In a Vase on Monday- Autumn Jewels

It always seems as if flowers in mid November shine brighter than at any other time of the year. They are making a last ditch attempt to attract attention.

Dahlia David Howard, a glorious marmalade orange, takes centre stage. It’s on borrowed time. All the foliage is tipped black, touched by frost. Just a few flowers have escaped. For now.

The first pair of my 3 metre long cut flower beds lie under a weeping plum tree. The branches hang down almost to the ground. The canopy of branches gives just enough protection from the frost to extend the flowering season.

Making a backdrop to the beds is a small but prolific orchard. There’s two cherry trees, three apples, two pears- and a new quince tree that’s provided it’s first proper harvest this year.

It looks like this from the far side of the orchard. There’s plenty of pruning to do this winter.

My ten flower and veg beds are 3 metres long, by about 1.3 metres wide, with narrow paths between. I now garden on a no-dig system, following the principals made famous by Somerset farmer Charles Dowding. When each crop is finished, I don’t disturb the soil. I simply add two inches of compost and plant straight through. That way, weeds aren’t brought to the surface and the worms and mini- creatures living in my soil are not chopped into pieces. It seems to be working a treat, and my back appreciates being let off all that digging!

Dotted about, in amongst the kale and the cabbages, are patches of flowers. I wrote about annual chrysanthemum rainbow mixed https://bramblegarden.com/tag/chrysanthemums/ here. Seeds from Mr Fothergills cost £1.75 and were sown in March and planted out in May. They have been providing non-stop flowers since.

I particularly love this orange chrysanthemum. It is a perfect match for the autumn hues in this little bunch of flowers.

I’m lucky enough to be given new seeds to try out. This summer, my favourite calendula was Orange Flash from Mr Fothergills. It’s been an outstanding performer. http://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/Flower-Seed/Calendula-Seed/Calendula-Orange-Flash.html#.W-nyCyenyfA

There are a few tiny coreopsis left. And yellow, orange and burgundy nasturtium flowers. Very welcome in posies – and the salad bowl where nasturtiums add a lovely peppery tang to the winter mizuna, mustard and miners lettuce. Such a treat as the weather turns cold.

I rarely take part in prize draws, but this week, on a whim, I joined in with one from the English Garden Magazine. It must have been my lucky day as I won! Now I’ve got some new music to garden to. Just as well, as I’ve found some more tulips I’d ordered and forgotten about. That’s my job for tomorrow sorted.

David Howard dahlias came from https://www.gee-tee.co.uk/bulbs/dahlias/dark-leaved-dahlias/dahlia-david-howard.

As always, I’m linking with Cathy for this week’s IAVOM. Why not go over and see what Cathy and all the others are growing and picking for their flower vases this week. And don’t forget to let me know what plants are still in flower in your garden this autumn. https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/.

39 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday- Autumn Jewels

    • Thank you Audrey. I must admit, it does seem like a weed, but it is so pretty I can’t bear to dig it out. Seems to flower all year round in a sheltered corner here. Looks pretty with just about any other flower. Enjoy your week. x

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  1. David Howard is such a recognisable dahlia – although still one I don’t have! Must make space for him, methinks! Your autumn jewels are lovely, and I already have those chrysanthemums on my wishlist so it was good to see them again – a pretty calendula too. It was interesting to read how big your beds are – and lots of them too! They don’t get shaded by the trees then? Good to hear about your productive orchard. Thanks for sharing and have a happy and health week, Karen,

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    • Thank you Cathy. The top two beds under the trees do get some shade in the summer, but the dahlias seem to like it there. And rudbeckias cope with dappled shade also. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comments. Hope you are having a good week too. Love karen x

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    • Thank you. It feels like a spring day here today. 12C and sunny. All the birds are singing. A flock of field fares just streamed through the garden. It reminded me of a cycle race. I looked up, and they were whooshing across the tops of the trees. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day x

