As we move beyond the autumn equinox the hours of darkness now exceed the day light hours. However, there still seems to be plenty of sunshine on offer and it has been very pleasant this week outside in the fresh air. We still haven’t had our first frost of the winter and there is a remarkable amount of colour around the garden.
Here are my six for this weekend.
One: Saxifraga fortunei
Earlier in the year we wrote about the patio at the back of the house to demonstrate the wide range of foliage and textures that make this area such an attractive shady location. The fleshy leaves of Saxifraga fortunei with their dark green top surface and reddish bronze under surface look good all year. However, it is only in September and October that they start to flower producing a haze of tiny white flowers which shine out as the evenings close in.
This week we were fortunate to be able to attend the RHS lecture by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers at Pershore College. As always at these events there is a nice selection of things to spend your money on and we could not resist this pink flowered Saxifraga fortunei ‘Sibyll Trelawney JP’. It sits beautifully along side the white ones and I am sure will give us a lot of pleasure for years to come.
A couple of years ago we bought a number of Nerine bulbs which we originally grew on in pots to look after them and then planted out into a hot sunny, well drained border at the front of the house. Although they have produced leaves each year they seem to have taken a very long time to settle in. This year for the first time they have flowered but are not yet the spectacular display I have been hoping for. Perhaps they are now beginning to take off!
Every year without fail the annual and perennial Rudbeckia perform for us. This year is no exception and they will carry on flowering until the first frosts. Because they are such successful garden plants they perhaps do not get celebrated as much as they should and so here they are. This variety is ‘Autumn Forest’.
One of our more unlikely flowering plants for this week is the prostrate Rosemary. Although growing to less than 12 inches in height it is currently in full bloom amongst the gravel herb borders at the side of the house.
Five: Schizostylis (Kaffir Lily)
Performing at their best at this time of year are the various Schizostylis clumps that we have around the garden. Ranging from delicate pink to full on scarlet they provide a welcome shot of new colour at this time of year.
A new purchase of the variety ‘Princess Pink’ (below) has survived its first year and is showing real promise.
Six: Michaelmas daisies
Last but not least this week are the Michaelmas daisies. Ranging from tall 5 feet plants to small neat clumps these plants really do bring the garden to life at this time of year (and the butterflies love them).
More information at Michaelmas daisies in the autumn sunshine