On Tuesday night, the heavens opened, and it has rained off and on, mostly heavily and without wind, since then, till this morning when cool air but also bright sunshine appeared. Bliss. You can almost feel the earth drinking the water. Truth is, most of the garden is pretty much crisped to death. Not total death, but certainly over for this year. The watered pots are still doing beautifully, but, with the exception of a few things, everything arrived too fast and went over too fast in the heat and dry. So, this autumn will not see a lot going on in the garden. But there are some surprises.
I bought this in the ‘bin-end’ section of a local nursery about 4 years ago, and planted it thinking it could be a sentinel plant at the opening into the New Garden. It was almost too bright to photograph it this morning and so I only just got the very top of it in the picture. I adore this tree. Yes, it works as a sentinel, with it’s fine, elegant and delicate columnar shape and colouring, not to mention the round, grouped leaves that give it an almost frothy look- but it is also not going to get too much bigger, currently about 2m at the widest and about 3.5m high (well, that’s what the websites seem to agree on) and so it won’t dominate the area around it.
Just caught this view as I was wandering past. It makes the most of the remaining colour in the garden and airbrushes out the drought- rather well, I think.
I bought some of these bulbs on offer in a cold and wet June. They looked pretty dull till the other week, when up shot these tall, slender, grouped cream flowers with a pale yellow centre. And the perfume is even available for the Piasecka nose. Deep, dark and rich, with a strong vanilla tone, or at least I think so. Strong and gorgeous scent that hung near the plant on the hot evenings we have had lately. Absolutely knockout and with many more flowers to come, which we will miss but our housesitters will enjoy.
Also a pot-dweller, and one that will need a far bigger pot next year, is a real find for this year, Begonia luxurians. I thought it might be a little delicate as it’s structure is so airy and fine, with these Edward Scissorhands leaves grouped around a centre. But it has withstood passing people bashing it, wind and rain with aplomb. It is tender and so it will come in to the house for the winter.
Several friends in Tostat are busily growing Eucomis autumnalis seed that I collected last year, so just before we head off next week, I will be collecting as much as I can. I am imagining about 3 years to a flowering plant, but it is such a great plant, you can’t have enough in pots, and is handsome at every stage of it’s life. Meanwhile, on the slowly evolving labyrinth, which has suffered the last 2 summers and is not therefore complete with plants, I was collecting seed from good plants (sown 2 years ago) of Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’ before the rain. I now have a big brown envelope full of seed- which might mean that I can finally grow enough, probably about 150 plants, to complete the outer circuit and fill in the odd hole. Fingers crossed.
There has been so much gratitude for the rain. This Dryopteris has even reverted to a semi-spring position, instantly throwing up new leaves and looking pretty content.
This plant, Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’, is only in it’s first year and so has a way to go. But it has been redoubtable in the heat and dry, and so next year it should be in fine fettle. I love the arching delicacy of the flowering branches and it’s fine vase-shaped, upright form. It does look heat-weary, but it has pulled through, albeit with a little spot-watering.
At the same time, the change in the weather has brought the sharper early morning light of autumn, which allowed this small flower to steal my gaze as I went out with a cup of tea this morning. It’s good to be alive.