A Good Day


That is exactly how it should be.  Spot on.  Today was a dictionary entry for autumn.  The essence.  Like in fairy tales and East Anglia.  New England-esque, but lacking the pretty leaves.  Dry and sunny, the low light warming our souls.  Forgive me for pressing the point, but after last week’s persistent misery it was twice as welcome.  In fact I wouldn’t complain if every day was like it.  Don’t you think about changing a thing!  Maybe a few degrees warmer once in a while, just for a  change.  But mainly the same.

You may remember that last week it was half term in this neck of the woods.   The Farm was full of the wellied and the excitable.  This week, all was calm and controlled.  Most of my day was spent rescuing the delicate and taking them to their winter snoozing ground, the greenhouse.  Here I potted them up, labelled them as accurately as I could (“Dahlia from outside the office, not the orange one” “blue” “hanging basket plant”) and lined them up in an orderly manner.  Then I planted out cyclamen.  All was well.

A very special ten minutes of my day was spent watching a goldcrest flit about the old apple trees.  I followed as it darted from branch to branch, tree to tree, at times no more than 3m away.  It was mesmerising.  This country’s smallest bird, giving this gardener the biggest thrill.

Six on Saturday – If I must


I had decided that I wasn’t going to SoS this week.  Lots to do, miserable outside, lacking motivation, Madagascar 2 on the TV, crisps in the cupboard.  However, such is the hold that The Propagator has on me, I have relented.  I am hoping that eventually he will return the incriminating photos.  Until then, let’s go!

My first picture is of an argyranthemum, rescued as a plug from local garden centre.  It has flowered all summer, even though the gardener failed to dead head regularly.  Hopefully it will survive until the spring and be even bigger and better next year.   I will have a word with the staff.


I have had this pelargonium for several years, found on a table of assorted plants at an open garden.  Although it has never thrived in our damp Devon air, it is doing a sterling effort of hanging on in there.


This phormium was given to me as a seedling by one of my old clients in Bristol.   She had a wonderful garden, was ambitious and imaginative.  Looking at this plant reminds me of her.  This is one of the many wonders of gardening.  The sharing and the receiving and the memories.


This is a peach tree grown from a kernel.  It hasn’t flowered yet, it is growing like a cuckoo, but the autumn colour is fabulous.  Thanks Storm Brian for leaving us a couple of leaves to admire.  So kind of you.

As I live by the sea, it is compulsory (a local bye-law) to grow at least one armeria in your garden.  This variegated form is looking quite healthy but hasn’t flowered since I bought it last year.  Good job it has such pretty foliage or I would be whispering “compost bin” in its direction.


Lastly we have a little cuphea, which lives in a planter at the front of the house.  Soon he will be jettisoned as I have recently bought some cyclamen and violas to replace him and his straggly lobelia companions.  I’m tough, take no prisoners.  When a plant is finished, out with it.  No qualms.  Stop looking at me like that.  Is that a small tear rolling down his face?  Come on, it is the right thing to do!  OK, I might pot him up and try and over-winter him.

Once again, thanks Mr P for hosting this meme (a word I never though I would type).  Check out all the other SoSers on his website.  Another link here , if you dare ………..

Still Going Strong


Today’s gardening duties were straight out of The Book of Horticultural Cliches, chapter three Autumn.  Collecting seed, moving perennials, tidying, planning for next year.  Hesperantha were flowering, a cerise cyclamen popped and we swept the first of the leaves that had fallen in the recent gales.

This rich-red pelargonium however was having none of it.  Summer was reigning its corner, its luminescence keeping the changing season at bay.  Still going strong.  Long may it continue.



During our early morning tour of the garden I asked after the hollyhock youths that were due be planted out. “Oh” said Mrs Bun “I’m not sure, I haven’t been in the greenhouse for ages”.   The hollyhocks were doing just fine, and later were relocated to their new playground, which is more than can be said for the pelargoniums.   They were in an advance stage of decay, being consumed by a severe case of grey mould, otherwise known as botrytis.  The North Devon dank is the nemesis of these South African natives and best friend to fungus.  Although destructive, the mould was strangely beautiful and, I thought, rather seasonal in appearance.  As if the Snow Queen had visited and cast an icy spell.   At every touch the “ice” threw up a puff of spores and I tried very hard not to breathe it in.  I’m not sure there have been any confirmed report of Gardener’s Rot but I wasn’t going to risk it.

So whilst Mrs B took care of housely duties, I spent a happy hour picking over the potted plants, removing the furry, soft and blackened vegetation.  It was strangely therapeutic.  I sung a couple of Christmas carols to myself which I believe was much appreciated by Big Bertha the voluptuous chicken.  Eventually clean bones were all that remained (of the pelargoniums not the chuck), but I have faith that they will make it through the winter to display their cerise beauty next summer. Mrs B has strict “check for mould regularly but barely water” instructions.   She won’t let me down. I told you, I have faith.

Pastel Power

IMG_4126This Pelargonium “Pink Capricorn” was a gift from Phlomis Phlo (after some extremely unsubtle hinting on my part).  It has thrived in a pot in the half-sun of the steps leading up to our small and imperfectly formed garden.  Perched here the fragrant leaves are handy for a quick fondle on route to bring the washing in or even (deep breath) a little weeding.  Despite our disappointing summer it has grown well.  This afternoon it was looking particularly lovely set against the whitewashed wall behind.

I am becoming increasingly concerned by my recent leanings towards the Barbara Cartland region of the spectrum.  Perhaps my Darth Vader days are over.  Pastel Power here we come!