I’ve been desperate for September to arrive so that I can talk about Autumn and the wonderful sense of change it brings: it’s smells, it’s colours, it’s light, it’s sounds, without feeling like I’m betraying Summer (…I’ve always felt a bit guilty that August is my least favourite month of the year! )
This morning I tried a new cycling route which was so beautiful; passing fields, flocks of little sparrows taking off from hedgerows, tractors in the distance, brown seed heads alongside greenery, a golden edge to the light and soft bird song…
The ride, with the season softly soaking up the countryside inspired me to create something at home… I had picked a couple of thistles and some of the brown seeds above ( I’m not sure what they are ), but I wanted to recreate the feeling with plants from my own garden… I got a bit distracted by tidying up my scruffy window boxes… I like them looking a bit wild, but they definitely needed a sort out, so I added succulents I’ve been growing in pots and some white cyclamen… …and so to the arrangement ( I had also found 3 conkers on the side of the road from my ride when I was nearly home )
You can see the Steller Story version here
Over the last couple of weeks the garden has transformed…everything has woken up after such a cold early Spring… I managed to keep a lot of the succulents out of the frost and now I have to try and keep the snails and slugs away… The sage is in bud and this seemed to literally happen in days… this is my favourite patch where each year I move things around and try and create texture, colour and height combinations… I have Spanish bluebells, not like the sweet woodland ones, and I really have to manage them each year; digging up loads of the bulbs, otherwise they would completely take over and choke loads of the other plants… This was my echium just over a week ago and on the right, the poor one which got blown down in the high winds and which I desperately tried to save with no luck. I had to dig it up and saw it into sections, but I have kept the top half in water just in case I can save some of its buds… …before it completely snapped from its root
Thankfully I have this one as well which is growing at a crazy rate at the moment…this is a cluster of quaking grass which I adore, so I let it pop up all over the place……and a mini giant echium in a more shady spotI found this today…a really pretty looking umbellifer, but one which I fear is hemlock, so I dug it out. I find it really difficult to tell the difference between the highly poisonous hemlock and wild carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace, but apparently wild carrot flowers later in the Summer and this is the prime time for hemlock flowers…will have to keep my eyes peeled in the garden. Funny thing is I think it got there because I had loads of it in arrangements in the house this time last year!! baby succulents, common hogweed and hollyhocks..I found what I think is toad spawn in a shallow dish at the bottom of the garden, so I transferred it to this deeper old enamel bowl which I found in the garden when I moved here 15 years ago… These cowslips originated from my Great Uncle’s farm, probably in the 1960’s. His wife was my Granny’s sister and she gave my Granny some for her garden, and then my Granny gave some or those original ones to my mum in the mid 1980’s. Each time we moved house my mum would make sure she took a section of the cowslips, and then a few years ago she gave me some from her current garden…hopefully I’ll still have some to give to my son…when he’s interested! the aquilegia has shot up and flowered in a week… The Granny poppies are well on their way… …and the miniature lilac has started to flower …this was my one and only tulip this year. Hopefully more will come back next year
I haven’t been sure what this umbellifer was until today. It’s been growing like mad and makes opening the shed door very tricky.
I thought it was common hogweed but it’s leaves were shinier, and then when I cut some today I realised it had quite a pleasant smell, so I looked it up, and it’s common name is ‘Alexanders’ or ‘Black Loveage’ or even Smyrnium olusatrum…I think it may have travelled back from Cornwall with me accidentally as I don’t remember seeding one, but I love that it’s been a bit of surprise…and apparently you can eat it!
It’s apparently related to celery, so I thought I’d make a dandelion and loveage sald… I was a bit nervous about eating something I’d only just discovered, and I would love to say it was amazing, but it wasn’t massively flavoursome and the dandelions were quite bitter…however I like that it’s edible and I did really enjoy the flowers…more of a brocolli texture, and who knows, it’s probably a bit better with dips!