It’s been a while since I was organised enough to participate in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens. I really wanted to join in again this month because it is such a good way of keeping track of how much colour there is in the garden at different times of year. We’re really lucky, today is one of those perfect Autumn days, with warm sunshine and hardly a breath of wind. It was warm enough to eat a late breakfast outside after the adventure of taking the boat round to the harbour, where it will be safe from the winter storms. I think this will become one of the annual rituals marking the changing seasons.


I’ve been concentrating on developing the front garden this year, so no surprise that most of the colour is there, but there are some lovely things giving me little bursts of pleasure in the back garden too.

Flighty very kindly sent me a selection of his favourite marigold seeds, and the last of these is still brightening up the veg patch, as is one of the many self-seeded pansies.

Flightys Mix

self-seeded pansy

The Persicaria amplexicaulis may be rather awkwardly named, but the flower spires have been brightening up the corner of the back garden under the purple beach tree for months now, and I love it.

Persicaria amplexicaulis

Hardest to capture adequately on camera, but giving the most joy, currently, is the Scorpion Vetch (much easier to say than Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’). It flowers from February to April, and is described as “often baring a second flush of flowers in late summer”. Well, mine is absolutely smothered in beautiful pale lemon flowers. It is only frost-hardy, so I really hope I have the hardiness of my garden correct and it survives the coming winter, because even when it isn’t flowering is has the most delightful grey-green evergreen foliage.

Coronilla valentina Citrina

Scorpion Vetch

Round in the front garden I have mophead hydrangeas in various states of decay.

mophead hydrangea

mophead hydrangea

The Cosmos ‘Purity’, which has been so spectacular all year, is clinging on but the Verbena bonariensis is happily taking over, and entertaining the few brave butterflies still around.

verebena and cosmos

I planted a tamarisk, Tamarix ‘Pink Cascade’, back in Spring, knowing I would love the feathery foliage and red stems but unsure how I would feel about the pale pink flowers. It is still very small, but the few flowers it does have this year are reassuringly stylish, or perhaps I have sunk into the Land of Pink too deeply to realize…

Tamarix 'Pink Cascade'

Feel free to skip the rest, but for completeness, here are the other plants currently blooming in my front garden – albeit, in some cases, with a single flower! Click an image for a larger view.

55 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day October 2013

  1. I’ve never seen a tamarisk – very interesting. I love the little flowers – not very overwhelming, but a little addition of color. Perfect. I also like the scorpion vetch. The foliage is just as pretty as the flower. But since I’ve been battling scorpions around here, I wonder if it got its name from the foliage hiding scorpions!

    1. Tamarisk is new to me too, but they are recommended for coastal gardens, and there are several around the village. If mine grows like it should, even by next year those insignificant flowers will absolutely smother the plant, so I have to admit to being very relieved that I like them! As to scorptions, I hope that isn’t where the plant gets its name I don’t think we get them round here…

  2. I’ve been given a small tamarisk (very small) which is in the cold greenhouse at the moment and will be brought into the house. How frost hardy is it?

    1. Hi Sue, Tamarisk is supposedly hardy down to about -9C, they seem to be hardy round here, there is one growing right by the sea, but you might need to give it some protection where you are?

  3. Hi Janet,

    Lovely round-up, I think you’ve done really well so far with your garden considering you’ve only been in little over a year :)

    Oooh I love your Vetch; I really want some of the purple one – common vetch?? Can’t remember now. But your buttery yellow is lovely too; Hrm, I think it would look nice next to Bird’s Foot Trefoil which is a buttercup/golden yellow.

    1. Hi Liz, thank you, it was really nice to wander round the front garden in particular and realise how much was flowering. The vetch is really lovely, though rather floppy. It would look great next to a golden yellow…

  4. Hi Janet it was lovely to get a little glimpse of the garden. I admired your Vetch back in the wintertime though that’s all I’ll ever be able to do as it will never survive in my garden. I’ve seen Tamarisk growing in coastal parts of Scotland so it should survive for you. Two weeks ago I was surprised to see such a large one in some one’s front garden in Edinburgh.

