An Autumn Flop
This year my garden is full of autumn surprises, but unfortunately not of the falling leaf variety. My autumn trees - like my sun-starved Autumn Joy sedums - have been a total flop. The late April weeks were just not cold enough, and I'm complaining!
Real Autumn Colours
Even the Dogwoods didn't have a chance to show their delightful cherry red and green leaf colour. There's been no golden fire in the flowering Cherries, and the Oak trees have been unspectacular in their brown-ness. My purple Cotinus usually reinvents itself in early May as an orange-and-magenta Smoke Bush. Not this year.
No Frosts - Yet!
We've had no early autumn frosts to nip at the colour spectrum, and get the flame colours firing. Warm nor-west winds have obliged by prematurely blowing leaves off some trees, resulting in The Great Autumn Leaf Rake-Up being rather dull. The usual autumn tree colours are barely there - it's all very pale brown.
Autumn Colour - Choisya Flowers
There have, however, been several shrubby surprises. Firstly the big evergreen Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom) in the Island Bed decided to 'spring' into full flower! It covered itself all over with delicate, creamy white blossoms, looking for all the gardening world as if winter was long gone. What a beautiful thought!
The other autumn surprise has been my climbing rose Bantry Bay, which by now has usually gone into scruffy, ragged, messy, and definitely unhealthy-looking winter hibernation mode. This year, perhaps sensing that its days might be numbered, Bantry Bay has decided to confuse me.
Autumn Colour - Rose Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay has a healthy scattering of lovely fresh pink flowers, surrounded by shiny new green leaves. Disgracefully ugly in all seasons except spring, this rose has been under threat for years. Autumn is, after all, the traditional unwanted-roses burning season...
Autumn Colour - Blue Delphinium
There are some blooming successes in my perennial garden, too. Guess who actually remembered to trim her delphiniums, and thus is now enjoying some beautiful electric-blue autumn flowers? It couldn't be that same gardener who forgot, yet again, to stake the big white Dahlias?