Garden Blog - Blog Post

Colours for Autumn


We’re well and truly into Autumn now. There’s no more chances for a last-minute heat-wave. No hope of a second Indian Summer. British Summer Time has ended and the days are noticeably shorter, cooler, duller and usually wetter. Worst of all, the gardening programs on TV have just finished for the year. There’s no denying that we’re fast approaching the end of the season and another year will soon draw to a close but before then, there’s lots of interest to be had before locking yourself away and hibernating for the winter.

Autumn tones are appearing in the garden and the colour slider is moving from greens to oranges, pinks, reds and browns.

Crocosmia Lucifer Seed Head

The pepper-red seed heads of Crocosmia Lucifer are scattering themselves all over a border that is next in the queue for being created. I’ll probably end up weeding most of these out as the bulbs are so inexpensive that it doesn’t matter if I loose all the self-seeded ones. This border will have one-third of “Crocosmia Circus”.

Rose Hips

In the same border we also have the bright-red, jewel-like rose hips from a large single white rose of unknown variety that we inherited. This rose will be taken out of this border when it is redone but I’m not sure if it will be moved elsewhere or if we’ll not bother replacing it at all. It will be a shame to lose the hips but we might be able to have something similar towards the bottom end of the garden. At the moment this large rose doesn’t suit the plans I have for this part of the garden.

Flowering Calendula

Rather embarrassingly, we didn’t realise that Calendula were annuals until very recently, which explains why they are still flowering away, completely unaware of the imminent cold weather. We’ve been dead-heading them – until we realised they were annuals – and so we’re hoping for some seed heads we can harvest for next year. We were told that they do self-seed prolifically so we’ll just have to see what turns up in this part of the border next season. As this border was finished and planted very late, the Calendula have had a short season to establish and flower. They’re only just getting going but I can imagine that if they had had a full season to grow, we would have had a stunning band of orange-yellow stretching the full length of the Crescent. It would have been an amazing show-stopper. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Pyracantha Berries

When it comes to this pyracantha, I’m in two minds. I’ve been pricked and poked by its vicious spines so many times that I want to take the whole thing out and burn it, but when I see it covered in flowers and bees in the spring followed by these wonderful clusters of bright orange berries in autumn, I always end up reconsidering and giving it a stay of execution. If this pyracantha is ever taken out, it would have to be replaced with something whose wildlife and green credentials are just as good – if not better.

Rhododendron Luteum

This very young rhododendron is a Rhododendron Luteum. It has sweetly scented bright yellow flowers in late spring and the foliage turns a striking red in autumn. This will be a talking point when the shrub matures in the coming years. For the moment though, it’s taking its time getting established. I’m glad I can see the buds for next season though.

Autumn Colour on Ornamental Cherry

The large ornamental cherry we inherited gave a very lack lustre performance last autumn where it faded into winter like a damp squib. This year, we’ve been lucky to have the combination of warm days and cold nights that have really brought out the colour in its leaves. This tree ranges from bright orange to coral-pink depending on the sun.

Two Chairs on the Patio in Autumn

I’d like to be all poetic and say that we spent the days of our lives sat on these two chairs over looking the garden and contemplating the season we’ve had but back in the real world, we’ve had precious little time to stop and reflect. What with preparing for winter, clearing the patio, work inside and catching up on countless little jobs and chores, the season will have been and gone and all I will have is this picture to refer back to and remember the vividly colourful autumn we’re having right now.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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casa mariposa 25/10/2015 - 4:02 pm

Looks good!! I’ve never seen a rhodie with crinkled foliage but the color is wonderful. Maybe Santa will bring you body armor to help with the pyracantha. 😉

Sunil 01/11/2015 - 6:06 pm

Hello Tammy, I’m going to need gauntlets to deal with the pyracantha. They’ll also help with the roses too! I’m continually working my way through gardening gloves, they just don’t seem to last very long before they develop holes in the fingertips.

susan maclean 26/10/2015 - 8:59 am

Morning Sunil! Glad to see you still have colour in your garden, me too! Two things that give me joy every year are a Daphne Bodens, which started to flower two weeks ago and should go on until after Christmas – It’s 10ft tall now, and in my attempt to make it a “tree” rather than a shrub, I think I have been successful. It’s up at the top where the car is parked, so every time we get out of the car we are enveloped in perfume. The other is a plain jane throughout the year, and a glory for about 3 weeks. That’s euonymus-alatus – I grow it for it’s lime green leaves when it first re-leafs itself (is that a word?!), and for it’s final show of shocking pink. Nearly every leaf now fallen but it’s worth it every single year – Fab.

I also bought a hardy salvia this year, dark blue, which is still in full flower!

And on the subject of annuals – do you like them? My OH’s favourite is Nigela and they self seed all over the garden but are such a lovely blue I don’t mind, and the ones you don’t want can always be weeded out.

Sunil 01/11/2015 - 6:09 pm

Hello Mrs Mac. Daphne are shrubs that I want to introduce into the garden because of their legendary scent. In terms of annuals, they’re actually starting to creep into the garden. They’re in the trugs, they’re in the hanging baskets, they’re also in the patio pots and now the borders. Those that grow from seed easily, are very cheap at the garden centre or self-seed prolifically will be the ones that stay in the garden.

Jean 27/10/2015 - 2:01 am

The milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed pods just popped open today in my garden and started spreading their cottony tufts on the wind — a sure sign that October is about to turn into November.
I love the color of your ornamental cherry. This has been a wonderful autumn in Maine, with vivid color and an exceptionally good crop of apples.
I’m beginning to think those two chairs serve a symbolic function in your garden, showing the theoretical possibility of the garden as a relaxing environment while you guys slave away.

Sunil 01/11/2015 - 6:12 pm

Hello Jean, those two chairs appear to be just that – a theoretical suggestion to stop and have a sit-down. I’m sure the garden will become a relaxing and calm environment, just not at the moment while it is under construction.

gardeninacity 27/10/2015 - 3:20 am

Love the view from your patio! Also, great color on that ornamental cherry.

Sunil 01/11/2015 - 6:13 pm

Hello Jason, we’re really taken with the colour of the ornamental cherry too. It was much less impressive last year. The colour has all been to do with the warm days and cold nights we’ve recently had.

aberdeen gardening 28/10/2015 - 5:39 pm

Great autumn colour in your garden Sunil. Calendula, a very useful annual for the cottage garden. In our first ever year that we had a garden I sowed annual seeds in rows directly in the garden borders. Didn’t have a clue if what I was doing would have any success. An aunt of mine said, have you been planting anything in the garden, I told her I had sown Calendula, ah, she said (pot marigolds, English marigolds) that will be. They did flower, very late in the season.

Sunil 01/11/2015 - 6:15 pm

Hello Alistair, the Calendula are still going strong. We haven’t had time to go out and see if any of the seeds heads are ready for picking so we might find some that have self-sown next year. I could also try real marigolds, or just replace them with a perennials. It depends on how many Calendula come back next year.

lynngator 07/11/2015 - 4:43 pm

I so enjoyed sitting with you both, admiring your garden. It was most rewarding to see how much your hard work has paid off. Love those rose hips!!

Sunil 10/11/2015 - 9:18 pm

Hello Lynn, it was lovely to spend the afternoon taking with you, in the sunshine and surrounded by plants. Many people tell us of the transformative changes the garden has gone through in such a short time and the hard work that has involved but I am still having trouble letting it all sink in. Perhaps it will dawn on me gradually over the winter as the weather imposes a rest period on the garden and me.


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