Masking the burnt bottom of my Leylandii hedge

Because of the proximity of our neighbours' gardens we have grown our hedge pretty high though I trim it neatly each year. Indeed it's due for its winter crop, no small matter considering the height and extent. The problem, funnily enough with this much maligned tree, is not the height but the bottom. Because I do not want to gaze at a fairly bland green backdrop all the time I plant all sorts of things in front. Sometimes these compete for height and I do have problems with dead leylandii foliage but mainly it's at the bottom where, unless I'm careful, brown patches develop. Leylandii is a bully but doesn't like you to fight back. Touch it and it turns brown.  Box hedging plants were my first line of attack, or is it defence, and these do grow where other plants are fearful of treading. Gradually where I've had dieback the box have covered the defects without the accelerated growth of the 'host'. But neither do I want to dwell on the green of the box. I want colour and this chance seedling has delivered.

I am unable to name the plant though I have seen it at Harlow Carr underneath the restaurant and without a label. (The plant is no longer there!) I keep it from encroaching too much on the green hedging behind, cutting out any non-flowering, and therefore berrying shoots, and am rewarded for a couple of months before they ripen and become bird food, with a glorious crop of orange-red berries. Tucked away at the centre of this magnified segment one can clearly see the dead leylandii. But you have to look closely. This unnamed cotoneaster-like shrub serves a useful purpose and looks great. I do, by the way, have a low growing cotoneaster in another section of the hedge but forgot to take a picture of it for this post. It too is laden with berries.

Autumn Colour

I'll be somewhere warmer when this blog is posted but here are some of the roses and colours in the garden as I depart. The rudbeckias are stunning still, the Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' has flowered since spring, I should remember the names of the English Roses but don't, bees still flourish, and the lavender is 'Hidcote'. My photographs of the nemesia that have seeded themselves underneath their pots in welcome profusion was out of focus and it's dark outside. Lovely things. 'Wisley Vanilla'  that heavenly scented summer essential comes reasonably true from seed too and I've never had to buy a replacement.

Nerine Bowdenii 'Isabel'

Offering a similar colour to yesterday's Lobelia, here is a well established bulb that is so hardy and reliable in flowering it constantly surprises. Nerine Bowdenii is a bold plant, its 60cm flowers borne on sturdy stems that defy anything the weather throws at it. It also bursts into life just when other blossoms are tucking in for winter, bedraggled and tired. There are several named nerines and I have a few. This particularly deep variety is called, I think, 'Isabel', and is anything but tired. The flower originates in the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa where the July temperature range is 7° / -7°. The well established clump sits in my tallest terracotta urn and is untouched so far by our winters. The foliage may look a bit weather beaten perhaps, the flowers the very opposite. And such are the vagaries of photography that I include two close-ups, one taken this morning, the other as dusk approaches. The colours are totally different. Different cameras though.

Lobelia x speciosa 'Tania'

On a day bathed in bright sunshine I was complimented on the colour still in our garden. It's always good to be complimented whatever one's age. Thank you, Norman and Christine. I was asked for names of the plants and had with several plants to decline except I could have volunteered the following beauty but didn't:  Lobelia x speciosa 'Tania'  is as piercing a colour as one might desire, poking through the competition, a vivid carmine-purple. I saw it months back at Renishaw and just had to have it. I bought three, one for my sister-in-law's birthday (the Christine mentioned above) though she only saw our front garden and 'Tania' is in the back. Anyway I bought three plants in 9cm pots which have grown rapidly and Christine will be given an established plant. Perhaps she will believe I paid more than I did. She knows me too well.

At the last minute I added a close-up to show the colour. It is almost too bright for the lens.

White Japanese Anemone

 Time to see if I remember how to post after all this time. But the snowdrops have been repotted where appropriate and slow release fertilizer added. Sad to see the occasional bit of mush despite precautions. But in the main the bulbs look healthy and some have had babies. I've added some new varieties to our garden for the season including some very early flowering varieties of both narcissus and snowdrops. I have also tidied up the side garden with a number of shelving units though I had a mishap when one collapsed in a storm, smashed up the clay pots and mixed the bulbs up. So I have a bit of identification to do in Spring and I'm moving over to plastic pots, quite the reverse of the general situation in our household as we move away from plastic.  In the meantime, I prefer the white to the pink Japanese anemones. No idea what variety this is as I have a few.

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'