It’s all over now


The final night flowerer attempting to open on a cold October evening, this is as far as Ipomea Bona Nox got, sadly it didn’t have the energy to fully open. It may look a lot like your common or garden pestilential convolvulvus at first glance but isn’t. It’s been in the greenhouse since May, slowly building up its buds but it’s too late in the year now. Perhaps we’ll have a better summer next year.

I’ve had this in flower once but that was indoors. Why grow this convolvulvus a-like you might ask? For its scent! Plus it has seeds the size of a grapefruit pip and when it germinates, satisfyingly large leaves heave up through the soil leaving you in no doubt that it has arrived!

Bravely the Epiphyllum oxypetalum did manage one final night flower  in the unheated greenhouse this week, she’s ready to come into the conservatory for the winter.

The first colchicum are up, a little rain battered but the rain is good as the ground is still so dry in places. This past couple of weeks autumn has really hit, leaves are colouring up and this week I’ve been chasing the light home. The chickens are borderline putting themselves to bed in their day house.

One big frost and…

The last vestiges of summer are clinging on, we’ve had a couple of grass frosts but it only takes one closer to the house to knock out the final dahlias and bedding plants. Perhaps then I’ll feel inclined to start planting the bulbs sitting in a box in the kitchen to keep them away from ratty attentions (I lost over 40 tulip bulbs over two nights last year to rats in the workshop).


This will be another year when Dahlia imperialis fails to flower (to the right of the tree). The cluster of round tubers gets larger and heavier to lift every year once frost cuts the foliage down. Salvia Guanajuato in its autumn second flush (foreground). A slightly cock-eyed bobbly flowerhead of Eryngium pandanifolium Physic Purple is in front of the dahlia and the brown flowerheads of Molinia stage left (this perennial grass will collapse with the first hard frost).


Melon Cantalun from Garden Organic seed in the unheated greenhouse, (complete with slug trail – they keep mining into the peppers, very annoying). The three melons only set about a month ago and are cricket ball sized, I fear they will not ripen despite being planted in May.

saxifraga fortunei

I know it’s October when this saxifrage flowers in the woodbed, I think it’s S fortunei or a selection thereof, possibly Wada’s. Susceptible to Vine Weevils if kept in pots.

And I have fond memories of driving back from Northumberland, the car filled with the marzipan scent of Colletia armata also flowering now. Still only a small shrub at the moment, it was bought from Cally Gardens Nursery on their last day of opening for the year a few years ago. We drove from Wiltshire to Northumberland and next day drove all the way over to Gatehouse of Fleet in Scotland to Cally.

Woe betide you though if you get too close, it’s spiked me in the bum a couple of times when I’ve been weeding – Ow!



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West Dean Gardens – hot house delights

West Dean Gardens GlasshouseI have been to West Dean Gardens in Sussex before but a long while ago and I didn’t remember the glasshouses or cutting garden particularly. This Monday the sun shone, the greenhouses stood to attention, neat and tidy, spic and span. There’s obviously care and pride at work here.

Glasshouses were filled with an abundance of tender bedding plants, the Cuphea ‘Tiny Mice’ in particular absolutely humming with bees. Continue reading

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Not so gladdy


This rogue gladdy appeared in a batch of Mirella

I’ve developed a soft spot for gladioli over the years, both for exuberance and for their later summer flowering, but they can be somewhat trying for a mere amateur! The tawny bed is home to two primulinus hybrids bought years ago from Bob Brown, Hastings and Mrs M Rowley. Hastings, a sandy orange is increasing nicely, Mrs M Rowley is a rich claret but less floriferous. Being primulinus they are small flowered and therefore less vulnerable to wind and rain. They also fit better generally into a ‘soft’ herbaceous planting. Continue reading

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Veddw – a garden of light and shade

Veddw House Garden

Stones record the shifting of names for the place over the centuries.

Yesterday, on a sunny day with a fractious swirling wind we visited Veddw House Garden in Monmouthshire.  We had been meaning to for a while now. I might have been expecting formal herbaceous plantings in amongst the clipped hedge rooms, there weren’t any. I had to adjust my focus to better appreciate this garden.

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Let’s hear it for the humble nasturtium


Nasturtium (Tropeaolum majus) are fabulous fillers this time of year, still looking fresh until the Cabbage White caterpillars do their thing (big round of egg laying going on for the past couple of weeks), and then another flush of leaves and flowers in early autumn. Sadly the butterflies don’t distinguish between the common and my more unusual doubles, Darjeeling Gold and Margaret Long. Continue reading

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A Queen of the Night flowers

Selenicereus - Queen of the NIght cactus

Selenicereus – Queen of the NIght cactus

The bud has been forming for a few months, starting as a small brown furry nub. In the run up to flowering a tiny bead of nectar sat under the tip of the beaky bud. Yesterday at around 5:00pm the first strap of the outer bud loosened and by 10:22pm she was fully open.

Even when the bud was closed yesterday there was a subtle scent, almost primrosy, the fully open flower scent was not as expected but sweet and greeney with a touch of cocoa. Today all is over, a brief burst of glory overnight. Sadly whether pollinated by bats or moths its only companion last night was a stray Green Veined White butterfly. Continue reading

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Lost in the gardens of Heligan

The Jungle at Heligan

We almost (but not quite) had The Lost Gardens of Heligan to ourselves one very rainy early May day. It was my first visit and on such a day the crowds for the most part were either taking shelter in the cafes or jumping into cars and moving on to sunnier places.

Having thought it would be ‘pants’ the jungle was lovely, we only met 3 other people on the walkways,  the misting rain and intimate scale of the planting made it very special. Continue reading

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A blustery summer’s day

Pelargonium Marchioness of Bute

Pelargonium Marchioness of Bute

We’ve had restless blustery winds for 3 or 4 days now, the seeds from the birch trees are still swirling into the house through doorways and windows.

We’re part-way through my pelargonium and fuchsia year (I mainly forswore dahlias this year but loads made it through the winter in the ground anyway!). Both pelargoniums and fuchsias have yet to fully hit their stride. Continue reading

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A gloomy end to June

Philadelphus Casa Azul

Philadelphus Casa Azul

This wet weather is bringing more slugs and snails out, I can’t remember them being so bad last year. Plants are collapsing or disappearing overnight.

Birds stripped every single strawberry, ripe or not within a day, next year I will protect them.

The old roses are balling, what a waste of heavy headed pale pink Juno, Blanche Fleur and Boule de Neige. Continue reading

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Phew it’s all over now

Rose border UK 20 JuneWe opened our garden this weekend as part of Worton and Marston gardens open for Dorothy House Hospice. In all 22 gardens participated. Some visitors split the viewings over two days, for others we were the final sprint at the end of a day’s marathon of viewings. We were the farthest away from the first garden so a bit out on a limb. We saw around 60 people over the weekend and overall more than £1600 was raised for the hospice by the combined gardens visitors. We think most visitors enjoyed something about our garden and it was good to meet and chat with so many keen gardeners. Continue reading

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