Steady State Posted on October 19, 2011

We have been travelling far more than usual in the past couple of months, coming home for a few days only to set off again – to Germany, Italy, Wales, France (twice). And, strange to say, the garden has hardly budged. You can’t keep dashing off like this in the first half of the year, but in autumn the garden settles down to a gentle tick-over. And there has never been an autumn more settled and stately than this.

Day after day in October with a clear sky; high pressure yet mild temperatures.

The michaelmas daisies and chrysanthemums that fill the borders now, the dahlias and salvias and fuchsias and cosmos and cleomes, gradually expand, put on weight, begin to lean and topple, but the picture scarcely alters. The purple vine is heavy with clusters in the branches of the golden acacia. ‘Buff Beauty” has heavier flower-trusses than in June.

An unexpected bonus of last winter’s cold is the late flowering of one of my favourites: Francoa ramosa with its graceful white saxifrageous flower-spikes. After last winter there was hardly anything left of its low furry-leaved clumps. In their slow recovery they missed their summer flowering date altogether. For six weeks now they have been keeping company with the bright blue Salvia ‘Guanajato’; unlooked for, dazzling, lovely.

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