Why I Love Autumn…

October is progressing, so it is time for an update from my autumnal garden. I really love this time of year, not just for the cooler temperatures and the special light or October sunshine. But the morning mists, the slower pace, the grasses, the asters, and a kind of ‘end-of-season’ feeling of satisfaction.

Apart from some slightly stunted growth (especially the Miscanthus), the grasses and asters seemed practically unaffected by the hot dry summer.

In the Oval Bed the rich purply pink Aster ‘September Ruby’ stands at about 1.8m tall. It has been the highlight for a few weeks now, along with the Miscanthus ‘Federweisser’, which is the only Miscanthus I have that has reached its full height and has flowered well. I love it!

Aster ageratoides ‘Ezo Murasaki’ is a small bluish purple one, about 60cm tall, spreading into a nice clump now….

Other asters have been planted in the Oval Bed but need a year or two to settle in, such as this pretty pale pink one called ‘Rosa Sieger’.

Moving across to the Butterfly Bed, this much pinker one is Aster novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Poetschke’.

Pink is an understatement for this flower! It is lively, vibrant, luminous – a great one to have if you only have space for one or two asters, or as a focal point as it really stands out.

(By the way, Poetschke is one of the oldest gardening companies in Germany and this aster was named after the grandmother of Werner Poetschke who ran the family business until the 1980s.)

In the Butterfly Bed the mice/voles had fun reorganizing everything last winter, so bits of asters planted there have moved and labels have been lost! The only one I can name for sure is the Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’, seedlings of which have been put in the Oval Bed as well. 😀 Here it is pictured alongside a blue Geranium and the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’, which is just beginning to open.

These are also flowering in the Butterfly Bed…

 

Now onto the Moon Bed, which focuses on blue and white flowers.

I had Aster ‘Mönch’ flowering here. for weeks, but it is finally going over. The current blue in this bed is the very tall Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’… not a true blue, but lovely nonetheless…

The Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Schottland’ is still a great backdrop.

The white asters in flower here right now are creating a stir… I would never have thought that white could be such a lovely ‘colour’, but at this time of year it brings light to the fading flower beds and stands out so well against the blue skies we have had recently.


This is Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’ above, and below the slightly shorter Aster ageratoides ‘Ashvi’.

The other white aster I have is on the corner of the Sunshine Bed, which is extremely dry and exposed to sun and wind.

Aster ericoides ‘Schneetanne’ has tiny flowers, but major impact. It looks as good as ever, especially from a distance, like a little cloud in front of the yellow Chrysopsis.

Finally, The ‘Edge. This bore the brunt of the hot winds we had in July and August, and although the Miscanthus suffered, most of the other plants bounced back in September.

The Calamagrostis took it in their stride and the Stipa gigantea has remained standing all this time and is still very present.

I have got my final planting done, and bulbs in pots and in the ground, so I finally had time to sit on my lovely lounger last weekend and dream about the perfect gardening year we will have next year… plenty of rain, but lots of sunshine too. No wind. No heatwaves. No thunderstorms or hail and lots of butterflies and bees! 😉

Do you grow asters? Which have flowered well for you?

I hope you are enjoying your October gardens too.

Happy gardening!

🐝🍁🐝

 

 

 

 

Himalayan Foxtail Lilies

In the autumn of 2020 I planted three strange roots that reminded me of an octopus – Eremurus himalaicus, Himalayan Foxtail Lilies.

Here is a photo I found online which shows what I mean about the octopus…

They were carefully positioned in the new Moon Bed, between the giant white Alliums ‘Mount Everest’ – after all, I wanted them to feel at home! 😉

Well, in the spring of 2021 only one showed any signs of life, with no flower. So I had more or less written them off. But this spring three clumps of leaves appeared mid-April. Hooray!

They are a bit difficult to distinguish from the allium foliage in this photo

One fell victim to slugs I think, but soon buds appeared on the other two plants. The excitement mounted, and suddenly the buds seemed to have doubled in size overnight! (Things like that happen here in May! 😉)

Or tripled?! This photo was taken on the 13th of May.

My attention was now well and truly focussed and I have been checking them daily since. By May 16th these imposing and majestic spikes had just started to open…

May 16th

The next day a few more flowers opened from the bottom upwards, clambering towards the blue skies…

May 17th

They love sunny, dry spots, and I have heard them called ‘Desert Candles’, as well as ‘Cleopatra’s Needles’. Maybe you know them by those names? Eremurus himalaicus was the first of the lilies to be taken to Europe in the early 19th century. It is also the earliest flowering one.

By May 18th both stems were open over halfway…

 

The bees like it too. 😃

On May 19th they were almost completely open. Who would have thought just two plants could make such an impression!

Well, here we are on May 21st, and I am completely bowled over by these flowers.

It is a plant with character, shining out above most of the other plants. It has presence. Whereas with other favourites  my reaction might be to grow more of them in a clump, with the Himalaya Foxtail I feel these two flowers are enough to make a statement. Well, three would also be lovely of course, and perhaps the third one will flower next year. I have since read that they can take a year or two to get started. But there are several other species that have different coloured flowers, some of them even taller than these…. perhaps I will be tempted to try some orange or yellow ones in another part of the garden. 😉

This is one of the loveliest plants I have ever grown. 😃

Would you give this plant space in your garden? Or perhaps you already grow them?