It's chilly in the mornings and we've been lighting a fire in the evenings of late. The garden is past its peak and it feels autumnal out there. Cutting back has started in earnest.
But....I must ask my friend Frances why she so looks forward to autumn and see if I can feel less melancholy about it.
The sedum, asters, rudbeckias phlox and helianthus are yet to come, and the spotted foliage of pulmonarias, and pretty shawls of alchemilla, both cut back hard a month or so ago, look fresh and attractive. The tiny apples on malus Golden Hornet have still to turn golden.
The show's not quite over yet - till the fat lady sings!
(What does that mean, exactly?)
My pots are not as impressive as Harlow Carr's!
I tried to do them in blues this year.
Successful were the lobelia both dark and light, much underrated plants I think. Also a success though a bit thin and weedy at first, were the annual nemophila - baby blue eyes - the flowers are of such a stunning, almost turquoise blue that they are worth having. Succesful too were the delphiniums but they are fragile and do need staking. I painted the canes with blue paint, but it washed off in the rain!
A failure - the 'Sky Blue' petunias. Firstly they are not sky blue but distinctly lilac and they don't stand up to any rain at all, but worse, they die horribly, leaving a sticky grey mess. I won't use them again.
However I'll consider it a trial run for next year, when I will use all but the petunias again, looking out for better performing ones or using lime green ones for a light touch - all blue can be a bit sombre.
I'll start the nemophila menzii early in the greenhouse, and will add some dwarf cornflowers, find a better paint for the canes for the delphiniums, and blue string to tie them up with....
Gardeners are nothing if not optimists, don't you think?
Pots with panache!
Aren't these magnificent?
The simplicity and the generous proportions are what makes these look so stunning.
They are at Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire - so glad you found them inspirational too Lucy. (see comments 27 August).
The new curator and head gardener there is Elizabeth Balmforth, only 34 years old, and the first woman to head an RHS garden. She trained with the National Trust at Beningbrough Hall (I worked there too, but not at the same time.)
White cosmos and cleome.
It pays to be bold....
Amateur Gardening magazine featured our garden this week - a five page spread!
Andrea Jones, who took the photographs for Scotland's Gardens Scheme and for Coast magazine, and who came second in the International Garden Photographer of the Year for 2011(see 6 May 2011) organised this and although it is a bit early, it's good publicity for the Shore Gardens opening under the SGS - 23rd and 24th June 2012.
Preparation starts now ...
I mentioned in the article that I am looking for a tree with very red apples to plant beside the very red gate. Thank you to Daphne from Buckinghamshire who got in touch to suggest 'Red Devil' which I will plant this autumn.
On my recent trip to York I realised that I got most pleasure from things which were done well. Like noticing someone early in the morning washing and polishing the outside of the jeweller's shop in High Petergate until it sparkled as much as the diamonds in the window, or eating in a simple but spotless cafe, or having tea in Betty's where everything is done to such a high standard, as standard . Having a modest purchase carefully wrapped. Enjoying the beautifully maintained gardens at Harlow Carr.
I've come home with the attitude of giving even the simplest things just a little more effort. This is not to give myself a hard time in a must-try-harder way, but to feel the simple pleasure of a job well done.
I set to in the garden today to finish each job I started, to do it well, and clear up when I had finished.
Strangely satisfying....and very easy really..
Try it today, with just one task. And if you too find it satisfying do it with two tasks tomorrow.
I fell in love. With this hat. Waited (im)patiently, and sure enough they reduced the price, from £45 to £12! Hurrah! I am so often lucky in sales.
The brim was huge, and would have looked fabulous on someone 5 foot 10 inches tall, so I started to unpick it, thinking it would take an age - but it unravelled beautifully and I kept going until I felt the brim was more in proportion to my 5 feet 0 inches - looks like spaghetti!
Am now all set for that wedding....
Oops, sorry, I missed yesterday! Too busy getting ready for another short trip. This year has turned out to be the year of catching up with old friends, and I am so enjoying it...cards and phone calls and e mails are great, but as I've said of music and paintings, there is nothing like the real thing.
I leave you with some more poppies - could one ever tire of such beauty? And a tip for making them last longer in water:-
Burn the ends of the stems with a match as soon as you have picked them. I wonder who thought this up? Notorious for dropping their petals within hours, poppies will last a few days in a vase this way. Until I get back possibly....
I had one of those 'laugh and go' moments (see 12 July 2011) and went with my after dinner coffee down to the shore....
Is it possible do you think?
On April 19 this year I wrote that I sometimes wondered if all this clearing of stuff was, perhaps subconsciously, preparing me to make changes in my life.
Julie Morgenstern in her book Shed Your Stuff and Change Your Life asks quite an interesting question - 'Who are you without your stuff?'
Interestingly by 'stuff' she means not just material goods, but unfinished projects, to-do items, and unfulfilled obligations. By shedding a lot of this, she says, you can gain clarity and energy to move forward to a new place in your life. She describes it as freeing, fuelling and liberating. I'm beginning to feel some of that the more I get rid of things.
And Roy Strong's assertion that you should do something completely new every ten years keeps drifting into mind.
Another photo from yesterday's walk. My first thought was 'How beautiful', followed by 'but not yet!'
I always do want summer to last a bit longer, don't you?
I posted a similar sentiment, and leaf, on 11 August last year ....