Colours of Late Summer, Part One

One particular garden I visited in the UK last week had some wonderful displays of late summer colours, which I would like to share…

But first the backdrop: LUSH GREEN!

The thick lawn and fresh foliage everywhere gives the strong colours in the borders even more impact…


The hot border – with dahlias, crocosmia, lobelia, salvia and more – is simply stunning.

I particularly liked the dark foliage of the Dahlias, contrasting with the pale Echinacea in the foreground.


This border focused on yellows, creams and shades of apricot and peach, with contrasting foliage. Note a yellow buddleia on the left at the back. The apricot crocosmia at the front also stands out.


These gorgeous Heleniums stole the show!

Here the garden borders a wild flower meadow and the open countryside…

And peeping out of this bright border I discovered an absolutely gorgeous Dahlia… (My favourite so far!)

Adorable! It was on sale in their nursery, but I have had limited success with dahlias in my garden so I will just look at this photo occasionally instead! (It’s called “Honka Surprise”)

Do YOU have a favourite late-summer flower?

Tomorrow I’ll post some of the “cooler” colours I found in this garden…

Words – A Thought for the Day

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”

Hermann Hesse (German poet)

I often think that there are not the right words to express my thoughts – even in two languages!


 By the way, until I read some Hermann Hesse poetry, I did not realise how beautiful the German language could be!

Visiting Mum’s Garden

As I wing my way back to Germany later today, I will remember a lovely week of “Englishness”!

My mother’s garden in the middle of England is still looking lovely after all the heavy rains and strong winds this summer has brought them. In fact all the rain has done some plants good, and Dad’s lawn looks wonderful! Come in and have a look!

As you look down the garden, through the honeysuckle archway, the immediate focus is the beautiful clematis at the far end. Climbing through my father’s obelisk, it takes all the glory…

A white buddleia behind provides the necessary backdrop for it to be seen from the house.

Pots of lavender are still in flower…

Although looking a little battered from the weather, these tall daisies and lychnis support each other and are an attractive eyecatcher in the east border.

Nearer the house, also on the sunny side, the crocosmia is radiant.

And this hydrangea will also flower for a few more weeks, feeling happy in a pot all year round…

The mild English weather allows so many plants to overwinter outdoors – even in containers. This is barely possible in Germany. How about where you live? Can you keep pots outdoors in the winter months?

Trees, and a Cedar of Lebanon

In the grounds of one of the English halls I visited recently, this was the view. Beautiful trees to the left…

And to the right…

Most of these were oak, but the greatest tree was nearer the house…

This Cedar of Lebanon has been standing there for generations – aging gracefully!

The perfect place for sitting and admiring this park and garden…

The tea room was just around the corner… Such a great British tradition! 😀

English Borders

While in the UK, a couple of visits to nearby halls and houses have reminded me of how stunning the traditional English herbaceous borders can be.

This example is extremely well-sheltered, with high brick walls on both sides…

And it is interrupted every 100 metres or so by clipped yew trees, which offer a shady repose for the visitor…

In this case the planting was very natural and mostly traditional… hollyhocks, roses, phlox, a few annuals, and lots more crammed in to give each other support…

Further ahead we came across this incredible south-facing border which was perhaps 8 metres (24ft) deep, with a 3-4 metre (over 10ft) high wall behind. It seems to have been planted and left to its own devices for the summer. With a WOW effect!

The gardens of the next hall visited were slightly more formal… well, can a herbaceous border be formal? What would you say!

Colour was not lacking, despite it being late in the season after a dreadfully wet summer. Day lilies were still flowering and this deep pink phlox was beautiful.

On a smaller scale, inspired by these great borders, my Mum’s flower beds… full of colour and texture!

You can see where her ideas come from in this mixed border on the west side of the garden…

Aren’t English gardens fabulous! 😀

The Three “P”s

As an English trainer I learned that the three “P”s are Presentation, Practice, and Production.

As a gardener I am learning that they are Patience, Patience and Patience!

As a cook… I’d never thought of this before, until I made this favourite sauce again the other day: Peas, Pasta, Parsley!

Many of the condiments and sauces traditionally served with meat and fish are difficult to pair with vegetarian dishes. And I do miss them. Mustard on tofu? Bread sauce with potatoes? Mint sauce with…? But my parsley sauce (which I ate with fish many years ago) appears now and then quite happily in my vegetarian dishes. Here’s a summer dish, combining it with summer veg.

Pasta and Peas with Parsley Sauce

Parsley Sauce

Melt 30g (1 oz) butter in a pan. Add 30g (1 oz) flour and salt and pepper. Cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in 225ml (1 cup) of cream and  225ml (1 cup) of milk. Keep whisking on a low heat until it thickens and is nice and smooth. Finely chop a large bunch of parsley. Remove the sauce from the heat and throw in the parsley. Stir and let stand a few minutes. You can reheat it if necessary when your pasta and peas are ready.

Cook as much pasta and as many peas as you fancy. Then smother with parsley sauce and enjoy!

P.S. A few years ago I read about an English woman who had a pea phobia. Apparently she could not even walk past the frozen foods section of the supermarket without hyperventilating! How awful!

Link for conversion tables:

Dad and some Delightful Dahlias


It’s my father’s birthday today… he loves colour in the garden, so this post should appeal to him. Colour was not hard to find in the grounds of an old English hall nearby – the focus of a visit the other day…

Gardeners were busy everywhere, and as we entered the walled garden through a large door I was bowled over by the dahlias! Such cheerful flowers!

Here are just a few – take a look and let them brighten your day too!

Click on one of the photos to see larger images in the gallery. And let me know what your favourite is!