    1. Hi Rosie, thanks fro dropping by. Its funny, I’d completely forgotten that the vetch was supposed to flower again until I unburied it from the weeds and there it was, flowering away. Grand news about the tamarisks, I felt fairly confident because there is one growing outside the harbour master’s cottage right by the sea – mine is positively sheltered in comparison.

  5. Plenty of blooms you have there Janet, which are a cheer to see at this time of year. The Persicaria especially still looks fresh and vibrant in bloom even so late in the season.

    1. I really like the persicaria, I’ve wanted one for years but didn’t have the space – or was “about to move” so there didn’t seem any point! So nice not to have to think about that anymore.

  6. Tamarix is something that should stand the drought conditions here so I should get one. They grow to be small trees but are very ‘airy’ so don’t swamp the space. You do have lots of lovely blooms, I am so enjoying watching the developement of your garden. Happy GBBD Janet.

    1. Hi Christina, yes, I can see a Tamarix fitting in to your garden very well indeed! I love the airiness of it, even while it is as small as it is now, and I know that won’t last given how vigorous they are. Lovely to know you are enjoying the garden develop, I’m certainly enjoying the whole process, I spent a lovely couple of hours yesterday adding yet more plants to my “possible” list, all the while mentally discarding others as I went. Restricting the colour palette is helping greatly, but the world is so full of wonderful plants…

  7. Such a lot of lovely flowers in just a year, you have done well. Love the marigold, such a lovely colour. Your Tamarix will grow to be a beautiful tree, there was one in the garden when I was very little, I used to think fairies lived in it!

    1. Hi Pauline, thank you, I am enjoying having so many plants still blooming in my front garden in particular. I think any fairies would be blown out of my Tamarisk very quickly, as it will catch the North-Westerly gales!

  8. What a lot of blooms Janet- took the time to admired them all. The vetch is very fetching as are the mottled Victorian pallors of the fading hydrangeas. Look forward to your Tamarix maturing. There was one on the corner of Monmouth Street, Covent Garden but recently chopped down so that drivers had clearer vision. I miss it, though it really belongs by the sea. p.s. your pinks are countered with ambers and yellows so not sinking into Barbie just yet – more Christopher Lloyd

    1. Hi Laura, “mottled Victorian pallors” – yes, perfect description! I am quite excited about the tamarisk, such a different plant to any I have grown before, but then so is the lovely vetch. And thank you, Christopher Lloyd I can cope with – Barbie, not so much…

  9. Lovely to see so much still bringing colour to your garden. I have never seen that scorpion vetch before and the combination of the foliage and flowers is stunning. Not one for my frosty garden though. Is it possible to propagate it. Maybe you could take a bit of a clump and keep it in the greenhouse just in case. That first photo is so dreamy with the tranquil sea. I love the idea of the annual ‘securing the boat for winter’ trip. :))

    1. Hi WW, will have to look up propagating the vetch, though I am pretty sure it will survive OK here, the drainage is good and it is in a sheltered spot. I’m still not entirely used to living somewhere with such a comparatively mild climate though – 9a, apparently. I too love collecting a new Autumn ritual, and one that doesn’t involve planting bulbs!

  10. That first picture is such a serene scene – unlike here where the weather is diabolical. Hydrangeas aren’t my favourite plant but I do love them when the flower heads fade to colours of antique French brocade. I still have Cosmos that haven’t flowered yet – not sure what’s going on there. Enjoy the rest of the week, hope the weather stays fine for you.

    1. Hi Elaine, those hydrangeas are probably the most contentious plants I have in the garden, and yet they are generating some wonderful descriptions now that the flowers are dying!! What you describe with your cosmos is what has always happened to most of mine until this year, I wish I was sure I knew why this year ‘Purity’ has done so well. Maybe yours will be magnificent next year – that’s the joy of gardening, there’s always next year!