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  2. Karen the photos are magnificent as your vase of flowers. How delicious and full of beauty are all the flowers in your vase. The Dahlia “David Howard” has a divine color, it is a treasure and I love it. You have many fruit trees, that’s fine: the harvest will be big and delicious. By not digging you do organic farming and you respect the lives of millions of tiny living beings and the earthworm that aerates the earth and their feces are manure. The annual Chrysanthemum of the mixed Rainbow is very beautiful like the Orange Flash Calendula. The yellow, orange and burgundy Capuchins are very special. The blue Borage is very beautiful. Congratulations for winning the English Garden magazine raffle! The prize is charming: music for the garden. Enjoy the garden with this good weather you have and rest to improve your health. Give many memories of my part and love of your Mother. For your family a lot of health and love. Karen, my good friend, a lot of health and love. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of the flowers, I have been encouraged by the day. Take care. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you dear Margarita. I’m hoping you are feeling much improved now. The weather here has been amazing. So mild and dry. The flowers are so beautiful at the moment. I often think of you and wish you well. Kind wishes, and loving greetings to you and your family. Love from karen x

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  3. Beautiful colours – yes, the softer autumn light doesn’t drain the colour out of the flowers like in summer and I have noticed how the colours seem more vivid in my garden atvthe moment too. The borage stands out with its lovely blue and you have reminded me to sow some next spring as mine has all disappeared.

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  4. Lovely post and photographs Karen. I love the November jewels in the garden too and you have assembled such a pretty vase full.
    I am a covert to no-dig raised veg beds too, they are so productive and so easy to look after.

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    • Thanks for your kind comments. They are like jewels at this time of the year set against the golden leaves all around. I couldn’t manage without no dig gardening. I’d never be able to cope with digging now. Hope you are having a good week. It’s very mild here still. x

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    • It really is a last fling before winter. My one and only Cafe au Lait dahlia flower is finally blooming today. I’m going to pick it tomorrow and hope it lasts for a few days. Thanks for reading x

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    • Thank you Jayne. It’s a beautiful shade of blue isn’t it. So very welcome as the days become dark and cold. I’ve put some in ice cubes for winter to keep us cheerful. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch.

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  5. Oh what a glowing mix of fabulous late autumnal colour Karen. Marigolds together with borage were one of the first annuals that I grew from seed and they look fabulous together. I hope that you are enjoying the music as you work – what a nice prize to win. I believe that it’s been a bumper year for quinces. How many years did it take for your new quince tree to produce fruit?

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    • Thank you. I’ve always loved borage and marigolds too. It was a lovely prize. I think I’ve had that quince tree for five years. It’s been really disappointing until this year. All the previous baby quinces just dropped off instead of developing. This time I’ve got enough to make some jam. They make the potting shed smell delicious too. 😋

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      • Oh many thanks for answering my question Karen. In view of my advancing years I think that I must stop procrastinating and plant a quince tree. As you mention the aroma is so pleasant – a friend called round with a few quinces recently and their scent has been a great source of pleasure.

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  6. Borage and ivy berries seem to be used more commonly in other regions. Borage is rare here. Not many know what it is. When it shows it, it is thought to be a weed, and would not likely get added to a bouquet. Ivy is a real weed, and has such a bad reputation that it woo would not likely get added to a bouquet. I never noticed how appealing both can be until I started seeing them in bouquets in other regions.

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    • Thank you for reading and getting in touch Tony. Borage is so prolific here some people consider it a weed. And not everyone likes ivy, but I love both and I’m trying to make the best of what’s available. I’ve left plenty for the bees. All the best. Karen

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      • Borage may end up being one of those herbs that we allow to naturalize on embankments. It is technically a weed, and can self sow in odd places, but does not seem to be too terribly invasive. The mints are worse, but we grow those too. Oregano works nicely, but I do not like how too much of it smells, and it can get grungy after bloom.

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  7. I’ve used a no dig system foe veg for years and think it’s a brilliant system. I use it for my cut flowers too. Digging really damages soil structure, something that we are only just learning about. Love your arrangement, I’ve never heard of annual Chrysanthemums, something to look out for!

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    • Thank you Christina. I’ve just been outside and picked the last of the annual chrysanthemums. Such great value from just one packet of seeds. It’s been amazingly mild here. Only two frosts early in the month, and t-shirt weather up until today. Looks like it’s going to get colder next week, so I’m doing as many outdoor tasks as possible. Such a joy- my paperwhite narcissi are in flower! They clearly didn’t want to wait until Christmas! Enjoy your Sunday, and thanks for getting in touch. x

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