In the back garden the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) has changed to its autumn colour and today the leaves are falling waiting to be gathered in for composting.
My Hydrangea from the Savill Gardens in the U.K. is keeping dusty pink flower heads, the soft colours in keeping with the autumn tones.
In the front garden I am still enjoying sitting outside and eating lunch on a small portable table as the big one has been stored away as we felt the warm weather could not last – but it has.
Our Salvia leucantha growing in a pot in the patio supplies us with plenty to watch as the bumble bees love it.
The carder bumble bees are Kourosh’s favourite.
The hummingbird hawk moth is a constant visitor and has the right equipment to get to the nectar of these salvias.
This bright blue salvia is in a pot too but will get put into the garden as soon as it has finished flowering.
This salvia has a beautiful flower.
I find it grows too tall. The wall is about two and a half metres. I thought it might grow less when I moved it to the front garden last year as it gets a lot of sun here. It has grown just as tall in its new position and I just think it looks leggy. Any suggestions?
We are still waiting for proper rain to give the garden a good soak after this hot, dry summer.
Nothing is the same this year and now our spring flowering Prunus “Accolade” has started flowering.
The rape crop for next year has already been planted in fields nearby but the weather is so mild that the sunflower seeds that have fallen from the plants harvested in the summer have now started to grow and bloom in between the rape plants.
This must be an unexpected treat for the bees.
Elsewhere in the garden, Kourosh’s lemon tree is enjoying the exceptionally warm and sunny days and it looks as if we will be able to take all the lemons off the tree before it needs to be taken indoors. There is a crop of about fifty lemons which is not bad for such a small tree.
I will be gathering in my peppers “Havana Gold” in a day or two. I have two pots and I find them very decorative, especially at this time of year. They are just right for me as they provide a good flavour in sauces and soup without being too hot. I just wash and deseed them before freezing them to store.
The Asters are just about finishing so I will have to say goodbye to my little blue butterflies that come into the garden for the nectar from the asters. I have been so pleased with them that we are going to enlarge the border to provide more space for them for next year.
The Salvia leucantha steals the show in the garden just now. It is delicate but I am going to try again this winter to see if I can over winter it in the soil. I did not succeed last year so I must increase the protection.
This is another of the Salvias that has been flowering throughout the summer and is still going strong.
I noticed that whereas the bumblebees push straight into the Nerine Bowdenii flowers that the honey bees take a more indirect route and find nectar by prospecting around the outside base of the flowers. I find these flowers very rewarding. Once you take the trouble to plant the bulbs, they pop up to brighten the garden when other flowers are fading.
My Cosmos is overgrown and falling but I cannot tidy it up as the Goldfinches have it marked and return faithfully as they seem determined to have every last seed.
This morning on my way to take the photographs of the sunflowers, I spotted a “sanglier” (Sus scrofa) running across the vines into a wood. These wild pigs live in the woods in France and can cause damage if they root around in the garden, or if they run in front of a car because they can be very large.
Our region has had water restrictions imposed for agriculture use to protect water table levels. There are still no restrictions on domestic use for gardens or washing cars. I’ve planted my broad beans anyway. I have been protecting unused parts of the vegetable garden with cardboard and I hope to put compost on top of it in the winter.
That means mousie has been turfed out of his house. It looks pretty comfortable if you could imagine it with a cardboard roof.
Still the mouse did not do so much damage as the moles did in my saffron patch. Last year I thinned out the bulbs and planted them in straight rows and then sowed Phacelia in between the rows. All that went well and I covered the patch with cardboard after the Phacelia flowers had finished. That really kept down the weeds down until now when the saffron is popping through…but not in straight lines.
I rushed out and took a photograph of the first saffron flower of the season. I think the soil is dry for them this year.
On the topic of food, we have had a good bowlful of walnuts from the tree we planted about fifteen years ago. You need to be patient if you want your own walnuts.
I have found a two tone Cosmos sulphureus. It is half between my yellow ones and orange ones. I have kept the seeds. You never know… It will be fun to try them next year.
Meantime the bees are indifferent to the colour of the Cosmos.