  11. Thanks for the mention, and needless to say I like the pot marigold picture.
    It really is surprising just how much colour and interest there still is for this time of year. Let’s hope that it hangs on for a while longer. xx

    1. Hi Flight, you’re welcome, I had meant to do a post about them earlier but the kitchen happend instead. its still mild here, it seems to be the wind that is doing for the flowers rather than the cold. So far…

  12. You’ve still got lots going on Janet – I’m also rather fond of the Persicaria, worth growing as it flowers over such a long period. I’ve admired the Coronillia for a long time but without having somewhere to keep it going over winter it would be no good up here. Your marigold is gorgeous……don’t think I’ve ever said that of a marigold before ;)

    1. Hi Angie, the persicaria is a great plant isn’t it – provided you have enough room for it! As for the vetch, I’m just hoping we don’t have a dramatically cold winter, it should be fine here but I haven’t lived here long enough to be sure… Glad to have thrilled you with a marigold ;-)

  13. I planted a persicaria about a month ago and already it has grown to three times the size.. it is on a take over bid. Your mop heads are maturing very beautifully. As we said yesterday, they are so much nicer like this, someone should breed one ‘ready aged’! That top picture of the sea is just glorious. You are so lucky.

    1. They are thugs – pretty thugs, but thugs. I like the idea of a ready-aged hydrangea, someone should get right on that. And yes, I am ridiculously lucky, living here with all that on my doorstep.

  14. I enjoyed your October blooms Janet and the view in the top photo. What fabulous skies. Yesterday morning was most pleasant here too but breakfast was an early strictly indoors occasion. I do like the vetch and hope that it comes through the winter for you. If that is a second flush would love to see the first :)

    1. Hi Anna, we do get dramatic skies here, and on a clear day we can see the Isle of Man. The vetch is actually even more spectacular now than it was in Spring, probably because it is more establishes, but I will be very sad if I lose it. its odd believing that it is so much more mild here than I am used to, but wandering around there are so many “tender” plants growing here, even right by the shore.

  15. I love the photograph of the sea and sky, it looks a beautiful, tranquil scene. I also love the idea of taking the boat round to the harbour as a sign of autumn. And a lovely selection of flowers, too.

    1. Hi Wendy, boats and boat activities add a whole other dimension to living here. The sea was wild today, whipped up by northerly wind and rain, such a contrast to yesterday.

  16. I like the marigold. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that type. Very pretty. And I love the fading colors of the hydrangeas. Such a beautiful time of year. Happy Bloom Day!

    1. Hi Dorothy, thanks for dropping by. I hadn’t ever seen marigolds like that either, it was so kind of Flighty to send me seeds.

  17. Lovely pictures – some things I am unfamiliar with, but so many similarities to my garden! I love Persicaria amplexicaulis as well. And that vetch is so pretty!

    1. Hi Cathy, thank you, we clearly both have excellent taste ;-) One of the things I love about reading gardening blogs is that mix of the familar and the unexpected. I found the vetch through a blog, I was so bewitched by a photo I chased up the info and bought it this Spring.

  18. I’m getting a bit depressed reading the garden bloom posts because they are confronting me with my garden failures. Pansies at the front of the house do well. Those at the back get eaten. Clearly a segregation between pests. And I bought two cyclamen (despite saying I wouldn’t be buying any more plants). When I picked them up, I thought they were the same kind because the white flowers look (to me) identical. When I got them home I noticed the leaves have markedly different patterns on them. They are planted within inches of each other. One has been decimated by something, the other left alone. When (if) I next buy cyclamen, I will take more note of what their leaves look like and buy the less tasty kind.

