Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Autumnal Abundance

This week's cafe flowers

Any one got a boat? Webbed feet? Extra wellies I can borrow. The weather isn't getting any drier here which is a shame as September can often be a lovely month. Still I've got plenty propagation I can do in the potting area and the poly tunnel while it is raining. My aim by the end of the month is to have worked through the stock list propagating everything that we are low in for next year, this has been an ongoing task for the last month or so and I'm nearly finished. The poly tunnel is full which does lead me to wonder where I'm going to put all the over wintering plants, hmmmmm.

I love autumn, and then I found this heart shaped pelargonium
 leaf in the greenhouse when I was watering during the week

which summed it all up really

There is a definite hint of winding down for the season as the trees start to colour up and all the autumn flowers are out. The nursery is still full of colour and it's a great time to plant as the soil is still warm. Visitors to the nursery and gardens at this time of year are often surprised at how much colour there is and how long it will last. The Asters are just coming into flower and will go on until the first frosts, which can be November if we are lucky. Persicarias are half way through their flowering season and will go on onto October as will the Sedums and Rudbeckias. Its a great time to visit the nursery and gardens and get late season inspiration to carry colour in your garden through to winter.

Aster (Symphyotrichum) novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard'


Lots of lat Summer / Autumn colour in the nursery gardens

Lathyrus latifolius

Matteucia struthiopteris
Phlox 'Hesperis'


          Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba'                                      Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen' 
                                                                                                and Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Rosea'

Sedum 'Herbsfreude'

Back at home youngest son Daniel has been back in the kitchen, He goes through phases of cooking almost every night (which is very nice after a busy day at the nursery) or not at all. We are in a cooking phase now and have amongst other dishes been treated to an Ottolenghi dish - duck with orange and star anise sauce with mashed parsnips. It was lovely, as is every dish he cooks.

Duck with orange and star anise sauce

I've been in the kitchen too,
back to baking, which I love.
This week it was honey cake,
 almondy and moist and
not a soggy bottom in sight!

Back to the nursery and it's time to buy and plant spring bulbs, us gardeners are always planning ahead to the next season and the next year. This year we are doing our pick and mix bulbs again. You can buy as many or as little of each variety as they are priced individually. We have several varieties of Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus and Allium as well as Frittalaria, Scilla, bluebells, and other small bulbs. Ideal for containers and pots or in the garden in borders to give some colour from February onwards. 

Daffodils ready for planting

This years pick and mix bulbs

At home I've been catching up in the garden on a Monday too, tidying up after a neglectful summer and preparing for the colder months ahead. The wild strawberries in the fruit planter has been taking advantage of me being busy and has spread everywhere. Right through both planters, down the sides and across the patio. The Strawberry 'Cambridge Favourite' was being smothered, so I have removed wild strawberry to a big pot of its own and divided the 'Cambridge Favourite' and planted it through the whole fruit planter. 

Sorting out the strawberries

I've put my auricula primulas away for winter. They've been on the patio since they flowered in spring and now it's time for a weed and tidy before being tucked away under the bench in the cold greenhouse. They are hardy but benefit from being kept drier through winter so the unheated greenhouse works perfectly, they get the protection without too much heat.

Auricula primulas tucked away
 in the cold greenhouse

My tidied and watered greenhouse on Monday

Pelargonium 'Ardens', My favourite Pelargonium

Pelargonium sidoides, my second favourite

Sunflower 'Claret' in the
herb garden
Sanguisorba and Lythrum in the
 stream garden in the nursery

A troll in the stream garden!

Invaders in the lawn at home

How has your week been, are you enjoying the autumn colours too?

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2017

September already how did that happen? It's been a soggy second half to the summer here in our corner of Scotland, and we're still having more wet days than dry, which is a shame as September can be really nice here. Still the autumn colour is starting, which I love and there is still lots of colour in the borders with late flowering perennials and the annuals that will go on until the first frosts. 

Agastache 'Black Adder', Persicaria amplexicaule 'Atrosanguinea'
and Papaver somnifera seed heads go well together
in the garden at home

In this blog I've concentrated on plants in the garden at home. The nursery gardens are full of colour and are definitely late summer gardens and are looking great at the moment. All the rain has caused a lot of plants to finish flowering sooner as the flowers are ruined by all the soggyness sadly. Here at home everything is on a much smaller scale as most of the plants are in pots and troughs, waiting patiently until we finally have a place of our own.

Stipa gigantea is one of my favourite grasses

In the front garden there are three narrow beds along the front of the house and two oval beds where I've planted lots of 'prairie' plants. The include various different grasses, Echinacea, Echinops. Agastache, Persicarias, Sedums, Geraniums, Eupatoriums and Asters. You can read about creating the borders here.

Echinacea 'Rubinstein'

I'm pleased with this combination
Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor', Helictotrichon sempervirens,
 Persicaria amplexicaule 'Atrosanguinea', Glengarry

Bees love the Echinops

The borders this year all be it on another wet day!

