'  to the left and Sedum Xenox to the right.


Sedum erythrosticum 'Frosty Morn'.


The last of my Dahlia ‘Sunshine’.


Dahlia 'Striped Vulcan' is still producing new flowers.


I have 3 old primroses in my garden, but have just got 66 new as plug plants which will be planted around the garden soon. Here are two of the old ones.


And this is the third one, my favourite, such a rich red colour.


My cyclamens have emerged again, it is always exciting to see how many I get. I let them self-seed and it can take up to 5 years before they flower. This is a self-seeded one that has flowered for many years already. Always the first to flower every autumn.


Next to the cyclamen is a new addition to my garden, Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple'. She will in a few years become at least 1m tall and fill in the space behind this tree trunk.


Look at the colours of 'Mrs Popple', you’d be forgiven for thinking I had done a bit of Photoshopping here but this is the true colours of her flowers!


Here is another fuchsia flowering its heart out, Fuchsia, 'Sir Matt Busby'.


I got him in a large pot too. These pots are great to use as fillers when other plants or bulbs have died down.


And here are more fuchsias, in the evergreen corner, together with the Rhododendron, Pieris and the Skimmias.


Let me just go a bit closer so you can see the Skimmia japonica 'Rubella', those lovely flower buds are the reason why people buy skimmias, as they stay like this until the spring. The actual flowers are tiny and white and not that interesting, but to have this display of deep red buds for 6 months is quite remarkable.


And now back to the fuchsias, this is Fuchsia 'Annabel’.


More of Fuchsia 'Annabel’.


And this is the ballerina in my garden, Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella', with a deep purple tutu just after opening.


When fully opened, 'Bella Rosella' is more uniform deep pink, and the flowers are as big as the palm of my hand.


Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' is flowering again, I think it is the fourth time this year, must have enjoyed the dismal weather we have had – great someone is!


My begonias have not stopped flowering since they started, well, they are called non-stop after all. They will go on flowering until we get frost and overwinter outside. Next to the begonias is the only rose in flower at the moment.


It is my trusty pot rose from Tesco, amazing how these little indoor pot plants can flourish when planted outside.


Here is a late bloomer, it was buried under the crocosmia all summer, now that it is gone the geranium has finally started flowering.


It is called Geranium 'Scarlet' an apt name for this beauty.


Next to the bed with the geranium are some tubs, one with the only herb that didn’t rot due to all the rain we had – a thyme, one tub with yet another Fuchsia, 'Sir Matt Busby' and the tub in the middle is a lovely plant called Loropetalum chinense.


Loropetalum chinense, better known as 'Fringe Flower' has flowered several times this year and is in bud again. Here is the first flower of the autumn.


My two Parthenocisus henryana Bonsai trees have started to take on autumn colours. Soon they will be completely red and look absolutely gorgeous. Not exactly in flower, but this variety of Virginia Creeper doesn’t produce flowers at all, so I thought I would show it off in its autumn glory instead.


That was a round trip in my October garden, lots of things in flower despite the chilly weather and winter looming around the corner. What do you have in flower right now? The same as me or something completely different? Why don’t you head over to Carol’s place at May Dreams Gardens to see what other gardeners around the world have in flower right now, at this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Until next time, take care.

39 comments:

  1. I love the Chinese Lantern Plant! I agree it looks like a Christmas decoration. I envy all those stunning Fuchsia plants! Do yours survive the winter? I can only grow them as annuals.

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    1. I have both hardy and non-hardy fuchsias, all survive in the ground or in pots outside with no extra protection despite being down to minus 8 celcius the last couple of winters. My oldest fuchsias are 9 years old, bought as 'annuals'. They are tougher than they get credit for :-)

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  2. I am so glad you brought us in a bit closer because there are some true gems left in your garden before the season is over. That Blue Wave hydrangea is spectacular. The color is so bright and beautiful. What is so striking about most of the blooms in your garden is the deep color...absolutely beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, yes the autumn really brings some gems, if one looks close enough :-)

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  3. Wow. Your garden is full of color this month. I'm particularly fond of the Blue Wave Hydrangea- even in pink! The Sedum Frosty Morn is quite spectacular also. I am on the hunt for that one now.

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    1. Frosty Morn is a trooper in my garden, I have had them for years and I always replant the tips I pinch out every spring to give away. If you weren’t so far away I’d be happy to let you come next spring and help yourself to some cuttings :-)

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  4. I love your arch and inviting patio and your hydrangea and sedum are beautiful with lots of color! Lovely structure and color in your garden. Happy GBBD !

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    1. Thank you, and happy GBBD to you too!

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  5. You really do have a lot blooming! I am especially impressed with the Chinese Lantern plant. I saw one recently for sale, and I passed it up. Now I see I made the wrong decision! It's funny how plants always seem to know when we're ready to get rid of them - and they always respond by blooming their hearts out! :)

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    1. I am so happy I didn’t chuck mine! Next year I am hoping for lots more lanterns and hopefully the caterpillars will choose a different garden than mine for their favourite place to hang out...

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  6. Still looking good even this late in the year and after your health problems. I must check out that Loropetalum. It's not one I know and I'm rather intrigued. Love the bonsai Parthenocissus. Mine is a little larger, spreading twenty feet along a wall - but never seems to colour up before dropping its leaves. Too wet down here, possibly.

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    1. I got my Loropetalum as a tiny stick in a pot last spring and I am quite chuffed how much it has grown since it is a slow grower. It can happily grow in a tub for many years but will eventually need to go in the ground.

