Ursula's Cambridge Garden

Freelance gardener, plantswoman and garden-designer writing from my small urban garden in a great city


4 Comments

An Autumnal round-up – better late than never!

p1000548

I can hardly believe that the last time I posted was in the week of Chelsea Flower Show, but it is true!

It’s been a very long time since I have had any time to write my blog as I have been very busy gardening for a growing number of clients. It has been great gardening weather this summer and autumn, so here are some highlights.

At Client #2’s garden everything is taking on a happy maturity.  Here in the west-facing semi-shade bed Carex ‘Ice Dance’,  Heuchera, a Japanese Shield fern, Pachysandra and Alchemilla mollis, with a backing of variegated ivy, makes a pleasing composition of tranquil lush greens and mellow yellows.

p1200089

In the east-facing bed a tough Valerian blends nicely with a blue hardy geranium (split into five  newly invigorated clumps in the Spring from a huge congested plant) and a Cistus – all three very resilient plants for a sunny bed.

p1200117

The south-facing lavender and catmint bed did very well, against a wall, where I have also planted 20 Nerines, which over the years will clump up and produce a lovely September show as their favourite place is the base of a sun-baked wall.

p1200285

And moving into Autumn an inherited Rudbeckia glows in the early morning sunshine…

p1000439

The substantial project of re-planting Client #4’s garden has been progressing well, with all new planting in two of the three large beds planted by the end of May, and the remaining third bed fully planted up last week.

Here the Miscanthus, Anemanthele lessoniana and Stipa tenuissima of the Grasses bed are coming into their Autumn glory…

p1000471

p1000328

The Romantic south-facing border had its front areas planted in May with lavenders, sedums and Agapanthus,  and this pleasing partnership of Achillea ‘Cerise Queen’ and Gaura ‘Whirling butterflies’ seen here..

p1000326

And the interior of the bed was planted up this October with bearded iris, japanese anemones, peonies and Cistus, Viburnum tinus and Abelia, against a very smart new fence.

p1000486

p1000490

 

Client #7’s front garden is being slowly cleared of a mono-culture of manic hardy geranium, to be replaced in due course with a lawn, step-over apples and a Magnolia.  This is how far I’ve got so far, but there is a lot more work to do so watch this space…

 

p1000241

p1000405

In my own garden there have been some great performing plants over the summer and autumn.  Salvia and Astrantia have done well in a large pot in semi-shade, flowering almost continuously from June until this week….

p1190996

The wonderful acid green of Euphorbia oblongata has also been a stalwart of the garden throughout the summer –

p1200010

My new Yukka has been very happy in its pot in the sunshine

p1000257

and the Calamintha nepeta has done very well flowering for months and months on my balcony, beloved of the bees (I read about this plant in Noel Kingsbury’s book on the Lurie Garden in Chicago, where they said it was a great performing bee magnet).

p1000024

 

My new Agastache has been a lovely gentle orange all through late summer and early autumn (seen here with Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ and Hackonocloa)

p1000309

I have this autumn extended the width of my south-facing bed, and replanted it with a palette of plants that are very happy in gritty, sunny conditions, as well as a very large number of new Allium and Tulip bulbs (a present from my parents) which I look forward to seeing the development of over the next year.  Here is the bed with the new section of pavers removed…

p1000298

And the new plantings complete

p1000535

I have also added Japanese anemones and Acanthus to my Cotinus bed

p1000523

I look forward to seeing how these two beds do with their new plantings.

My Phormium, which has been living in a pot, is finally planted….

p1000533

And my Tree Fern, has settled in well, planted in a pot as a tiny baby twig of a plant at the start of the summer, and now looking quite lush.

p1000514

So,  as the colours of autumn gather in around my garden…

p1000553

my table is building up once again with more plants for new Client #9’s garden project which is just about to be planted up, so I hope to report on that next time I write.

p1000516

And finally a shot of my parents’ wonderful Hydrangea in its summer glory (grown from a cutting I gave them in 1994!)

p1200357

Which my Mother has now given me back a cutting from – still flowering in my garden this week – the circle of horticulture goes ever on!

p1000540

Happy autumn gardening!

Advertisements


6 Comments

The promised Indian summer delivers…

P1130450

Penstemon ‘Raven’

I have been away from the blog sphere since July due to some traveling around a little bit, here….

P1120975

Wells Beach, North Norfolk

and there….

