Brrrr, it’s definitely got colder – and yesterday we had the first snow on the mountains. Happily it’s not got to me yet, though we were watching snowstorms swirling around Snowdon from the office window at one point. Brr and double brr. But the combination of lots of work (I’m not complaining, note, Freelance Gods, but that’s why I’ve been a Bad Blogger too) and darker evenings is already making a huge difference to what I can do in the garden, and there’s so much to do. Leaves, for one thing.
It’s not surprising, when I have so many trees, that I have a leaf problem. I do enjoy my trees so much and I wouldn’t have it any other way, though I tend to see it differently when I’m up to my arms in blocked gutters and the drain rods have got stuck somewhere under the house. But as soon as the sun comes out I forget all that, and I do think the end of October was marked by some pretty gorgeous colours this year.
The birches have been particularly lovely, even beating the ginkgo (normally my best for autumn colour – once the leaves have fallen off the acer, which they do with depressing speed). The sun really brings them to life, but even without it the palette of colours brings me up short.
This reminds me very much of a painting, but alas I can’t remember exactly which one; I think it was by one of the group of nineteenth-century Russian painters known as the Itinerants. That would fit, given the birch factor… Perhaps Volkov’s October, or something by Levitan? Isn’t it terrible the way things which were once part of your automatic reference system slip away? I guess your hard drive just fills up and there isn’t room for anything which isn’t accessed very often. Where was I?
Oh yes, I love the silvery trunks, the flicker of green and gold, the almost minky brown of the leaf litter. Just as well I didn’t get the rake out, then. Hum – any excuse… bit like trawling through my art books in search of a fugitive reference!
Staying in the top garden, there’s been another four-star act this month: the jasmine hedge. This always makes an impact, but more for its size and cloud pruning than for its flowers. However this year it has gone quietly mad:
I realise this perhaps doesn’t look as good as you might think, given the build up, but it is exceptional – honestly – and it is also phenomenally difficult to photograph. I hadn’t realised how much it changed with the light or how waxy the flowers were until I started trying; another indirect benefit of blogging. It made me really look, and I wouldn’t have done so otherwise.
Away from the rather acidic yellow of the jasmine, the Rosa rugosa hedges are now almost clear. There are very few undamaged hips hanging on this year, possibly a testament to the generally poor year for fruit – the birds have been at it early for want of anything else. And something’s been finishing off any hips which drop to the ground, as well:
Down in the new bed in the bottom garden, there are still some things in flower. Oh, I’ve got a few marigolds hanging on, and the Viburnum has started, but that’s it for elsewhere. In the bottom garden I’ve still got tons of Nicotiana, cosmos and even one achillea. There’s a tiarella which has just started up again,
and a whole rash of hardy geraniums. This has really strengthened my resolve; it’s just what I wanted to achieve when we created the new bed, and it’s spread to other parts of the bottom garden, too. This winter we’re revamping the large bed behind the new one, so hopefully my EOMV for October next year will contain much more floral interest. And maybe more hardy geraniums; I think I’m falling back in love with them:
Work has started on that bed; the overgrown New Zealand hebe is toast (or it will be, once I have a bonfire), and the clethra is coming out next week, once I borrow a mattock. And the Great Hedge of West Wales has finally lost its outrageous Mohican, so I can see the horizon again:
Definitely an improvement. It’s being cut twice next year…