Well, Autumn is truly upon us now with dark afternoons and early sunsets. But the weather during the first half of November was lovely so I'm bringing you a reminder of those halcyon days with a tour of the garden looking at all that we love about this wonderful place.
First on the list is the house itself. Looking beautiful in the afternoon sunshine and complimented by the Rhus typhina, Staghorn sumac, in one of the beds on the front lawn, photo 1. Also, on the front lawn is another bed with plenty of interest, photo 2. At the beginning of the month the Acer was still retaining its leaves and was surrounded by Lunaria annua, Honesty, its flat round silver seed heads catching the sunlight. Also, in this bed is Phlomis, Jerusalem sage. The flowers are gorgeous but I think the flower heads in winter are just as interesting.
As you follow the path towards the pond the Zelkova tree looked stunning in the sunlight and at the beginning of November hadn't started losing its leaves, photo 3.
In the new Bowles Bed to the side of the house is this lovely Colchicum, Dick Trotter, photo 4, courtesy of James. Named after Richard Durrant Trotter (1887-1968) who was a treasurer of the RHS and travelled to the Alps and Greece with Mr Bowles in the 1920s. Mr Bowles often visited his garden in the Leith Vale.
Walking around the pond to the terrace I couldn't resist stopping to take more photos of the Taxodium distichum, or the Swamp Cypress as it's better known, photo 5. Here you can see the younger tree beginning to offer some competition to its neighbour. But the older tree is not ready to give up his crown just yet, photo 6. Further round the pond is the New River Lawn. This was re-seeded several months ago and you can see that it is almost back to its former glory, photo 7. Here amongst the trees is this beautiful specimen, the Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweetgum. It provides stunning autumn colour in the garden, photo 8 and is still looking good today on the last day of autumn, photo 9. As you walk further around the pond you realise that the garden is succumbing to the winter season when you see that the leaves of the Gunnera maticata have been cut down to cover and protect the roots of plants through the colder weather. But this decay doesn't detract from the beauty of the reflections of the house in the water, photo 10.
So where did I go next? Do you know where this tree is? The clue is in the bottom left hand corner where you can just see the produce cart, photo 11 taken on the 2nd. Yes, this is another Liquidambar styraciflua and is in the Kitchen Garden. Seeing it standing there head and shoulders above the rest I thought it deserved its 5 seconds of fame. Photo 12 was taken today, the 30th, and shows that the trees are not protected like they are around the pond and have all lost their leaves now.
Moving onto the Asylum and the very statuesque Monkey Puzzle tree, photo 13. Ben, the latest member of the gardening team, has taken on this area as his project and has painstakingly weeded every inch. We know from experience that some weeds will come back but it is so lovely to see this area coming to life again, photos 14 and 15. Also, here on the sunken lawn is the Ginkgo biloba looking very attractive in its yellow autumn colours, photo 16. You may not be aware that there is another Ginkgo biloba in the garden, photo 17. This one is in the Wisley Corner and is now big enough to be noticed.
Finally, a cheeky little chap feasting on the Yew berries, photo 18. This ring-necked parakeet and his friends are not really welcome in the garden as they tend to strip trees of all the berries and young shoots, in fact anything edible on the tree. But because they look so like a big budgerigar people don't realise what a problem they have become.
I hope you have enjoyed this wander around the garden with me.