Eschscholzia californica "Jelly Beans", Clumber Park Walled Garden, today

Thompson and Morgan have a nice Californian Poppy out that fills gaps very well for this time of the year. "Jelly Bean" may be sown directly in the ground and makes an attractive double variation on the poppy theme. They come in a fresh assortment of colours, germinate quickly and will appear in my garden next year! The flowers below were sown on 23rd June.

Sorbus hupehensis - let's call it Lazarus

My rowan tree in the back garden was a seedling from one of my father-in-law's trees that I planted over thirty years ago. With its pink berries it survives well into winter when my red berried variety is stripped bare by all the blackbirds in the neighbourhood.

A year ago it was dead, deceased, done. I very nearly chopped it down. Now, like Lazarus, it has risen again, soaring above my apple tree, a climbing frame for "Clematis Winter Beauty". Never give up the ghost. Give them a season.

As to names, I haven't a clue truthfully. There's a new variety on sale called "Pink Pagoda" with clusters of berries like a grapevine. But it doesn't rise from the dead.

Rudbeckias in variety

Rudbeckias are for me the flowers of autumn though admittedly dahlias give them a fair run for the money. The flower celebrates autumn sunshine and deputises when clouds get in the way.

The two images below were taken in Annecy on July 20th on our travels. The town hardly needed any brightening up but I have never seen such a varied collection.

Now follows a series of varieties, some grown from seed, some perennial:

Rudbeckia laciniata 'Goldquelle" Breezy Knees, 5th September 2015 

 'Viette's Little Suzy', Breezy Knees, 5th September 2015 

Rudbeckia "Irish Eyes", Audley End House, 27th September 2015

Rudbeckia "Capuchino", Clumber Park, 22nd September 2015
Rudbeckia "Marmalade", Clumber Park, 22nd September 2015  
And the most prolific of the lot, Rubeckia "City Garden", again from Breezy Knees (of which more shortly) 5th September 2015

Audley End House Apple Festival, 27th September 2015

We were all eating old apples today, or rather, old varieties at Audley End House and gardens near Saffron Walden. They seem very much in vogue now after decades when our taste buds were blockaded by the bland "Golden Delicious" or gums shredded by the redoubtable "Granny Smith". Gradually new varieties have been introduced to our supermarkets. There is nothing, however, to compare with traditional varieties.


There was an interesting display of the varieties available to taste.

The walled kitchen garden with its apple and pear trees traditionally grown in fans and espaliers were inspirational for such as me with my one rather untidy if bountiful tree.

My own favourite? Egremont Russet.


Daphne Perfume Princess, dismal failure x 2

Gardening is all about learning from failures. Here are two I photographed on 31st July this year ....

The "world's most fragrant shrub" proclaimed the seller so I bought two. The one above seemed healthy but is now worse than that below and almost defunct. Two deceased plants and £12 plus £5 postage lost. I can't be bothered to return the remnants to "Gardening Express" to satisfy their terms and conditions so an expensive experience and I will not buy from the company again. I did, by the way, plant and water the plants properly. Not properly enough.

Clumber House, Nottinghamshire.

Clumber Park is featuring an outside exhibition of the old Clumber House, the home of the Dukes of Newcastle. It was demolished in 1938, an act of destruction repeated all over Britain at a time of high death duties and taxation. Sadly and perhaps overwhelmingly the owner had tired of the property and the expense of maintaining such a large household at a time of increased austerity. The first two photographs were taken from the display boards.

The house was sold for £70,000 and the contents raised £60,000. The substantial parkland was purchased by the National Trust in 1948.  

And should you be considering a visit, this is what it looked like on Wednesday, 23rd September 2015. Lovely stables, lovely church, lovely Virginia Creeper, no mansion. It is nevertheless a wonderful place for walks and cycling, maintained with love by the National Trust.

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'