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Autumn 2

October 4, 2012

I often wonder what I would plant if starting again with a completely blank canvas. I am strongly attracted to cream, white and green flowers as well as box hedges, box balls and box cones all of which are evergreen. But I am not sure I am disciplined enough to stick to such a strict palette, it would mean less impulse buying at the garden centre for a start.

But today I snapped Hydrangea arborescens ‘Limelight’ looking very dramatic against the red wall in a neighbour’s garden. And since that meets the criterion for cream flowers and it’s in bloom now I’ll be adding it to my shrub list.

In the same garden this handsome collection of box balls looked gorgeous sitting under a Bramley apple tree.  Box provides evergreen interest throughout winter and maintains form as the leaves drop from surrounding trees.

Walking back through my own garden the handsome leaves of Pulmonaria  ‘Sissinghurst White’  were looking dramatic and healthy thanks to the wet summer. The heavily spotted evergreen and cream leaves thrive well under shrubs in part-shade provided they have enough moisture.  Ideally they like to have their roots in damp soil but if they dry out and look poorly then simply cut them back to ground level give a good soak and a feed and this will encourage fresh new growth.  They can be lifted and divided every three years and in very early spring pretty white flowers emerge through the foliage.

I usually grow Butternut Squash because it keeps well and it’s possible to cut and eat the entire vegetable, skin and all, when roasted. This year I tried an edible pumpkin Baby Pam and was delighted with the speed with which it grew producing about five fruit on each plant. It does need peeling however, which isn’t difficult with a potato peeler and I am pleased to say it roasts very easily and has a delicious sweet flavour. I drizzled olive oil and dotted butter over the cut pieces, added sliced red onion and ground lots of black pepper and sea salt and roasted  for 45 mins at 200 C.

My friend Sue is a wonderful artist whose work focuses on both the wider landscape and produce from her allotment. This is a soft pastel drawing of a radish and there are more fruit and vegetable drawings to follow this autumn.

This week I cut flowers of the pink and white Japanese anemones even though they last for a relatively short time, dropping petals after three days, when picked for the house. I was clearing out the cellar and found this lovely wobbly glass jar which I thought would be perfect for the simple blooms.

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