Thursday, 29 October 2009

Painted lady visits autumn flowers


Glorious sunshine this morning tempted me out to clear the asters, their lavender glory over and gone to seed. The bright warmth brought out Eupatorium's flowers in full white starry fluffiness; the flowers smell astringent, but I had to get quite close to experience this. Still it attracted bumble bees and even a painted lady butterfly paid a prolonged visit to tap its nectar. Click on the photos to look more closely; in the first image, the antennae are very well defined, although the body looks soft and out of focus; in the third, the proboscis can be seen.
In our back garden, Cotinus coggyria is aflame, while the oak trees beyond the garden are just beginning to turn and shed the odd yellow and dry brown leaves. The dry weather continues though there was a little rain after I planted up tulip bulbs in pots last week. Much to my surprise, a self seeded dark pink Cosmos has bravely begun to flower today in the sunny bed. I had a patch of them last summer and this is the sole survivor - I wonder how long it will last?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2009

Welcome to the highlights of my garden on this sunny autumn day...thanks as always to MayDreams Gardens for hosting this monthly beautiful event, an opportunity to share and enjoy so many gardens around the world.
The front border is flourishing with aster and dark leaved Eupatorium especially joyful this month - the aster a little past their best, some have gone to seed but their cheerful little faces enjoying the sun and continuing to feed local bees and other beneficial insects. Eupatorium has had a tough autumn, it has been very hot and dry, at one point in September I realised it was drooping and slung a can of water over it. It was moved from another part of this bed last spring, I'm hopeful its many flowers are a sign of health not desperation!
Sedum, cyclamen, Euonymus and Euphorbia have all settled in well to their pot at the front door. They were planted out just a couple of weeks ago having hung around since late August - so that's a relief.
In the back garden, spectacular autumn colour from Hamamelis Vesna; the leaves turn rich brown, then take on a deep orange hues, some with red and yellow edges. Well worth the space it occupies at this time of year, it is said to grow up to 8 foot and I'm looking forward to it. (In the left corner, a glimpse of acid yellow Potentilla, still flowering. I mentioned its long season back in July).
Next, a new addition to the sunny border, Malus Gorgeous was completely irresistible with its sunset coloured crab apples, turning to red, from RHS Wisley a couple of weeks ago. We've also put in quince Meech's Prolific and an apple, Adam's Pearmain this week. It has taken eight years to decide which fruit trees to plant (I know, we could have had some decent crops by now!) but we finally agreed on our selection, and looking forward to the spring blossom lighting up the garden. All will need expert pruning in our modest garden in order to produce well and thrive without taking over!
A couple of fresh white cyclamen have lit up this terracotta pot,with its variegated holly and thyme, which thrived in a lightly shaded spot over summer.
Lastly, yellow flowers like this pretty specimen are borne above the Jerusalem artichoke, which was covered with them when we visited the allotment last week to plant out garlic and onions. A welcome veg bloom for October!