Six on Saturday: 23 Oct 2021: looking up

It’s been a real mixed bag weather-wise this week, warm, cold, wet and windy, sunny and crisp – but as long as we see some blue skies every now and then, autumn isn’t at all bad. It’s a time of year when I look up at the trees more than down into the fading borders. As you can see from the boundary trees – lime, hornbeam and a big oak further back – they just on the cusp of yellowing.

This week’s Six on Saturday starts with a prize for anyone who can spot the red squirrel:

1 Red squirrel. Every morning, I watch a game of squirrel tag, as two red squirrels always bound through and up and down these trees, chasing each other’s tails and moving so fast that any hope of a decent photo is doomed. But it’s so nice to see them scampering around.

2 Pops of colour. I mentioned that the borders are fading, which is what we expect with the passing of the seasons, but I take my hat off to the Tithonia which continues to bring pops of orange to the vibrant border. One or two dahlias are also still in flower, though less exuberantly than before.

3 Patio pots. Berries, violas and a collarette dahlia are keeping the colour and interest going on the back patio. I’ve planted all the bulbs I’ve got so far – with narcissus and muscari in these little pots at the front. I need to keep a close eye on the narcissus to avoid last year’s disaster when all the narcissus bulbs in pots rotted – so this year they got lots of extra perlite and I’ll keep the pots lifted off the ground with crocks.

4 Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ is a fantastic pot plant, with lovely purpley rusty foliage all year round and pretty flower spikes that keep on coming for months. It’s especially good at this time of year.

5 Platycodon grandiflorus, otherwise known as the balloon plant, goes a bright sulphurous yellow in its autumn attire. Here in the cool shades border it’s in the company of an aster and the flower heads of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’

6 Mulch, glorious mulch. This time last year I posted a photo of myself shovelling from a pile of mulch generously provided to local gardeners by our local farm. This year I was alone so only the mulch features in the photo, but what a great sight for a gardener: free organic matter and a brilliant way to recycle waste with minimal environmental cost. I filled three compost bags and plan to go back for more!

That’s all for this week, am in a bit of a rush today as Saturday errands are piling up, but remember you can see plenty more on The Propagator’s site. I hope everyone reading has a great weekend and fun gardening for those who feel the urge!

21 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 23 Oct 2021: looking up

  1. Three years ago I thought that the platycodon was a fragile plant that would not overwinter but year after year it remains and even grows reasonably. What colour is yours? Blue as the colour most often seen? I know there are white ones too
    That free mulch is a very good thing for next year crops and flowers… ( *jealous* )

    1. One blue and one white – they are really tough, I have moved them (you are not supposed to), I have forgotten them unprotected in plastic pots in winter, no problem!

  2. There’s another job I’d forgotten. Mulching. Those pots look great – I think Violas are one of the most cheerful plants there are. You’re very lucky to have red squirrels. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Lovely.

    1. I agree, violas are so cheerful and also so easy. I have also seen red squirrels up in the Lake District where people get incredibly excited about them, here no one bats an eyelid. Somehow there are no grey squirrels here, not sure how it happened that way.

  3. I think I can see your red squirrel on the left tree trunk, how lovely to see them, I have only once seen a grey squirrel here though I think in the countryside lots of animals don’t venture into gardens. Your pots look lovely, I haven’t bought Violas or Pansies this year as in the past they always seem to get some disease, go black and die off. I might try and find some cyclamen for the front steps though.

    1. Yes you spotted it, well done! I must say that I replace violas every year, they don’t last long but keep things going over winter. For the first time am trying to grow some from seed so let’s see how that pans out…

  4. The heucherella’s flowers are so dainty. Your collection of pots are still looking great. I particularly appreciate your placement of the diminutive violas (?) in pots, where they don’t get lost among larger plants and can be duly appreciated.

  5. The collection of plants in pots look really good. I hope your bulbs make it through the winter this year. I think I might put most of mine in the greenhouse to keep dryer. Some of the tulips in particular have been underwhelming in the past.

    1. Yes I was thinking the same, at least the smaller pots can go in the mini greenhouses and the larger ones under the table. Weather patterns are becoming unpredictable so who knows how the bulbs will turn out!

  6. Autumnal warmth is so welcoming as flowers keep on showing their beauty I lv violets it reminds me of my mother in Baghdad she used to grow them next to .a pomigrant tree God bless her soul . It is a lovely season lv your garden with the surrounding trees and patio

  7. How lovely to have red squirrels in residence nearby! I’ve never seen one. Tithonias are still flowering freely here too and they’ve stayed upright remarkably well compared to cosmos. Which way does your wall/balloon plant face? I’ve been wondering whether I could try one against a north-facing wall.

    1. Actually my Tithonias were brought a bit lower by the gales but that’s good as I can see the flowers better now! My balloon plant is in an east facing border, it’s worth trying north, they seem unfussy.

  8. So good to see the Tithonia in all its glory, it is always impressive that it gets to that height in one season. Like Fred, I’m envious of your free organic matter, long may it last! And beautiful to see the red squirrel, what a treat.

  9. The trees are beautiful and form a lovely backdrop to your garden. Your garden is still looking good, and your potted plants are lovely and colourful. Here’s hoping those Narcissus bulbs survive! Good idea about adding the perlite. I’m sure that will help.

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