P1130226

Henry Moore statue at Dartington Hall, near Exeter, Devon

 

William Blake quote from Dartington Hall for Twitter

William Blake’s lovely words, also at Dartington Hall

P1130270

Dahlias and Rudbekias at the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

But finally I’m now back in my own garden for the lovely month of September.

P1130361

So, this post is very overdue, but it’s a nice contrast to July, because now we have all the beauty of a proper Indian summer, as promised by the weather people – lovely low sunshine, a still and mellow atmosphere with not too much wind and rain, and just a slow slip into the decline of October and November, but not before one last sultry burst of colour, with hazy oranges, reds and burnished yellows having  their last glorious moment.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has had a great summer  – wonderful in its flowering glory days…

P1120502

and now rather beautiful in seed-popping decline, as seen here.

P1130408

P1130357

Crocosmia ‘Emily Mckenzie’

Quinces are, of course, one of the big stars of September – and my tree (Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranga’)  is finally coming into its own, four years after planting, with a bumper crop of glowing yellow fruits.  This is a great tree for a small City garden – lovely single, blush pink, rose-like spring flowers,  wonderful fruits, and eccentric straggly branch growth that is endearingly ramshackle.

P1130367

The fig tree is also looking sumptuous this year – its leaves very lush and healthy, with a huge crop of figs, though sadly not quite ripening enough in time to be edible this year.  A few years back I replanted the tree and restricted its root growth by placing several large bricks around the roots – it likes to feel really hemmed in to really ‘get going’ and be happy.  It’s done the trick.

P1130394

Cotinus coggygria  is another great plant for autumn – mine is ‘Dusky Maiden’ and it is living up to its name, sitting happily with other plants and tinting up beautifully without clashing.

P1130446

P1130311

Oenothera, (evening primrose), are new to me this year and they have delivered some beautiful yellows of buttercup perfection this autumn, which I’m very pleased with.

P1130358

Then, along side all these lovely fiery colours, there are the seed heads that are to be admired at this time of year – the top of the list being the space-age ones of Phlomis.

P1130345

And the seedpods of Acanthus are robust and beautiful too.

P1130400

And the wonderful bushy grown of Miscanthus sinensis, the seed heads of which will stay around until February next year for some fabulous winter skeleton architecture.

P1130390

This is a good time to cut back bearded irises so that they do not suffer wind rock, and the rhizomes have the maximum exposure to sun light and a good ‘baking’ now and in May next year.

P1130323

P1130397

 Amongst all the hotter colours of autumn, there are also some wonderful pinks which make a quiet appearance in my garden at this moment in time, particularly an unusual climber, (more often known as a house plant, but perfectly hardy in my garden, surviving many very hard winters) the ‘porcelain berry’ (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’).  The leaves are very striking combined with the delicate pink of the stems.  If the birds leave them it is possible to see the tiny berries (just appearing here) turn a striking metallic purple-blue.

P1130354

P1130352

Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’ (Mexican daisy) is also wonderfully pink, as well as white, at this time of year, and is a stalwart plant flowering endlessly for all of the spring and summer and demanding nothing at all.

P1130372

And let us not forget the incongruous jewel pinks of Nerines in September. I have never grown Nerines before, although I have often admired great clumps of them near my house – this year I finally got around to planting some.  Sadly, I had to move them to a better spot, so I think true settling in will take until at least next Autumn, but still I have one flower – hurrah!  The photograph doesn’t quite capture the true bubble-gum pink of the flower.

P1130449

Blues are much rarer at this time of year, but I have two new ones in my garden this year which I am very pleased with.

The first is Liriope muscari, a grass-like, low-growing, evergreen perennial, that produces these rather spectacular small lavender-blue flowers in September that look from high above like little jewellery beads on a stick, but on closer inspection are tiny flowers.

P1130381

P1130453

And the other blue star at the moment is Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Dark Knight’, which I planted last autumn, after not growing this shrub for many years.  This is a rather triumphant blue that has a powdery quality that sits well with the other autumn hues, and I am very pleased with it.

P1130389

My Rosa Mutabilis is still flowering happily, after many months, its flowers starting yellow, then pink, then slowly turning to coppery pink.

P1130436

And  last but not least, no gardener can fail to spot all the spiders busily at work at this time of year, their webs a work of genius engineering and painstaking labour.  This lovely garden spider had woven her web across the entire width of my garden outside my french windows – I just missed bumping into it by a hair’s breadth!

P1130426

Happy gardening to you all until next month.