      The Parthenocissus was just an experiment, to see if I could make a homemade Bonsai. I have two of them and they are 8 years old now! They require very little care so if you want one just take a cutting from your plant and leave it in a small pot. Keep cutting off the long shoots to keep it at bay. I have several posts about my Bonsai Trees if you are interested in having a go.

      The Parthenocissus need some sun to get red leaves in the autumn, too much shade and the leaves stay green until they drop.

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  7. Such wonderful blooms! I do love that hydrangea.

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  8. Fuschia Annabelle and Bella R, very pretty.

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    1. Thank you Karen, and welcome to my blog :-)

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  9. It sounds like you have had a year much like ours here in the PNW in the U.S., a long, cold rainy spring and a summer that took forever to get going. You have some very pretty Fuchsias flowering, one of my favorite flowers. Aren't Loropetalums great! I need to get one, they have such fabulous flowers.

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    1. Statistically we just have to get a brilliant summer next year, right?! My Loropetalum turned out to be a faster grower than I had expected, definitely a gem in my garden :-)

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  10. Ooh... I wish that I could plant some skimmias! To have those pretty dark pink buds for 6 months sounds like a good deal to me. :-) I really love that Scarlet geranium, too, though.

    And you did an awesome job on that bonsai--the shape is great!

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    1. Thanks! Those Bonsais have turned out pretty well, for just being an experiment :-)

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  11. Lovely flowers! I think the lanterns are especially lovely. As for the aphids, I missed that post but I tend to think of them as food for the migrating birds (within reason, of course - sounds like your aphid situation is not within reason- good riddance then).

    Happy bloom day!

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    1. I haven't got any birds in my garden that are interested in aphids, sadly, they would have had a treat this year!

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  12. Hi Helene, still gorgeous colour in your garden when close up. I love the Skimmia most of all. Looks like you may have been given the wrong type of Hydrangea, I am pretty sure Blue Wave is a Lacecap, your one is looking very much like a mophead. I could be wrong but thought you may be interested to check it out.

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    1. Alistair, you have just solved a puzzle for me! I have always wondered why my Blue Wave never turned blue, not in any year. I had to dig out the label for it just now, still got it after 10 years, and lo and behold, on the B&Q label stating Hydrangea 'Blue Wave' there is a photo of a lacecap - a blue lacecap. You are right, mine is definitely a mophead, so what type it actually is might be anybody's guess. It might not even have a name. I guess it is a bit late to make a complaint to B&Q! Thanks for making me aware of this :-)

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    2. Enjoy your Hydrangea its a beauty in any case Helene. Sorry to have taken so long to get back.

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  13. Love the Cylcamen...I really need to ad some next year...and that Skimmia...wow!

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    1. Yes, I love the Skimmia too, it is 8 years old now, a slow grower but now it is massive in size.

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  14. Thanks for this visit to your lovely garden. When I was little and living in the UK the gardens around me were not so interesting at all - it's amazing what you have done. Love all those fuchsias - so vibrant. A haven!

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    1. Thank you! My garden is the most important room in my house, small but perfectly formed ;-)

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  15. Wow, you have loads of things in bloom for this time of year. Amazing how you cram it all in. Hope you can enjoy your garden a bit as it's a nice day. Just cleared up a load of super soggy leaves after all the rain yesterday. Take care.

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    1. Thanks Claire, had a looong day at the hospital yesterday so today I have spent the day on the sofa...had hoped to get out in the garden tomorrow as I have some crocuses to plant, but it seems like we will get rain tomorrow too. Oh, well, there's always another day, take care you too :-)

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  16. I've never seen Virginia creeper as a bonsai before! It's a wild vine here that grows everywhere. Your garden really does bloom all year. I love the buds on the skimmia. I have loropetalum shrubs in my front garden. :o) Gotta love a plant with purple leaves.

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    1. I've never seen Virginia creeper as a Bonsai before either! It was just an experiment, many years ago, and it turned out to be very successful. You wouldn’t think such a large plant would thrive as a Bonsai, but they do, both of them, all I do is giving them water :-)

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  17. Hi Helene
    Wow!! Still so much beauty in your garden! The cyclamen and fuschia amaze me - (cyclamen is an indoor plant here). The colours of the fuschia are outstanding. Thanks for posting.
    Sure hope you are well and doing better after a terribly "eventful" summer :(

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    1. Thanks Astrid, things are going in the right direction here, although slower than I was hoping for. But I have my garden helper coming regularly so that's great.

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  18. hi helene, I love so many of these flowers and have had many in my garden at one stage, but none survived the rigors. The only one left is Loropetalum and that one is fading before my eyes. Yours is making up for the poor performance of mine. I especially ove the Chinese lantern flower and how its veins show. And the hydrangeas.

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    1. Hi, I don't know the Australian climate much, only know it varies a lot and some parts of Australia can grow plants pretty much like here in England and other parts are more like tropical area or even desert area. Perhaps your attempts were just wrong plants for your location? Good you enjoy seeing these plants here on my blog, just as I enjoy seeing photos of outdoor orchids from Australia - something I can just dream about for my London garden :-)

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  19. Your garden is lovely, I admire your landscaping and the arch is gorgeous - looks like it would provide interest even in winter! I hope you don't have a long winter - here in Christchurch we had a wet, grey kind of winter that felt interminable... it started early with snow in June. Now we're into spring, it's been ok (not outstanding) so far, but I'm feeling that upsurge of hope that we Get A Good Summer. It's hard to predict since weather all around the world is so crazy right now. Hope you're having a nice autumn anyway!

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    1. Hi Ruth, the winter has sadly started already here it seems, very early this year, as it was the last two winters. The weather is crazy here too! But my garden has something in bloom every month of the year so I am enjoying going out even if I have to wrap up warm :-)

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