Autumn colour

After the recent flood, the weather seems to have settled into a perfect Autumn week. Light frosts at night; clear, still days, and the garden turning gradually red and orange.

A poppy has appeared in my vegetable bed. Why? I’ve never bought a poppy seed in my life. It’s welcome, but I would like to know where it came from.

The hips on the ragusa rose ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’ are good this year.  They are really the only point of this rose; otherwise it is a thorny, invasive horror with blooms a shade of pink that would be a bad mistake as a colour for your living room. When I tried to find out who Frau Dagmar was, there were ten pages of Google entries about the rose, but not one for the person it was named for. It’s a sad reflection on the passing nature of fame, when your rose is all over the internet, but you are forgotten….

The azaleas are colouring up nicely. What wonderful shrubs these are – rich flower colours, heavy scent, and a blaze of red in Autumn as a bonus.

The autumn gentians remain closed up on grey, rainy days, but the sun brings them out to display their pure blue to all and sundry. This is g.macaulayi – a little earlier than g.sino-ornata, which is not yet at its best.

Hydrangea paniculata is one of the few remaining shrubs in flower. This is a very old plant – stuck into the wet clay in 1962, and still going strong.  Most years it loses branches to snow or wind, and it is so late into growth that I always think it has finally died. But no. Year after year its white flowers provide a last reminder of summer.

The beech trees are tinted at their tops. Soon the gales will strip them bare, and for days the burn will  run copper with the fallen leaves. Then it will be winter.


17 thoughts on “Autumn colour

  1. Beautiful, so glad you had a good week after your floods. Autumn sunshione brings out the best in the foliage colours at this time of year. You still have lots of lovely flowers, your gentian is a stunning blue! Do you do anything with your rosehips or leave them for the birds? I can remember when I was little, many, many years ago, having to have my spoonful of rosehip syrup every morning, essential for vitamin C, it was war time!!

    • Alas, Pauline, I too am old enough to remember rose hip syrup. The birds here don’t seem to assault the rose hips, but that is probably because they are pampered little buggers, and spend their winters eating dried mealworms and other expensive delicacies…

  2. How lovely and unexpected to have a poppy in October. You have some great leaf colour going on there too. Absolutely everyone seems to have been posting pics of Gentians this autumn and I’m trying to join in the cool blue club by sowing some seed (fingers crossed).

  3. I understand that poppy seeds can remain dormant for years but if you have been there for a long time that doesnt explain it. Maybe it blew in. I do like surprises though, always interesting

    • Hi Helen, thanks; that probably explains the poppy, because I bought in some commercial compost for that bed (about five years ago) – and it had a thorough digging over this year. I had no idea that poppy seed remained viable for so long. Now I suppose I shall have to save it. What kind of poppy do you suppose it is? Icelandic? I know nothing about poppies (apart from the blue ones)

  4. Now that rugosa whilst robust is not such a thug here. Well it’s a robust thug. The hips are glowing here but not as yet the foliage. How curious. I’ve also seen poppies, have you been galavanting. I love gentians, but never invested in them, fearing the wet would overcome them. Keep the leaves a while, mr wind please, winters long enough, no frost here but it’s darn cold. How have your skies been? Did you see the merry dancers this passed week?

    • It’s very, very seldom that the merry dancers reach this far south. I’ve only seen them once or twice in the last ten years – and then only as a kind of glow on the horizon. Make the most of them while you are still there.

  5. Hi Kininvie
    The poppies are a wonder–just like in Flanders Field, and the red goes so well with the leaf colors. I hope you let the poppy plants sprinkle seeds and perhaps they’ll be back in the spring. I can’t find gentians in nurseries here. I hate mail ordering plants but perhaps I will try it again. Looks like the sort of lovely thing I shall promptly kill– such a blue. I guess “merry dancers” are northern lights? (I was imagining a chorus line in your garden.)

  6. Hi Linnie. This is such a nice comment that I’m now feeling guilty about my churlish strictures on your pink dogwood. Why do you hate mail-ordering plants? Is it a phobia? I would send you a gentian if I could….

    • Hi again Kininvie
      Plants by mail can be quite disappointing. I have found gentians in a nursery about 600 miles south of my house, and I may try that one.

      I’m accustomed to negative comments about dogwoods–I’ve been hearing them for years. (Mr O sends appreciative regards.) You can make amends with hours of neep carving.

    • You are welcome, b-a-g. Be warned though that g.acaulis is a temperamental brute. It either flourishes with you or is doesn’t. But well worth trying, I would have said.

  7. Glad to see you are no longer having to contemplate ark-building – amazing how fast we forget the rain once the sun comes out with your gorgeous autumn colours. I think poppies will last half a century in dormancy in the dark, just waiting for the seed to come to the surface in disturbed ground. (Have you got disturbed ground? Mine’s been pretty upset about life this year). I envy you greatly the azaleas, can’t grow ’em here.

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