End of Month View – as October closes.

Determined to spend every last minute of good weather outdoors, I piled blankets and cushions on our old garden chairs. It makes a cosy place to read and survey the autumn colours. A place to rest and have a cup of tea after all that apple picking!

Here’s a kind of ‘slide show’ of photos from my garden, taken over the past couple of weeks. I take photos as a record of what’s in flower and looking good at different times of the year. At the end of each month I sit down and make notes of what needs moving, pruning, changing around.

Alongside the drive, in a rubble-filled spot I planted one eucomis bulb a few years ago. These love the well-drained, sunny conditions. This year the bulbs have increased and we have eight flower stems, making a lovely colourful display. The photo shows the top of the plant, which is as beautiful as the flower spike. It’s nice to have something as exotic as this at the tail-end of the growing season.

Next to the drive we have a dogwood called Midwinter Flame, sometimes sold as Midwinter Fire. Just now it is taking centre stage as the leaves turn a beautiful bright yellow and the shrub is smothered in delicate white flowers. Late foraging solitary bees and Red Admiral butterflies are enjoying the plentiful supply of pollen today. The dogwood has bright orange stems all winter. A stunning sight covered in frost and snow. I find this dogwood doesn’t need such a drastic cut-to-the-ground approach that I use for Cornus Westonbirt planted nearby. In fact, I just take out a few stems every year to encourage new growth, and I tip back the ends to stop it encroaching on the driveway.

In the hedgerows surrounding the garden, common wild dogwood, Cornus sanguinea, is literally glowing with deep purple leaves and black berries. In full sun, the stems turn an electric red for winter. But in shade the stems remain a mossy green. Berries provide valuable food for small mammals and birds, as well as floristry material for my cut flower posies and door wreaths.

This door wreath made from my hedgerow foraging has ivy, dogwood, sloe berries, rosehips and crab apples. It cheered up the potting shed door for a week and cost £0 to make. A lovely sight to come home to.

I thought I would share the view from the back fields behind my garden. I took this photo whilst I was collecting materials for the door wreath. The gap is where an elm tree stood, before it succumbed to the dreaded Dutch elm disease. The elm managed to get to about 10 feet tall, and we always hope they will somehow develop a resistance to the disease. But every year another one dies. It’s a favourite gap-in-the-hedge view which changes so much with the seasons.

I garden on a windswept ridgeway. It’s cold and unprotected. But the views are glorious. I particularly love this viewing point, 20 paces from my paddock gate. There’s a woodpecker in that tree, taking no notice of me while I’m taking this photo. And high above us, a family of buzzards are circling and calling to each other with their curious mewing cry. When we first moved here, I spent hours searching for a cat I was sure had been abandoned in the hedgerow. Eventually realising it was a buzzard we could hear. Mind you, over the years, because of where we live in an isolated spot along a country lane, we have had to rescue quite a few sadly abandoned pets. All have found safe refuge here.

This is turning into a bit of a country walk. But I thought you’d like to see what I look at – just across the lane from where I live. We make daily trips to look at these cows. They are so tame and very well cared for. It’s rare to see calves allowed to stay with their mothers nowadays. Further along the lane, the cows can look thorough the fence to see me working in my orchard. They seem as curious about me as I am about them. Good company for me, indeed.

The grass verges here are full of wild flowers and what would be weeds in a garden setting. These rosebay willow herb plants grow in drifts and their colourful pink spikes provide nectar in summer for bees and butterflies. I watched some goldfinches enjoying the seed heads. A thing of beauty, caught in the sunlight.

Back in the garden, these seed heads are looking glorious at the moment. I’ve forgotten the name of them. If anyone knows, please remind me. The leaves look like burnt toffee at the moment. I’ve got a feeling sky rocket is in the name somewhere?

The hamamelis leaves are also turning colour now, and I’m excited to see the tiny flower buds just starting to form. I’m hoping for a colourful display right in the middle of winter when we all need cheering up.

