Family Gatherings

I mentioned the other day that we have had some distractions in the garden… All summer a large  – very large – hedgehog had been sighted at night around the garden. Then last week we saw three babies! Then we counted six, no seven. Wait, there’s another one, and … NINE!

How many can you spot on the photo above?

How many can you spot on the photo above?

They have been looking for food together, even during the daytime after lunch,  while Mum (and Dad?) have an afternoon nap?… Above they are gathered next to their home (under a large piece of stone near a pile of twigs).

Then at night they are out and about again. They are clearly hungry.


We are putting down some nibbles for them, as they need to put weight on rapidly before it gets cold and they go into hibernation. I have read in several places that a minimum weight of 500 grammes is necessary before they start hibernating.

Looks like this one is enjoying a solitary snack while the others are away foraging….


Now I know why we have seen so few slugs and snails recently! ;-)

In the flower bed

In the flower bed

They are so sweet, and my man of many talents got this photo the other day too …


One of our dogs has been a little worried at the invasion, but I think she is getting used to them!


Have you had any guests in your garden recently?

Tuesday View (16th September)

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we had a great deal of rain at the end of last week and over the weekend. The Perovskia didn’t think much to that, and the Centranthus also suffered a bit. But the view today is still colourful, with the pink Fairy rose still flowering…


And this Persicaria (which has a new name that I can’t remember) has been flowering non-stop since July…


We have had a few distractions in the garden recently… more of that in a couple of days. But today a tiny weeny snake was near our patio door, rather near my slippers!

If you don’t like snakes, scroll down quickly.

He was only about 20cm long, but very lively.

Probably a smooth snake, as that’s what we mostly have here.


Have you seen any snakes this summer?

In a Vase on Monday: Beautiful Autumn

After all the rain we’ve had, and a grey start to the day, I was not convinced I’d find much for my Monday vase… but then I saw the table decoration I had thrown together for Saturdays’s dinner guests and decided to bulk it out a bit. And then the sun came out!


The rose hip was the inspiration on Saturday, and the asters and sedums were crying out to be chosen too. Today I added more sedums and golden rod, some Japanese anemone, one sprig of Verbena bonariensis and the yellow flower… some kind of Helianthus I think.


With the sunshine and autumn light I was so pleased I had made the effort – this vase made my day!


Soon the purple and pink asters will all be fully out, and with sunshine forecast for the next few days I’m hoping to see some more butterflies too. The Japanese anemones have been fabulous this year, still producing a few new buds. And the sedums bring the garden to life even on a rainy day.

Beautiful autumn!


A big thanks to Cathy for hosting “In a Vase on Monday” at Rambling in the Garden. Take a look at all the lovely vases linking to her blog again today. Better still, join in!

What is making you smile this week?

Tuesday View (9th September)

I thought I’d get a picture of the Tuesday View in the evening light today…

Okay, I admit it – I nearly forgot it was Tuesday!

Luckily the sun was still shining after a wonderful still and sunny September day.


I did a few jobs outdoors today and hope this weather will continue for another couple of weeks (at least!) as it is ideal for gardening – lovely sunshine and a slight breeze that was very welcome after several warm and humid days.

Some plants have been divided (anyone want a few irises?!) and a few more lavenders have been cut right back. They should have time to regenerate before the weather gets frosty. Two loose rocks in the rockery have been repositioned. Some Lsyimachia went on the compost heap  – I expect they’ll be back next year though, as they are indestructible! And a new shade bed is being reclaimed from the Lysimachia/Hosta “clump” on the north side of the house… suggestions for planting would be very welcome. It only gets a little sun for two or three months in summer.

The Echinacea Orange Passion has been released from its pot into the wild, well… into the flower bed! Only seed heads remain now, but the roots look healthy, so hoping it survives for another great display next year.


The Caryopteris is still a big favourite… and the bees are loving it as much as I am. Doesn’t this bee have an interesting face?


What jobs are you hoping to get done in the coming week?

