I’m not quite sure about the ‘hooray’, though autumn is a season I like. The hooray isn’t for autumn per se – after all, autumn means chopping logs, mopping condensation from windows, cutting things back and having to take debris to the tip because the brown bin is filled as soon as it’s been emptied. But a couple of years ago I was complaining about the lack of colour in my garden at this time of year, and I set out to change it.
And I’m getting there:
especially in the bottom garden.
This really came home to me today when I wanted to pick a bunch of flowers for a friend’s birthday. There are some Japanese anemones in the top garden (how the heck did that happen?), so I thought I’d start with those, but they’d gone over a bit. So I migrated downwards, certain that the recent temperature shift meant there’d be very little. Yes, it looked OK-ish from the house, but close up?
I needn’t have worried. I can’t get over the cosmos – it is still going strong and, apart from a couple of collapses, is standing proud.
Some are even ‘seashells’, which they are all supposed to be. I’d like more deep crimson ones, but I’m not complaining, just speculating. I’ve got some more seed to add in, so I think I’ll get that scattered soon. Or maybe not – the few that self-seeded last year were a bit scrappy. These were sewn direct in March, and have well outperformed the ones I tended carefully in seed trays, plus I’ve been quite good with the dead-heading. There are still insects on them, making the most of the last flowers. Quite a few cosmos for my bunch of flowers, then. Pink, white and one crimson.
Some of the salvias are having a second flush, so I added some purples and then retrieved a few cerinthes, but they really do need to come out as they are way past their best. The dahlias are still enjoying themselves, but the Bishop of Llandaff clashed horribly with everything else I’d picked, so I cut a couple of Arabian Nights instead. Then I added a rudbeckia,
but just the one as the earwigs / slugs / snails / Next Door’s Cat / dragons have been nibbling lightly on some. I needed more froth and happily some umbellifers have sprung up in my ‘chuck all the leftover seeds in and see what happens’ bed.
These must have been in the tin. They haven’t appeared anywhere else, which they would have done if they’d spread from outside (I’m not a keen weeder), but I certainly don’t recall having anything like them or even owning a wildflower seed mix. Any guesses? It’s late flowering, that I do know. Whatever they are, some made their way into my, er, bouquet as did a few Japanese anemones that were in the middle garden.
I’m not a huge cut-flower fan, I’m afraid: I prefer them growing to sitting in water in the house. But I did enjoy assembling this rather loose collection – very arty it was too, until I tied it together with some kitchen string, put the ends in wet kitchen towel and stuffed them in a plastic bag for transport. But even I knew that some things wouldn’t fit. You can’t add colchicums, and much to my surprise I’ve had a mini river of them at the house edge of the meadow this year. The lavender is really over so it wouldn’t do, but it is still popular with the carder bees so it stays for the moment. Geranium sidoides would have worked colour-wise, but not in any other way:
plus, I love it too much to cut it for the house. Gorgeous colour, delicious velvety texture.
And there’s not much I could have done with mushrooms, which are springing up everywhere.
I’ve got several different varieties, but I’m not confident about identifying any of them. There’s a fungus foray coming up soon, along part of the Mawddach Trail, but it could easily reclocate to the garden. Maybe it’s because we cut the meadow earlier than normal (in which case we’re doing it again); maybe it’s because it’s a very good mushroom year; maybe it’s a combination of the two. I’ve been out repeatedly with my Roger Phillips, I’ve made spore prints, and I’ve still not got a clue what I’ve got. Oh, for the simplicity of a fairy ring…