Sunday, 30 October 2011

Magic in the walls

The entrance to the walled gardens
To the splendidly formal but entirely accessible gardens of Penshurst Place this week, which closed for the winter today. The building itself is the closest we have to Hogwarts around here (they recorded the sound of the creaking floorboards in the long gallery here for the Harry Potter soundtrack), but to my mind it’s in the gardens that the real wizardry occurs.

Friday, 21 October 2011

First frost

The rudbeckias, staunchly gritting their teeth and smiling through the cold. 

I had wandered out with Bill early in the morning, noticed the chill air, but not ventured more than a few steps from the back door in the dark. The penny dropped while I pulled on my boots as a prelude to loading up the Land Rover for Thursday’s gardening round calls. That familiar, rasping noise – absent from the early morning soundscape for months but instantly recognisable as the sound of the neighbours scraping their windscreens. We’d had our first frost of the autumn.

It hadn’t been a severe one. Not harsh enough to worry the Canary Island date palm or the pelargoniums basking in the relative warmth of the courtyard – but sufficient to transform the lawn to a silvery carpet, perfectly complementing the lavender hedge, and to rime the margins of the remaining flowers with a delicate, icy border. The dahlias, very late this year, won’t be putting on much more of a show.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Orchard crate

Delighted recently to receive a commission from a lovely young couple for a wooden box in which to place presents at their wedding reception. Stuart and Nicky were hoping for something with a similar finish to the herb planter I blogged about in June, but in the style of an apple crate or bushel box – quite appropriate for the time of year!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Deadheading by dusk

October, and while people who ought to know about these things argue over whether or not we were having an Indian Summer (we weren’t, apparently – just a late warm spell), there’s no denying we’ve all been given a late reprieve from autumnal maintenance tasks to enjoy being in our gardens a little longer. Even the supermarkets have been holding back on filling the shelves with Halloween paraphernalia in order to be able to cash in on an unseasonably late weekend of barbequing. It’s been great.