In a Vase on Monday: Simplicity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”

Leonardo da Vinci



This week’s vase for In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden


The grasses were what caught my eye today; some are silvery, some shimmer like gold when the sun catches them, and when I spied a white Centranthus flower among them the arrangement started to form in my mind and then in my hands as I walked around the garden.


As I added a few more white Centranthus ruber ‘Alba’ flowers and a sprig of Daisy Fleabane I shaped the bunch of grasses around them, finally placing three white Zinnias at the front.

Do you have any pretty grasses in your garden at the moment?


We had just gathered some hazelnuts from a small tree the squirrels have overlooked, so I have put a few next to the vase as a simple decoration (I usually forget to add a prop!).


It was tempting to add a splash of colour, but the pink centre of one of the zinnias stands out all the more I think without any extra pink…. what do you think?


Now take a look at some of the other vases being created around the world on a Monday for Cathy’s meme at Rambling in the Garden

Thanks Cathy!

Have a good week everyone!

Celebrating September; Reiberdatschi


Autumn has always been my favourite time of year. As a child I enjoyed the return to school (believe it or not!) and properly ordered days.


Later I relished in the cooler weather after heat/sunburn irritated my sensitive skin. And thoughts of golden Octobers, with all those rich colours, also made me happy even before I became a gardener.


Now I tend to look towards gardening chores and cooking opportunities, as the fruits ripen, pumpkins become available on the local market, and the cooler weather requires warm, aromatic and comforting food.


Taking geranium cuttings, drying lemon verbena, processing the last of the basil into pesto for eating and freezing, ordering bulbs for spring, dividing plants, and generally taking stock… that’s what I have been doing this week. I have also made a huge pot of apple compote with apples our neighbour gave us, which we ate warm with vanilla ice cream, as well as with this traditional Bavarian dish: Reiberdatschi, otherwise known as potato cakes, potato rösti or potato pancakes… I guest-posted this a couple of years ago on Claire’s pages at Promenade Plantings, but here it makes its first appearance.

I’m linking in this time to Donna’s Seasonal Celebrations at Gardens Eye View, where Donna asks us how we are celebrating the season’s change as the autumn equinox approaches. Thanks Donna!


Reiberdatschi1(I think you’ve met my Bavarian bear Franz before… ;-) )

  • 1 lb/500g new potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying

Roughly grate the potato and onion. Stir in everything else and heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and turn down the heat immediately. Turn each potato cake immediately too, and flatten a little with a spatula. Now cook on a medium heat for about 8 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for a further 8 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve hot with plain – or very slightly spiced – cold apple compote.


Enjoy your September!


Tuesday View (2nd September)

The last Saturday in August was a glorious late summer’s day, but on Sunday heavy rain and much cooler temperatures suddenly made autumn very real.


 There are many contradictions this year: some colours are fading, others are just coming to their peak; the asters are only just about to open at last, while the Linaria is flowering again; the roses are still forming new buds, but the Centranthus is beginning to collapse much earlier than usual.


In July I planted this lovely Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blauer Spatz’ (translated as ‘blue sparrow’) – I actually wanted a hardy Fuchsia but the nursery assured me there are no reliably hardy fuchsias for this region and instead offered me this… I had to laugh, as the Caryopteris is also not a truly hardy plant. I have lost two before, but love it so much – third time lucky? I planted it deep and will cover it with a thick mulch and fir twigs over winter. (And keep my fingers crossed!)



Another new plant for me this year was Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’. One plant was devoured by the snails when small, but this one survived. I love the strong orange in front of some fading grasses.



Sedums – the old favourites – are also making a statement now, and the bees are happy…



Determined to try growing Zinnias this year, I found them a bit of a disappointment at first, but this pinky red one is now looking rather nice. (And some white, orange and deep yellow ones that were planted up with the orange cosmos – a pretty combination – also turned out well after a long wait!)



“Fall is the spring of winter”

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

 Have a good week everyone! :)