Thursday, 29 October 2015

Photo Medley - October

There's no doubting that we're heading in to winter now, the leaves on the trees aren't just changing colour, they're falling to the ground too, the clocks have gone back and the darker evenings are with us once again. It's not all doom and gloom though as this month's round up of photos which haven't yet appeared on the blog show, there's still lots of interest in the garden.

I've seen many more butterflies and bees this year than I usually do which I'm so pleased about. I know the sedum has attracted lots of different types of butterfly to my garden.

Harvesting of the potatoes I grew in containers continued into October, it's been a good year for spuds. I don't think you can beat Anya, a waxy potato with a delicious flavour. The yields have been better this year than in previous years.

A few more photos from our trip to Harlow Carr earlier this month.

More photos from Manor Park Walled Garden. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here.

Mick popped to the allotment on Monday and pulled the remaining carrots from the WoodBlocX raised bed. I'm delighted with my carrot harvest this year, they've done so well. I put the success down to the WoodBlocX raised bed and a covering of enviromesh.

It's a miserable day here, the rain's falling and it's dark and gloomy. I'm already wishing for Spring to arrive. I've got a long wait.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Manor Heath Park Walled Garden In October

We last visited the walled garden at Manor Heath Park in Halifax in March 2014, you can read about that visit in my Garden Visiting In March - Part One post. The old Manor House was demolished in 1959 but the walled garden and other features still exist.

The walled garden used to be used to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables for the Manor House but it's now used to demonstrate different types of gardening techniques as well as bedding plant trials for Calderdale's parks.

I was a little worried when we first stepped through the gate, there seemed to be lots of plants well past their best and I thought we may have left it too late in the year to see the garden at its best.

I needn't have worried, whilst some plants have now finished flowering and are displaying seed heads, there are plenty more which are still blooming, and looking further in to the garden I could see it was still putting on a wonderful display.

I love how the garden is split in to different 'rooms', each with its own style of planting and each demonstrating a different gardening technique. If I remember correctly, this 'room' was planted up to give winter interest.

Plants can give just as much interest after they've finished flowering and though this clematis must have looked wonderful in bloom, just look how stunning it looks displaying its seed heads.

I defy anyone to walk past without stroking these silky strands.

There were roses still blooming away...

...but the agapanthus had finished flowering.

Though there's flat paths all around the garden, there's also other quirky ways to access each area. These type of features add lots of interest to a garden.

I'm a big fan of growing plants in pots so I was very interested in the container garden. As you can see, there's also plenty of places to stop for a little rest and quiet contemplation.

How cute is this? Recycling at its best.

Fruit doesn't feature heavily on the list of plants grown in the garden but there are apples to be found if you look carefully.

Here are some of the plants which caught my eye.

These are the trial beds which I spoke of earlier and there in the background is a bed packed full of dahlias.

A closer look at the dahlia bed. Some of the plants need deadheading but there's still lots of plants flowering their socks off.

So many different varieties, here's just a small selection of those planted here.

If you're ever in the Halifax area I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Manor Heath Park, not only does it have this wonderful walled garden but there's also the Jungle Experience. We didn't go inside this time but you can read about it in my Garden Visiting In March - Part Two post. It's such a well kept park and great for families as there's a wonderful playground, and a cafe too.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Colour In October

In 2013, I followed the advice of the late Geoff Hamilton and visited a garden centre or nursery each month of the year, buying a plant in flower. This should now ensure that I have something blooming in my garden every month of the year.

In October of that year I purchased salvia nemorosa Ostfriesland, a fabulous violet blue variety. It was a decent sized plant and hardy so I had high hopes of it surviving winter but my hopes were dashed. I don't know what it is with salvias, I can never seem to keep them.

I was going to buy a plant to replace it this month, however, the sedum which I bought in November 2013, and which has subsequently done really well, has been in bloom during October so I'm going to class this plant as my October bloom.

This is sedum spectabile Brilliant, it's increased in size in the two years I've had it and has put on such a wonderful display.

Sedums are like a magnet to bees and butterflies and as they go on flowering late in the year, they're a good source of nectar for them when many other plants have finished blooming.

I've seen lots of butterflies, and indeed bees, this year, more than I've seen in recent years. I'm sure that having this plant in the garden has something to do with that, there's been bees and butterflies on it every time I've looked.

