Weather has helped prolong colour show
There has been no shortage of garden colour in recent weeks. Deciduous trees and shrubs have played their part, and reasonable weather has helped prolong late summer border displays.
A collection of hardy Fuchsia magellanica, with tubes of white, red and shades of pink, have excelled themselves this autumn. There are also group plantings of fuchsia ‘Genii’, whose pale green foliage turns almost golden in late autumn. Softwood stem cuttings are taken from them each year to retain vigorous plants. We secure continuity of bloom by pruning some severely after leaf fall, others lightly.
There’s a huge crop of red-purple berries on the shrubby Leycesteria formosa this year. They’re visually attractive to us, but appetisingly so for the resident blackbirds. The stems are hollow inside and do root from hardwood cuttings but, thanks to the birds, seedlings spring up everywhere. Showy, pink flower spikes of Calluna vulgaris have now faded, but groups of winter heathers ( Erica carnea) are showing masses of buds. We’ve been picking and storing apples since early September, and the large autumn raspberries are still providing the occasional serving for breakfast. Winter cabbages, sprouts and leeks are growing strongly in the vegetable beds, and perpetual spinach has responded to a severe trim with hedge clippers with succulent new leaves.
Several early chrysanths that were still in bud outdoors, have been lifted with a good rootball and transferred to bloom in the calm base of a greenhouse border. Meanwhile, two cell trays of leaf lettuce, ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Lollo Rossa’, have germinated and will be planted in the border. Then we can enjoy fresh lettuce on a cut-and-come-again basis over winter.
Drooping blooms of Leycesteria formosa turn into appealing berries
Apples ‘Braeburn’ and ‘Redlove’ are healthy and numerous
Creamy-pink chrysanths flower freely
A garden full of unusual plants and a big collection of fruit and vegetables in Alnwick, Northumberland.