Jo's October News and Views
The weather has been quite mixed and it was easy to get caught out by a sharp shower. I think it became a case of looking out of the window to see what was happening rather than rely on the weather forecast. But there were a few beautiful days in amongst all that rain and the beauty of all the autumn colour shone through in the garden.
This is summed up in my first photo. The car park, which is still empty most of the time, is a wonderful mix of colours, green, yellow, bronze and red, photo 1 and the blue sky was just an added bonus.
The Cedar on the front lawn provides a lovely veil for the house, photo 2. The rich red of the acer and the Virginia creeper providing another showcase for the house, photo 3.
On the Pond Terrace the bright and colourful pansies are cheering everyone up, photo 4. From the other side of the pond, it is the Cortaderia selloana, known as pampas grass and the Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood, the Ash 'Raywood', that light up the view, photo 5. The ash tree looks as though it is on fire, photo 6. Opposite the Pond Terrace is the Taxodium distichum, the Swamp cypress. Still completely green on 7th October, photo 7 but turning into it's autumn bronze colour by 23rd October, photo 8. Nearby, was this lovely patch of Sternbergia lutea, photo 9. Such a welcome sight through the autumn.
Walking along the New River Lawn to the Tulip Terrace I was pleased to see the dahlias were still going strong, photo 10. Lighting up in the sunshine the mix of colours was an absolute delight. Also, here is the Zelkova serrata which has amazing colour this year, photo 11. I was surprised to learn that this tree is regularly used in bonsai. Hard to imagine this specimen as a perfectly formed 6 inch high tree in a pot!
Moving into the area behind this tree I walked around the Wild Garden. This is where you find the beautiful Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki', photo 12 and 13. Seen here basking in the autumn sunshine.
My next stop was the Kitchen Garden. This has been so productive this year and continues to give, photo 14. Although most of the annuals and cut flowers were over, there was still a surprise in store for me. The colour of the aconitum, commonly known as Monkshood, was just amazing, photo 15 and lit up the whole area. In front of the Peach House the first of the autumn flowering snowdrops were nodding in the breeze. This is Galanthus 'Barnes', photo 16. Just behind the snowdrops are the nerines, photo 17, another beautiful flower. Inside the Peach House were all the squashes and pumpkins, photo 18. They have been drying out since they were harvested a couple of weeks ago. Then through the archway is the Colletia paradoxa, known as the Anchor plant. I think you can see why, photo 19. It is covered with clusters of tiny flowers all through the autumn.
Finally I visited the Arboretum area. The Quercus ilex, the Holm Oak, looked stunning in the sunshine, photo 20. As did the display of autumn crocus, photo 21. But the star of the show had to be this beautiful Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood' seen here with the Ailanthus, known as Tree of Heaven, photos 22 and 23.
For my fauna contribution this month I found this splendid fungus in the Kitchen Garden, photo 24. It's called Laetiporus sulphureus, more commonly known as 'Chicken of the Woods', and I am told it does taste like chicken! On one of my visits I saw the Beekeeper attending the bee hives. Apparently there are two strong colonies which have about 20,000 bees each and a smaller colony that is not doing so well. During a good summer there can be up to 80,000 bees in a colony. Well, they are certainly in the right place. Enjoying the continuing display of dahlias were these bees, photos 26, 27 and 28. Then just as I was leaving the garden I spotted this Pied Wagtail on the roof of the house, photo 29. I had heard they had been seen in the garden but this was the first time I'd seen one myself.
I hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me.