    1. Hi Esther, I suppose on the up side the pansies in your front garden are OK? Pansies seem to self seed here, but I can never work out what they are when they are babies. I. I’m sure I weed out more than I allow to grow as a result. f I manage to work it out, would you like me to send you some?

      I’ve never had much luck with cyclamen, the last lot I bought – for my previous garden – were supposed to be the ones that happily come back year after year. The died. They all die. I’m a sucker for them though, so I will almost certainly try again next Autumn. I wonder what pests you have that choose their food based on leaf markings Do you suppose they eat the ones they like the markings of, or the ones that they don’t? I shall assume the latter, making them leaf critics, because the thought makes me smile.

  19. Absolutely love your stunning beach photo, Janet! The colours in it are beautiful and must provide a gorgeous view even from indoors. I always lived by the sea until I came to live in London and I still miss it! There’s still plenty to look at in your garden and I think you’ll find that the Scorpion Vetch will survive the winter very well – it was one of the first plants to flower in the Capel Gardens earlier this year, providing much needed breakfast for the bees. I personally love hydrangeas at this time of year, it’s the only time I’d bother to bring them indoors for a vase as the fading colours can be glorious (as yours are!). Wonderful post – you’ve certainly achieved a lot in the past year!

    1. Hi Caro, it really is a glorious view, I am so lucky, I still have to pinch myself. Thanks again for putting me on to the vetch, though I still haven’t managed to take a photo of it as good as yours! I’m pretty confident that it will be hardy here too, in theory, but I’m still not used to living in a 9a zone! I really should bring some of those beautifully dying hydrangea blooms into the house so that I can admire them up close.

  20. I love your persicaria. The flowers seem huge, and remind me of the bells of heather. I have had persicaria on my must-add-to-garden for a while now, though I am leaning towards P. a. Blackfield with those lovely dark spires.
    Lots of other lovely things in bloom (and toning nicely too). Captivating shot out to sea, such a lovely view.

    1. Hi Sara, ‘Blackfield’ is a stunner, and very much a “you” colour, I look forward to seeing one in your garden… Did you see Carol Klein on GW extolling the beauty of heathers? I have sometimes been tempted to devote a corner of the front gardn to some in homage to the heather that blazes across the hills nearby in late summer, but I think it looks best “out in the wild”, the 70s scarred me ;-)

  21. That has to be the prettiest marigold I’ve ever seen! Love all the hydrangea blooms, too–I don’t think there is any other plant that ages so beautifully. Lots of lovelies still blooming in your garden, Janet.

    1. Hi Rose, it is a really pretty marigold isn’t it. And you’re right about hydrangeas, in fact I prefer them as they are dying, to be honest.

  22. I think your part of the world must be the most perfect place to garden–not too hot, not too cold…plenty of moisture…long days in summer. You have so many beauties. I see that we have a few of the same ones (Lamium, Hydrangea, Sedum), and some of your other plants are among my favorites even though I don’t have them in my garden. Like Persicaria–that’s a fun plant!

    1. I think you may be right, it does seem near-perfect for gardening, and indeed living! I love the persicaria, and am so glad to have enough room for it in this garden. The lamium is a new plant for me and I really love it, great foliage as well as the flowers.

  23. Those marigolds are something else! I can see why they are a favourite. For a new to you garden there is certainly a lot to see. Love the shot of the water, what a gorgeous day. Didn’t realize you had a boat, must be great to live by the water and be able to actually get out on it too.

    1. Hi Marguerite, I think it is rather lovely that the flower most commented on is the marigold, rather than any of the “posher” flowers! We are ridiculously lucky to live right by the sea as we do, and too have a harbour as well as the beach. The boat is really TNG’s, but we also have a couple of kayaks which we love to go out in when we are well enough. As you know, the perfect way to explore the shoreline.

    1. Hi Marguerite, the cosmos has been ripped to shreds by the wind and rain now, but I ill definitely be repeating that combo again next year, it’s been great. Now if it would just stop raining long enough for me to plant my bulbs…

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