Monday, 25 October 2010

Time to wrap up

Gosh… is it that time already? Don’t worry I won’t bore regular visitors with another blog post on how I have just protected my Gunnera plant for the winter. Suffice to say it was done yesterday after predictions of frost and low temps overnight. We switched of the water supply to our outside tap then too.

This morning, the frost came as predicated. I went out with my camera early this morning as the sunshine warmed frost on my Arbour seat. Don’t you just love the shadows and light of this time of year?




Frost was also seen on Japanese Anemone flowers and a Hellebore (beside my tiny rock pool pond) that has been in flower for some time – out of season I should say. Another out of season, is a flower bud on my Clematis, Miss Bateman.

Leaves of Heuchera and Acer had an ice coating over them as they hugged the ground. I love the patterns and textures of them too. The seed heads of Klein Fontaine, an ornamental grass, was free from frost catching the early sunshine.




Meanwhile, behind my garden gate the sunshine doesn’t appear until afternoon. I went there to check on my newly protected Gunnera plant and smiled to see a suggestion of frost on the newly upturned leaves.

Not all in my garden had a good covering of frost this time. Between my gate and the Gunnera I spotted some 'free from frost' Fungi on a rotting piece of tree/log.

This was just a brief camera outing. Also seen in my back garden this morning were wonderful deep red leaves on my small Acers, red berries on my Cotoneaster tree, fluffy Clematis seed heads, Red Campion still in flower and Gentian flower buds trying to open but struggling with the cold.

Early evening in my front garden saw Sedums, Nepata, Penstemons, Lavender and the perennial wallflower Bowles’ Mauve flowering in the late sunshine. I must get a brief camera outing there soon before everything changes.

Cameras will be clicking in gardens all around the world just now recording the current changes, the best bits from the year, the disappointing bits, the ‘must move this’ in the Spring reminders as well as the ‘remember I planted this’ there!




For many of my gardening blog friends and visitors who can’t grow a Gunnera this last close-up photo of the flower spike is for you. I know it is the giant umbrella-like leaves that are the main attraction of this plant but the flowers really are quite extraordinary looking.

For those new to growing Gunnera you can see how I have protected this plant in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

This year I have used hay again between the upturned leaves. I’ll probably add more material from the garden on top of these leaves as I tidy things up. The end-of-the-year garden tidy must be well underway in many gardens. How’s yours going?


All photos above were taken on October 25th 2010.

10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

No frost here yet. I am amazed that you can grow gunnera. I don't think it would grow here even with protection. My garden is slowly going to sleep. We have had warmer than normal temps and no rain. I am sure you are tired of me whining about no rain but it is fore most on my mind since everything is looking so poorly. We are currently in a wind storm. Poor Luna doesn't even want to go out. It sounds scary. Maybe it is just the time of year. Ha..

shirl said...

Hey Lisa, I hope your windstorm will pass soon. Doing a quick search I see it's the worst you have had in a number of years. No wonder Luna wants to stay indoors. By the time it does go it will be fireworks that may keep her in again. Shame.

Gunneras are grown in many of the big gardens here in the UK. Cornwall (England) has lots (good rainfall there too). Edinburgh Botanical garden has a good sized pondside planting too. Plenty rain there too.

Guessing your hot and dry climate would make them tricky to grow unless in water that wouldn't dry up. Oh... I fully understand you mentioning your shortage of rainfall this year. As I said, if we could send you some :-)

Juliet said...

It's cold here too, but no frost yet ... I have got the fleece jackets ready.

I love that Japanese anemone - is it Honorine Jobert? I dithered about planting any here and decided against it as my parents found them very invasive in their garden - I always wonder whether they would have been OK in my (very different) soil conditions though.

Carol said...

What an amazing plant your Gunneras is! I love the close up photo of its flower. Hellebores in bloom . . . gosh! It was 80 degrees here today but a cold front is moving in with a storm tonight ... lovely while it lasted. Good luck with your winding down the garden. ;>)

shirl said...

Juliet, by your recent blog post I can see how you are coping with the cold ;-)

Now, there’s a question I’m not sure I can answer. I’ve had that anemone for a long time. It is one of the few plants that hasn’t moved since it arrived. I don’t think it is Honorine Jobert. I’ll try and find out for you. I’ll ask around. This plant has not been invasive in my garden so it might be a good one for you to try.

After moving previous Anemones around my garden I discovered that they really don’t like being moved. I turned to the book and followed suggestions on how to propagate it as I wanted to spread it around my partial shady back garden.

I have been successful by teasing away young offsets around the base of the plant. I usually pot them up and when they get bigger plant them. They are taking 2-3 years to flower and even then they are remaining quite compact. I guess in 5 years this may be different but even then I don’t think they will have taken over my garden.

A thought here though. Perhaps my parent plant (seen above) has restricted root growth being planted between a mature ornamental grass and a small (3ft domed) mature Acer. As you say maybe different soil conditions might make it more invasive too. I have had many comments in the past about this and the Gunnera taking over gardens. In my case neither are :-)

Juliet said...

Thank you, Shirl - that's very kind of you to ask around about the name of the anemones. Interesting to hear how they are behaving in your garden, and that the restricted root growth may be helping to stop them spreading.

My parents have very dry acidic soil, whereas mine is soggy alkaline clay, so perhaps I should have risked planting some - but I didn't know much about gardening when I moved here and my parents said theirs were very invasive! Of course I am planning to move as soon as possible, so have no idea what I'll end up with when I do ... maybe I should just be growing them in a pot!

Midmarsh John said...

No frost here yet as the 'warmth' from the North Sea helps to keep temperatures up during Autumn. I have moved my small potted tree fern to the greenhouse for the Winter to keep the cold winds off it. Later it will be wrapped in fleece. That way I can usually keep this year's leaves green until the new growth is well established.

shirl said...

Hi Carol, I agree it is quite a strange looking thing that flower too isn’t it.

Yes, that hellebore has practically no light at this time of year with ferns and ornamental grasses hiding it. It’s tricky both to see and photograph but bloom it does. I’ll have to get a mirror out there and get a bit creative in getting a closer shot of it.

Oh Carol, I was reading about your storms. Hope they are not too bad and move on quickly. Yes, it's good to catch some warm days at this time of year. 80 deg… no need for a hat and gloves with you then ;-)

shirl said...

Hi Juliet, no worries. I’ll try anyway. Interesting about the soil conditions.

Looking up a Which? plant book I have it suggests the Anemone will thrive in sun or partial shade and are not fussy about soil. It suggests they do well on chalky soil or heavy ground. It doesn’t mention your clay or free draining and light as mine is. Perhaps clay is regarded as a heavy soil, if so they’ll get on okay with you… perhaps too well.

However, as I’ve said they don’t like being moved. Perhaps you could put one in a pot and propagate from it. It will be a while before you get flowers though. You could control soil type and root spread in a pot. I’ve potted some young plants up and they haven’t flowered for me yet. I’d say they are worth waiting on though. I'm in no hurry :-D

shirl said...

Hello John, ah yes, I remember your tree fern and hearing what you do with it. Thanks for adding that here.

If your tree fern survived last year’s temps it should be good for another winter I’d expect. It is a nice one to grow and have in the garden.

As you may remember, I had one in the ground (pre Gunnera but in that area) and had it protected for a few winters. One year, I protected it quite minimally hoping it was hardening up. Big mistake… I lost it.