I’m still looking for the name for this fungi. Autumn wouldn’t be the same without this beauty in the mini woodland part of the wild garden. I went back the next day to take some more photos and it had been eaten. We have a thriving colony of short-tailed voles living in the long grass there. Just wondering if they eat mushrooms. There’s so much to learn, isn’t there.

As we started with reading, I’ll leave you with this view of the potting shed. I’m tidying it up to give me somewhere to mooch to over the winter. Much perusing of seed catalogues and plotting and planning will go on in there on cold, wet days. I try to make it as cosy as I can with a kettle and toaster. Anyway, thank you for joining me on a walk around bramble garden.

Thank you to Steve at Glebe House who has taken up the mantle of EOMV from Helen at Patient Gardener who launched the meme eight years ago. Go over and have a look what other gardeners are doing at this time of the year. It’s fascinating to see what everyone is growing around the world.

Leave a comment and let me know what is looking good in your garden right now. I haven’t shown you all the weeds or brambles. There are many, I can promise you.

43 thoughts on “End of Month View – as October closes.

    • Thank you Steve. Nothing compares to your truly glorious and immaculately-tended garden. Thank you for sharing it with us. It’s such a joy. You are too kind about my writing. They are just my ramblings – always written in a rush and sadly there’s never time to edit them or have second thoughts. Thanks again for hosting the meme and for reading and your kind comments. Much appreciated

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  1. So much look at as you showed us round parts of your garden – your extended view is lovely and a treasure to have. When you say ‘Skyrocket’, Ligularia comes into my head. Isn’t it exciting watching the progress of witch hazels – mine are an absolute mass of buds, including the one that didn’t flower at all 2 years ago so I guess it just wanted a rest that year! Your wreath is beautiful – what a lovely range of material you have included.

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    • Just been out and checked the witch hazels, and they all seem to have those tiny embryo flowers. Phew! Mine didn’t flower a few years ago either. Hope yours are truly glorious this year. I look forward to seeing your photos. Won’t they smell nice. I can’t wait. I have to have something cheerful as I’m not keen on dark days and grey skies. Glad you like the wreath. The birds enjoyed the berries. It was a joy to watch them. Love karen x

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      • I have realised from observations in the last couple of years that the embryonic flowers are actually formed during the summer so we can know well in advance how well they will flower. One of my smaller ones isn’t going to flower this winter though 😦

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      • I didn’t know that. Must check all mine tomorrow. Oh no. That’s a shame with yours. I’m looking for a new one. Might buy it in flower – to be certain.

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      • They don’t like it to be dry, Karen, so in dry summers it’s worth watering them. Bluebell Arboretum (near Ashby) usually have some less common varieties for sale although they might not gave lifted them yet. I am treating myself to (an expensive) a new one this year – no doubt I will write about it in due curse…

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      • Thanks for the tip. I’ll cosset mine a bit more. I must admit, I tend to just forget about them over summer and then wonder why they don’t flower in winter. I’m looking for a really bright yellow one. I’ve got orange and red so far. Not all are scented- do I’ll buy it in flower to check.

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    • Hi Tony. Yes it was the only tree here when we moved in. It’s turning such a lovely golden colour now and all rooms in the house are glowing from the light coming through the windows. It’s such a lovely glow and lasts about a week- before Wests plunged into darkness and grey skies of winter. It’s my favourite place to sit in the summer. Thanks for reading and getting in touch

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  2. I loved reading about your garden and views from your home. There isn’t much to see in our garden (in the mountains of North Carolina). A killing frost finished off the roses this week, and there was nothing else blooming. I must clean up the dead things the next time we have a warm afternoon.

