End of the Month View – October 2011


Well, all right, I know; it’s a bit late. But the weather has been – um – interesting and I had to keep dashing out to take pictures when I had the chance. A lot of the time it looked like this:

and when it didn’t look like this, it was raining.

Except for the times when it wasn’t, and then the garden looked gorgeous. Very autumnal, and the impression of the top part being a bit on the bleak side without the long grass and wildflowers of the meadow has been tempered by time. I love the way you can see where the paths run – very handy when I think of adding a few more daffs (no, I’ve not gone mad and ordered even more; I dug some up from elsewhere – they look so much better in the meadow than they do in any of the beds).

But the meadow did gain a new plant during one of the outbreaks of ridiculous wind,  the lesser Crocius rosea:

It’s not mine. I hate crocs, it’s far too small and the colour just does not work.

When the sun does deign to light up the meadow, the birches are looking wonderful. That is, until the next storm – which I think is starting to hit us as I write. Gold against blue is so much more attractive than subdued yellow against very pale grey (yellow against dark grey is interesting too; had a chance to appreciate that as well). Not as spectacular as last year, but many more leaves have suddenly turned.

And as they mature, their bark is more and more lovely. Sigh.

As I stepped back from taking this I almost trod on what have to be the last clump of autumn crocuses. We were a little later than usual cutting the meadow, and I think several suffered because of that; certainly I haven’t had as many as usual.

However, this is a new clump as far as I can recall – surprisingly, for one who counts her daffodils (over 1200 this year), I don’t chart the positions of every crocus bulb. You can take obsession too far.

And anyway, there’s so much more to do… Like doing something about this unsightly little number, the roof of the ty bach, aka garden shed:

I tend to rely on the Old Man’s Beard straggling over from the wildy bit next door, but it hasn’t straggled in the right direction this year; instead we’ve been pulling it out of the apple trees. If you squint you can see the solution…

Plume poppies. I may regret this.

As I wandered round the front of the house to get the PPs from my improvised plant shelter – the lee of the porch – I noticed that my little contorted hazel is particularly fine right now, with a combination of autumn leaves and catkins.

Beautiful – but maybe it needs to be somewhere more sheltered for the winter (and maybe it needs to come out of its pot, too). And then, of course, I had to stand and gawp for a bit, and then wander around and notice other plants that are doing their autumnal thing, and sort out a few pots and find a place to put the bags of compost somewhere dry so they don’t get hideously squishy during the winter. What I should have been doing was dealing with this:

But I console myself with the thought that I shall need a substantial quantity of these chippings when we create the new bed next week. Mind you, I’ve already spread lots; they seem to be regenerating. I take out a couple of trugs’ worth, spread them thickly, come back for more – and you wouldn’t know I’d taken any at all. Most bizarre. (Sinister muffled drum roll…)


18 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m always getting distracted part way through a job, sometimes by another job, usually just by gawping and pondering. Happy new bed building! Hope you get more days gold on blue.

    1. kate says:

      Gawping is good. I find it easier to excuse if I’m also holding a trowel, mind…

  2. hillwards says:

    I love your contorted hazel. We had to leave one behind that we planted in our last garden (mustn’t think about what happened to it when they promptly replaced the garden with gravel, *shudder*). Definitely on the list to acquire another.
    Your meadow looks lovely still, now that perspective has shifted not to expect waves of wildflowers, the paths meander prettily.
    The weather has been glorious when the sun shines, and hideous when the rain is pelting down and the wind howling. It seems to vacillate between one and the other here too. Should have put together my EOMV a day later, the garden looked so different in Tuesday’s sunshine than in Monday’s gloom.

    1. kate says:

      Gravel! Agh!! Your poor hazel – at least that’s one advantage of having it in a pot, I suppose. Not that I intend to move until I have to go and live in a tent on the beach because of the economic situation…

      Isn’t the weather really bizarre? One minute it’s wonderful; the next it’s gone mad. At least I can generally see the insanity approaching over the sea and have time to take cover. Today we had, in quick succession: sun, rain, sun, hail, rain, sun, more hail, bit of sun, dusk – but the sky was purple. Bonkers.

  3. wellywoman says:

    Loved your birch photo. We had a beautiful birch in the garden that had to be chopped down last year. It was the sensible thing to do and has given me the opportunity to grow other plants but I still miss it. It always looked so beautiful in the Autumn light.

    1. kate says:

      How sad! It’s such a shame when you have to take drastic action like that; I had to remove the most beautiful old lilac from my last garden in about 1997, and I still look at photographs and sigh. Missed it badly – the garden wasn’t the same without it…

  4. Christina says:

    I think this time of year is lovely for really LOOKING at the garden; the view isn’t filled with extraneous planting but the bones. When that’s right the garden works all seasons. yours looks lovely. Christina. PS I wish I could send you some of our amazing weather. It’s still lovely and no central heating needed yet – always fatal to say.

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it, though – you can really see the form and the shape of it…. best time to plot new beds, definitely.

      No central heating!!? (Actually, it’s not that bad here in terms of temperature – stoves lit, but not much need for heating too except in the early morning. Soon the temperature will match everything else…)

  5. patientgardener says:

    I do like your mown meadow – I bet the birches look wonderful when the light hit them.

    Thank you for joining in again this month however late

    1. kate says:

      Thanks, and they do indeed – can’t decide whether I like them best right now, or in the spring when the fresh leaves have just unfolded – sigh… gorgeous.

  6. Anna says:

    Enjoyed your EOMV view Kate and better late than never to any party. I live in crocs all summer but that shade of pink on feet should not be allowed. Always good to pause when out in the garden even though you sometimes divert from the original plan. Everything always waits. Your meadow looks glorious.

    1. kate says:

      I think the only excuse for the strident pink (which I try to keep out of my garden as much as possible in plant as well as footwear format) is that they probably belonged to a six year old. Any older and no excuse!

      I’m going to go and tell the meadow it looks good; if it gets some positive reinforcement I may have more autumn crocuses. Well, it’s worth trying…

  7. Dobby says:

    I’m going to invite myself over to view your garden in the flesh. I promise not to wear my crocs!
    I go to stay with my old next door neighbours now and then and my bedroom window overlooks my old garden. The first thing I do when I get there is run upstairs and take a look! So far so good. Or at least it could be worse!

    1. kate says:

      Do – any time; you’re very welcome!

      (I don’t think I want to see my old garden. Bet the new owner’s dogs have dug up all my hardy geraniums and gnawed my lovely cotinus coccygria.)

  8. Your meadow looks a lot better than mine. It had its annual scything but we haven’t cut the grass closer which I usually do so it all looks a bit unkempt. I love your paths!

    1. kate says:

      The paths are a real bonus – such an unexpected advantage! I have to say that our new blitz-the-meadow policy has resulted in it looking better this year than before, though.

      (We did a basic strim this year and then used a heavy-duty mower – less hassle than the strim and rake combo which always made me feel like something out of Tolstoy, raking my hay into heaps and singing ‘yooo heave hoooo’. And the gap between the strim and the mow gave all the grasses and wildflowers time to shed seed, too. Can’t wait to see what it looks like next year, and if there’s any difference…)

  9. Lyn says:

    Love your writing style in this post, Kate! Also love the paths throught the meadow – a real bonus. But of course the Crocius rosea looks all wrong- they should always be planted in pairs. Thanks for a really interesting EOMV.

    1. kate says:

      Thank you – and of course you’re right about the C. rosea, though I have to admit it has now gone. Evidently a very short-lived plant (helped by me heaving it over the wall, I suspect).

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