I really, really enjoyed looking around the garden in anticipation of this new(ish) meme, started by Christina of Creating my own Garden of the Hesperides. It is embarrassing, but I don’t spend as much time appreciating the foliage in my garden as I should. Having said that, it’s impossible to overlook at this time of year…
The birches are turning well now, but when I was looking back at last year’s photographs I was intrigued to see how different they were at exactly this time. In 2010 they were completely golden, and most of the leaves were still attached. This year, many leaves are still green and quite a lot have already blown off. They are still gorgeous,
but there is something particularly wonderful about a birch which has turned completely golden, shining against a bright blue autumn sky. Hmm.
The same applies to the rose hedges. Last year: uniformly golden, most leaves firmly attached; this year: almost bald, but what leaves remain are glorious. I think they are better – the remaining green is a good foil for the yellows, and there seems to be more variation in the colours of the leaves which have turned.
Everything has been blown about in the strong winds which have been such a marked feature of life here this year. They never really stopped – I was complaining about wind in May, June, August – I think July may have been relatively calm, or maybe I just decided there was no point whining – September and October, and I daresay I’ll go on complaining now we’re into what is always a blustery time. But there’s an upside to the gales, especially with the birches – how beautiful they are in movement. Providing they don’t actually snap, that is.
The ginkgo still has a few leaves, and lovely they are:
but it won’t be long now before they’ve all fallen. Every year it lights up the bottom garden – I’m so glad we managed to fit it in the transit van when I moved. It loves it here.
My small blueberry has had a good year too, though I didn’t manage to beat the birds to the fruit. By way of compensation, the autumn colour is good.
(The old stone sink in the background sits over the inspection trap for a pipe run; it was full of sedums and weeds – ahem, weeds and sedums – but I emptied it out, sealed up the plug hole and filled it with stones and water; birds love it. Never needed the inspection trap. Er – yet.)
And then there are some things that don’t change colour. The Arum italicum leaves have suddenly appeared. One minute there’s bare earth; the next minute, this:
and don’t they look lovely with a few additional rain drops?
So does the Melianthus major which I bought from Karen at The Artist’s Garden, mine having given up the ghost in the winter, or so I thought.
I did get two tiny shoots reappearing and, boy, are they going to be well protected this year. But I have my lovely back-up, which – having been grown from seed – is spending its first winter in my greenhouse. Soon. At present it lives in the shelter of my porch – even stronger winds are forecast for tonight, but it’s mild.
Some of my hardy geraniums have lovely autumn foliage, but it’s over for the most part. However one G. mac. album always does particularly well; it’s growing out of the front steps and gets as much sun as anything in the garden. Whether it’s that or the poor soil, I don’t know.
Another little anonymous one – actually, not that little, and it seems to be spreading which I shall encourage – has particularly lovely leaves.
And I’ve lost its label and for once didn’t record what I bought. Any guesses? (I’ve only just noticed the movement blurring the leaves at the edge – thought I was sheltering the little darling while I took its portrait. Evidently not!)
As a finale, here’s something I do know. My clethras are fabulous this year. Not so good last year – swings and roundabouts…
And guess what? It’s just started blowing a gale again, and the poor birches are lashing around. Maybe I should consider something good and fast-growing as an additional windbreak, perhaps replace the Rosa rugosa hedges with Leylandii? OK, not serious – though sometimes I do wonder…
And thanks to Christina – this is a really useful exercise which made me look at the garden differently!