September in my garden


This year, for some reason, the Japanese anemones have decided to take on their close neighbour, the Japanese crab apple tree, in a ‘let’s see who can grow tallest’ contest.

Admittedly, the tree is a small one,  three metres at most, but some of  the anemones are already two metres tall.

This is the kind of gardening I love: where the plants come up with their own ideas. I did not plant the anemones directly under the tree. They seem to have moved in there by themselves, and now use the tree’s protecting arms as they grow ever taller.

Nor is this a colour scheme I would have thought of concocting – pale pinkish-purple, russet red and green. But somehow it’s very pleasing, and especially on the dull days we’ve been having lately.

Every day, too,  I see the tiny crab apples turning a deeper shade of red: perfect Garden-of-Eden miniatures,  which reminds me of a comment made by Melanie at My Virtual Playground. One of the times I featured my crab apples she told me they were called pommes sauvages in French – wild apples – an altogether much prettier name. I agree. Although my ‘wild’ ones have been much inbred, and don’t have quite the same sense of abandon of the truly wild ones found in our field hedgerows.


The tree is Malus Evereste by the way. It is glorious in spring too. (You’ve seen the picture). It’s growing in a tall bed which gives us an all-year good view from the kitchen French windows.


Elsewhere in the garden things are  looking a little dreary round the edges, but there is still some stalwart blooming going on. The red geraniums look bright in the garden pots despite the recent downpours, as does this lovely penstemon:


I think it’s my favourite version of this most obliging plant. If you cut down the stems after flowering, in a few weeks time you get another showing, perhaps more vigorous than the first. This variety is called Apple Blossom, but it makes me think of raspberry ripple ice cream – a rather shivery thought on this gloomy day.

Growing in the bed just behind Apple Blossom, you can see Teasing Georgia. She’s in bud again too. This is such a lovely rose, and opens into dense whirls and whorls of pale gold.

I’m hoping she’ll open before the weather turns weirder than it already is. Forecasters are now promising us the coldest winter ever. But endlessly prone to optimism, I’m further hoping that this is the same order of forecast that in March promised us a barbecue summer and drought. (Hands up all of you in England who managed to fit in more than one barbecue between the wind and showers).


Our garden is all over the place and on different levels. This is because circa 1830 the house was built into a steep bank between the field behind, and the road in front.  Later occupants then dug out a rear yard, and added a tall terrace bed, and behind it, a high retaining wall.

I have yet to get to grips with gardening in so many dimensions, which is why I rather depend on the garden to follow its own design. I also notice that it is devising its own timetable. For instance, what does this June-blooming foxglove think it is doing amongst the late summer rudbeckia?


Just to the left of the foxglove is the dead head of meadowsweet. It has a pink flower, which also surprised me this year. This is something else the garden has come up with: creating (somehow) a very vigorous hybrid from the original wild, and cream-flowered meadowsweet that I originally planted.

I shall definitely encourage the new version, and plant out any seedlings. It is a statuesque creation, very tall, and softly scented. Also Meadowsweet, apart from being used to flavour beer and deserts, has its place in Welsh legend. In the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, the 11th century transcription of age-old tales, there is the dark story of Blodeuwedd (flower-face), a beautiful woman created by the magicians, Math and Gwydion from the flowers of oak, broom and meadowsweet. The tale does not end well. Blodeuwedd (pronounced: blod-EYE-weth) is also the name for owl, a fact, along with a reworking of the Mabinogion story, that was famously explored in teen fiction by Alan Garner in The Owl Service.

And thinking of  flower-faces, here are two growing in a pot by the old privies (now our two dysfunctional  garden sheds – i.e much head-banging on lintels, followed by standing in one’s own light so you can’t see what’s in there). These sunflowers have taken ages to come out, but it’s nice to see them at last, and especially now the real sun has gone away. It’s hard not to smile back at them, isn’t it?


Happy Wednesday!

Inspired by (but with added fruit)  Cee’s Flower of the Day


41 thoughts on “September in my garden

  1. Beautiful. I love wild-ish gardens. I’d post a few garden photos from here for you to cheer you up, as you sound a bit gloomy, but its a tad too warm at the moment to go traipsing around in my shorts and T-shirt and sunglasses nursing an iced tee.
    😉 evil grin and Muttley snigger.

    Coldest winter on the cards? Phew. Rather you than me. I wonder if the River Dee will freeze over this time?

    1. Rotter,in your t-shirt and sunglasses. If you’re not going to cheer me up, then I think I shall do it for myself and go up Windmill Hill and commune with the little horses.