As you can see, it's attracted all different types of butterfly.

The plant is now coming to the end of its flowering period so I'll cut back any parts with signs of decay but leave the dried heads in place until I see the regrowth in spring.

Making the sedum my October bloom means that there'll be a flowering gap in November so I shall be visiting a nursery or garden centre again, I wonder what plant will come home with me.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Terrariums Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass by Maria Colletti.

I'm pleased to announce that the name drawn out of the hat at random was Mark from Mark's Veg Plot. Well done, Mark, I hope you enjoy the book. Can you please let me have your address details so that I can pass it on to the publishing company in order for them to get your prize posted out.

Don't forget that the publishers are offering this book at a discounted price if you fancy a copy yourself. Please take a look at my Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass post for details.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Apples And Pears

I'm not talking about Cockney rhyming slang, I mean the fruit.

One thing I love about growing my own fruit and veg is having enough to share with friends and family. Sometimes, I'm lucky enough to be on the receiving end. These apples and pears were gifted to me by my next door neighbour. I've been supplying them, and many others, with tomatoes this year as I've had more than enough to share around so when they came to harvest their apples and pears, discovering that they'd got a bumper harvest, they were generous enough to share some with me.

I don't grow pears myself but I've got two small apple trees, a red variety called Gloster and a green variety called Golden Delicious, neither of which has fruited at all this year so I'm very pleased to have been gifted this fruit. I'm not sure of the varieties but the pears look very much like Conference.

My two small apple trees have been moved out of their containers this year and planted in to the ground, perhaps this is the reason why they didn't fruit, so I'm hoping they'll be happier where they are now with room to spread their roots and I'm hoping for bumper crops from them next year.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Harlow Carr In October

There's no denying that autumn's here when you step in to the gardens at Harlow Carr, the trees are now clothed in their glowing, fiery colours.

Some trees remain green and the reds, russets and golds show up even more against them.

All around, trees, like my own silver birch at home, are now shedding their leaves.

I don't think any tree looks more magnificent in autumn than the acer, they're such a blaze of colour. I've been promising myself one for a long time but still haven't got round to getting one.

Another plant I've been promising myself longer than I care to remember is an astrantia. Which to get though, a white variety or a pink one. I think I prefer the white.

The gunnera shows no sign of dying back yet, it's amazing how tall this plant grows in just one season.

RHS gardens have a programme of events throughout the year. On this occasion our visit happened to coincide with the Autumn Food and Wood Festival. Celebrating the autumn harvest, there were stalls selling all kinds of food as well as displays and demonstrations.

I'm always fascinated by traditional crafts and enjoyed watching the oak swill basket making demo. I'd have loved one of these beautiful baskets but they were sadly out of my price range.

There are often events in the Bath House when we visit Harlow Carr, this time there was an autumn mushroom display being staged by The Mid Yorkshire Fungus Group. I've never seen so many different types of fungi, all freshly foraged from the region. There were very knowledgeable people on hand to answer any questions or even identify any specimens brought along.

Also being held was an autumn apple display and identification. Two long trestle tables and an extra table in the centre held many different varieties of apples. The appley scent hit you as soon as you got anywhere near.

It's a shame we didn't have the opportunity to taste some of the varieties but I suppose they'd have soon run out with so many visitors.

The Kitchen Garden is still very productive, there's plenty to harvest, though I think there'll be a big change here when we visit again as I'm sure they'll be starting to clear some of the beds now ready for winter.

There's still plenty of apples waiting to be harvested too.

The border I'm following seems to be at its peak, absolutely overflowing with plants. This is a herbaceous border so the plants will soon be dying down and there will be little more than a bare patch through the winter months, as was the case when I first started following its transformation.

The other side of the border has a different look to it.

The asters are giving a new splash of colour to the border. Planting a range of plants which flower at different times ensures that that the border goes on looking good right the way through the year.

I love kniphofia or red hot pokers, they're so striking. This one is past its best now but those fiery colours still remain.

There's still plenty of flowers blooming, even this late in the season.

Do you carve a pumpkin at Halloween? It's a messy job. I found the perfect alternative in the Plant Centre, how about one of these motley crew?

A last look at Harlow Carr in autumn.

I'm sure there'll be a big difference when I visit again next month.
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