There are a lot going to seed now but I find the seed heads attractive too. I have not seen the birds going for the seeds but I presume they must.
The Salvia uliginosa attracts both the bumble bees and honey bees at the moment.
I like to watch the honey bees on my tall dark Salvia. The flower looks too long for them but they must just fit in as they disappear completely inside for some time before entering the next flowerlet.
It has been too hot for my Madame Isaac Pereire rose this year but I am glad she has not lost her attraction for the bumble bees who go deep inside to buzz in satisfaction.
I have a problem and was unsure if I should broach it but I took courage and ran outside and took a photograph of it.
Kourosh is an inveterate seed collector. I have banned him collecting any more tree seeds because once you have a tree it is difficult to part with it. The problem is we have a tree but we have no idea what it is.
This is a close up of the leaf.
This is a photograph taken of the tree in flower in Girona, Spain in May 2015 during their flower festival.
The previous year’s fruit was still on the trees. I was sure it would be easy to find the identity of these beautiful, sweet perfumed trees once we returned home. I would like to know if it had a chance to survive here and of course I would be so grateful if anyone recognised it.
There is no doubt about it. Summer is coming to an end.
Still, September has been an amazing month and even after the occasional early morning mist the sun burnt through later on to give us sunshine.
I have to thank my husband for venturing into the back garden in his pyjamas to capture these images! I was too happy contemplating the mist from inside over my second mug of tea.
In fact, I’ve been doing quite a bit of contemplating about the garden. I’ve been happy with my sunflowers Vanilla Ice and the darker ones which are the offspring of my last year’s Earth Walker.
I can’t get enough of sunflowers. I like the early single head ones and these multi-headed ones really brighten up the garden in the late summer.
My new Salvia coahuilensis is going to be success against the Cosmos sulphureus once it has got established.
My Salvia guaranitica has flowered again. I have to thank “Arthur in the garden” for the ID as I thought it was a Nepeta last year!
It grows so tall. I never knew Salvia could grow so tall. I would not have a chance of getting any close up photographs of bees on them unless I had a very tall ladder!
I have another beautiful tall Salvia grown for me from a cutting by my friend Linda. This is not so tall and has very fragile stems and several stems bearing flowers have been snapped off – I presume by birds landing on them. At least the broken stems seem to catch well as cuttings. I’ve seen no bees on these flowers and I wondered if the flowers were too long for the bees to reach inside them, but I have now seen a hummingbird hawk moth happily flitting from flower to flower. It stayed at each flowerlet for a long time drinking the nectar – long enough to get a really good photo – but I did not have my camera.
I have some really lovely tall plants now but I feel I am not showing the tall plants off to their advantage.
Of course, the plants themselves don’t play fair. These Cosmos have burgeoned to more than a metre and a half tall. I grew the seeds from a packet and then transplanted some here and others grown from the same packet I planted elsewhere but those were much shorter.
I tenderly cared for my Aster “Sweet Lavender” which flowered for the first time last year. I bought it a fancy plant support in the early summer but that turned out to be ridiculously too short. It is tied up unceremoniously to the fence and looks very sad as if I am trying to garrote it.
Plants don’t do what I expect of them. This year the tomatoes in the vegetable garden put up a poor show but we let a little tomato plant that had seeded itself down the well continue to grow, to see what happened. Actually, it has managed very well (sorry about the pun).
I don’t understand how an uncared for plant can grow on a stony well wall and then provide us with tasty tomatoes long after the ones in the vegetable garden have gone.
I must try and sort out my taller plants, I would be grateful for any ideas or suggestions.
A plant I have been very impressed with this year is the Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica).
It is a wild flower but in late summer it is a magnet for all sorts of insects.
I have collected lots of the seeds and I want to introduce it to the wilder parts of the back garden.
I think this might be a Fritillary butterfly. The Common Fleabane does attract lots of different insects, it is just I tend to photograph the bees. I am a little nervous of introducing a wild flower into the garden in case it gets out of hand but it is as attractive as many cultivated flowers.
My only worry is that it too may behave badly once it is inside the garden.