In the narrow border along the front of the house I've planted lots plants that take shade but have flowers and foliage through the year. The border is north facing and under the over-hanging eaves of the house. You can read about it's creation here

Geraium phaeum 'Mourning Widow'
on it's second flush of flowers

Astrantia 'Snowstar' also on it's
second lot of flowers

Euphorbia schillingii in the front garden

The front border now

Acanthus hungaricus

Sedum 'Karfunklestein',
great for late summer colour

In the back garden the patio along the back of the house is full of pots of tender plants and herbs, and further out are lots of plants in their moving troughs. Despite being in troughs they provide me with colour and interest all year round.

A bee on Apple mint on the patio

I love bronze fennel, it is so airy
and flowers for weeks

Euphorbia 'Wallenbergs Glory'

Cyclamen hederifolium hiding under the ferns and grasses

Triosteum pinnatifidum, an unusual
perennial that likes shade

Athyrium 'The Ghost'

Colchicum autumnale, the autumn crocus

Euphorbia polychroma is also having a
second lot of flowers

Leucanthemum 'Alaska'

Phlox 'Monica Lynden Bell'

Many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for this series of blogs, pop over and see what every one else has in flower in their gardens. 

So Long Summer - Hello September

September already, whew! I am going to try getting back to a weekly round up post, no promises, but I will try. Things are easing up work wise at the nursery now, so I can take things a little easier as we head towards closing for winter and a very well earned break for both of us. I've got a bad cold at the moment which is making me feel even more exhausted, I'm rarely ill so even more annoying! My back is getting painful again and my neck is not happy either! Oh dear my body really is telling me to ease up! Other than that things are good, busy, but good.

cafe flowers
This week's cafe flowers have a touch of autumn about them
 with the ears of corn and the yellow Rudbeckias

A couple of mornings this past week (when it hasn't been raining) there's that particular cool air that says autumn to me, which is fine as I love Autumn, especially September. The weather has been really mixed lately with warm wet days or dry sunny hot days. It's lovely to see the sun and it brings out the butterflies too, there's been very few this year.

autumn skies
Lots of mixed weather at the moment

Now that all the wedding stuff is out the way, I've caught up at home, tidied away everything, dealt with a build up of paperwork and stuff that needs done, life at home is a bit more relaxed and I can start doing bits and pieces around the house and garden making an attempt to reduce the book pile on my desk and do some proper cooking. I'm still working my way (slowly) through my Outlander Cookbook and one of the Ottolenghi books I got for my Christmas last year! Once I'm off over winter I'll have time to tackle some of the more complicated recipes.

Ingredients for Roast chicken with rice salad,  Ottoenghi
Ingredients for Roast chicken with rice salad,

Ingredients for Roast chicken with rice salad,  Ottoenghi
Roast chicken with rice salad, Ottoenghi

The gardens in the nursery continue to provide lots of colour and food for insects. Our customers are really enjoying wandering around the new gardens and are getting quite inspired with all our ideas of what can be grown here in our exposed, cold, windy clay soiled nursery. The gardens are definitely late summer into autumn gardens and look particularly good in August and September. I'm really enjoying seeing our hard work come together and seeing people enjoy the gardens. Why not come and visit and enjoy them for yourself, we're open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

scented garden
A place to sit and enjoy the sun and the fragrance of the scented garden

herb garden
Looking along the herb garden

Nigella damascena
I love Nigella or Love in a Mist, and it's featured alot this year
 in the gardens and our wedding

WFGA visit to Quercus
The WFGA visit
We've been expanding on visits from groups and hope to do more walk and talks around the nursery. I spent a couple of hours last Saturday doing a walk and talk around the nursery and gardens with a group from WFGA - Womens Farm & Garden Association, talking about my career in horticulture (all 31 years of it!) about the nursery and gardens and about horticulture in general. We had lots of interesting questions and every one had a great morning, yeh! They then enjoyed lunch at Whitmuir the Organic Place. 

Emptying the moth trap
Emptying the moth trap

On Sunday there we hosted a biological recording visit from TWIC (The Wildlife Information Centre). Reuben had set up several moth traps over night which were then emptied and the moths examined by everyone this morning. David then took everyone around the farm and nursery where the group were able to record all sorts of bugs and beasties. 

At last a decent sunset
At last a decent sunset

The tree in the field behind the house
Sun and stormy skies over the field behind the house

It's been good to get back to two days off after a manic spring and summer and get my Monday catch up days back, the house and garden are almost back under control, ha ha. I spent a couple of hours tidying up the patio outside the back door. Putting stuff away, sweeping up, cutting back some messy perennials and so on. It will soon be covered in leaves as autumn progresses but at least for now it looks better than it did. I removed all the wild strawberries from the fruit planter (they were over taking everything) and split up the Strawberry 'Cambridge Favourite' that was also in there. The wild strawberries were potted into a large pot where they can do their own thing without misbehaving.

On Tuesday we headed to Culross in Fife across the new Queensferry Crossing bridge, it's a striking bridge, that's for sure. We enjoyed a walk around Culross, some lunch and then meandered back home, more of that in another blog.

I hope you are looking forward to Autumn too. Have a great weekend.

Queensferry crossing bridge
Crossing the new bridge

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