      1. Honestly? I’d love to put on a pair of boots and a thick anorak and come for a tramp up the hill with you.

        Providing I can get on a plane after a couple of days and fly back to the sunshine, of course!

      2. Oh phooey with your sting in the tail of a pleasing prospect of a good tramp around Shropshire with you. Besides, it’s not that cold – thick anorak indeed. And besides (again) the SUN HAS JUST COME OUT. So I’m off…

      3. Hmph. It was short-lived – the sun. And the little horses were too busy eating pony meal to be very talkative. In fact they weren’t being very nice to one another. There’s clearly a little-horse hierarchy as to who gets first dibs. A kick in the chops for the transgressors. But I did try out all the creative settings on my Lumix – snapping the cricket club shed for some reason.

  2. Hi Tish – when you write of the garden following its own design, it reminds me of your post referencing Stephen King, if I recall correct, and the analogy to editing — and there’s something interesting to that, the interplay between the gardener and the plants that seem to rise up with minds of their own, no matter best intentions. And how they change with the seasons, and respond to light. All good things. But sorry to hear you’ve had a pisser of a barbecue season! I think I may have done my last chicken breasts here, just last night. Fall comes into town here with quite a swagger, and I think I may be going home with her later.

    1. Ooh. Now that sounds a bit racy (but fun) – running off after that pushy Fall-girl, caught up in billows of falling leaves. Er-hem. I feel an Yves Montand moment coming on – Feuilles mortes and all that – to add some darker tones. And indeed, yes, there are many analogies between gardening and writing. In fact I think from now on I shall call my internal critic Orange-bottomed Slug, because he/it has a lot to answer for on the creative-destructive front. And slug pellets aren’t doing much for either to be rid of him or to rescue the writing.

      1. That’s as dense as a can of sardines found by some abandoned camp fire beneath a rock escarpment somewhere.

  3. Your garden is lovely, wild and natural just as I like. I love the Penstemon and I think ‘Apple Blossom’ is very apt – just go and compare it to your crab apple blossom! And how nice to end on the sunny flowers – guaranteed to bring a smile to the face 🙂

  4. Look at your garden! It’s astounding. My favorite line ‘This is the kind of gardening I love: where the plants come up with their own ideas.’ I’m afraid anything alive in my yard has it’s own ideas as well but usually they involve playing dead. 🙂

    1. Graham just loves dead plants. Having been a plant pathologist he can then do an autopsy on all their diseases, deficiencies and complaints. It’s rather annoying actually 🙂

  5. Where to begin? The playfulness of your approach? (“What is this June blooming foxglove doing …?”) The characterisation of your garden’s mind of its own? The heartbreaking beauty of your photos? (makes me decide never to post one of my puny flower photos ever again) The lovely turn of phrase? (“stalwart blooming”: “dense whirls and whorls of pale gold”) The garden shed with its sunflowers? The description of the making of the framework of the garden?

    Wherever I look something to delight me on a rainy washing day.

    And then a reminder of “The owl service.”

    Thank you.

    1. So happy you could come for a bit of a wander in my wayward domain, Meg. And thank you for you most appreciative response to same. I’ll go and tell the garden, it’s doing a good job 🙂

  6. Your garden looks lovely, with so much colour still around. Actually, when I think about it, there is still quite a lot of colour left in mine too – with the Japanese anemones as the main attraction. I love them, and have pale pink ones and white ones. They are my favourite things in my garden.

    1. They re lovely aren’t they? I used to have a double flowered, crimson flushed one, but I think the single flowered chaps saw it off. You’ve made me lust for some white ones now 🙂

  7. Rustic and wild and a little bit wayward and cottagey my idea of a perfect garden. And I greeted those gorgeous sunflowers with a huge smile. I love this post Trish, in fact I look forward to your delightful rambles around your patch and allotment complete with beautiful photos and the odd story thrown in for good measure (I’m pleased you gave us the pronunciation of Blodeuwedd I would never have guessed it) . How is that pregnant pony these days?

    1. You’re welcome in my wayward garden any time, Pauline. I went to look at the ponies the day before yesterday, but no sign of offspring. I shall try and keep watch. I did find a field mushroom though, and that’s a rarety these days. I daresay last year’s pony poo had something to do with it.

      1. It was the same in NZ when I was farming there. Used to be a real glut of mushrooms. On the pig farm in the 1970’s my children picked bags of them and sold them at the farm gate. But I think artificial fertilizer killed the spores and you hardly ever see them now.

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