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    • Thank you Anne. It’s a shame about your roses. I don’t know what’s happening here with the weather but I looked out of the bedroom window and notice the pink Compassion rose over the pergola had about 30 roses in full bloom. Madness on 1st `November. It’s difficult gardening here in such a windy place. But the views in all four directions are really glorious. I went to visit a walled garden yesterday, and their winter vegetables -planted same time as mine- were nearly twice the size because of the protection afforded by the sunny walls. I did feel a bit envious, I must admit. Then came home and fed and watered mine, and finally got out some fleece and gave them a duvet. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. Hoping you have a warm afternoon for your gardening soon. Karen

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    • Ah, thanks Cathy. I was fumbling around for words today and just decided to post what I’d got and hope for the best. I knew my friends would fill in the gaps for me with names I’d forgotten. Thanks for reading and for your lovely kind words. I didn’t know that about the mushrooms! Made me laugh. Thanks again. Karen x

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  3. I found this blog wonderful, I am so envious of your lovely views, tho’ not so envious of your windy position! How wonderful that you go into the garden with cushions and a blanket, I always try to get into the garden and sit out there at this time of year but don’t make myself so cosy, you have inspired me. Loved the wreath you are very talented. I could go on, but I won’t. I shall read and reread this blog as it gives me a warm autumnal glow.

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    • Thank you for your very kind words. The trunk of that tree was so warm at the weekend. It was like a living radiator. I stood there, leaning on the tree taking photos , and the warmth was such a comfort. I don’t like winter. My potting shed greenhouse and that tree are a kind of balm. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. You’ve encourage me to write some more. I never thought anyone would bother reading my quickly-scribbled jottings as I go about the garden. Thank you. x

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  4. A fascinating, well-produced post. We have an inherited eucomis that comes up each year hard up against the kitchen wall in a paving crack. On the strength of that, Jackie planted two more in gravelly soil nearby. All have done well this year. Not knowing that my Head Gardener had already seen this post I showed her the ‘Skyrocket’ – she told me that she had already seen it and that Cathy had identified it 🙂

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    • Thank you Derrick. It’s amazing how little soil those eucomis need to survive. In fact the ones we put in good soil rotted over the winter. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. All the best. Karen

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    • Ah, thank you so much Mike. You are welcome to enjoy my garden any time. Wish you lived nearer to be honest. The best I can do is share on here. I do love your plot though. And the difference is you meet friends there. We can go for days on end and not see anyone here. It’s one of the reasons I write about the garden and do twitter. Otherwise the only company I have here most of the time is the cows! I do enjoy the views though, and know that one day we will have to move to somewhere smaller because I have a disability. So I’m just making the best of it while I can. Thanks for reading. All the best. Karen x

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  5. Karen, your garden is beautiful. Thank you for the walk through your garden watching your beautiful plants with your magnificent photos. Good harvest of apples! They are appetizing and I would eat one right now with your permission! Your chairs with those beautiful blankets and those cushions look beautiful and very comfortable. I also like to see the garden and how it changes colors. I just returned from the country house to the Madrid apartment because I live with my parents and have a lot of appointments with doctors (I also have some). I love your neighbors the cows and I’m glad they keep you company when you’re in the garden working. They are really pretty: I love cows. You are a great craftswoman: the crown is beautiful and speaks of the countryside. Your good heart makes you asylum the animals that leave near your house: it is something that is not paid with money, only with love. Memories to your Mother. Special greetings from Margarita.

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    • Ah, you are so kind and generous Margarita. Good luck with your doctors appointments. I have rather a lot of those too. Gardening is a great comfort when you have poor health, isn’t it. Thanks again for reading and for getting in touch, and for your lovely kind words, which encourage me to write and take more photos. Special Greetings and love from karen and Mum xxx

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    • Thank you kindly, Brian. It’s just an i-phone se type. Two years old. My last I-phone was 6 years old. But this one isn’t as strong as the last and the battery isn’t as good. But the camera is much improved. I will go for a Samsung next time though as I feel the I-phones are going down hill, quality wise, and the price is just ridiculous. I use the camera phone because it is always in my pocket so that my family can contact me. If I had a proper camera, I probably wouldn’t have it on me at the right moment. All my posts and photos are snapshots of my daily life in the garden. I don’t edit them or mess about with them in any way, they are warts and all- telling it as it is. Thanks again for reading and for getting in touch. All the best. Karen

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