in my garden | October

The end of October and it is calm and still with a watered-silk sky and weak sunshine. The sun is low in the sky now, its trajectory only covers half the distance it did in the summer months. On Sunday the clocks went back to GMT and the sun now sets at 5 pm.  My Australian family returned home at the end of the first week, during which we spent more time on the beaches, celebrated my birthday in Charlestown with “Happy Birthday” sung to me by my three-year-old grandson and enjoyed many family meals together. A week later saw my middle son return to his home having made very good progress after his life-saving operation in early July.

The weather has been challenging this month. Two storms, Ophelia in the middle of the month was quickly followed by Brian: both ripped through our garden and courtyard, rattling the neighbouring barns and unsettling the cattle. The sheep on the other hand seemed totally oblivious. Leaves were torn from trees, late flowering annuals were flattened, but no real damage was done. After the storms we have had days of cloud, mist and that wonderful Cornish mizzle, but temperatures have remained in the mid teens. After all the busyness of the previous month I was left feeling a little flattened myself and it was a relief when the sun shone last Friday and we could get out to seek some autumn colours.

My bulb order finally arrived and yesterday I managed to get out into the garden and mow the lawn (it was well overdue). The grass has been far too wet to do it until now. Pots have been planted with crocuses, iris reticulata and muscari bulbs and more dwarf daffodils planted in the woodland border. The soil is very wet though, so I am a little concerned that the bulbs may rot. More pruning has taken place with much of the Virginia Creeper you saw last month being removed. It has a nasty habit of crawling in to the gutter and roof tiles and even invading our attic! I removed some straight stems from the Corkscrew Hazel, crossover branches from the Goat Willows and trimmed the Kilmarnock Willow as its branches were touching the floor.

My tulip pots are still waiting to be filled as I need to buy some more compost. I’m not going as mad as last year, just four pots. Two for the front courtyard and two for the rear patio. On a quick look around the garden to take these photos I noticed that several plants are in bud (a Hebe and Erysimum, the Camellia and the Chilean Lantern tree) so I really hope we don’t get any frost down here. The new geranium I bought is in its third flush of flowers and the chocolate cosmos is in full flower still. Bees were buzzing noisily around the flowers of the Fatsia Japonica and it seems the starlings are back.

Like Monty Don and Gardeners World I shall be back with further garden updates in the spring, all being well!


  1. I like the font you’ve chosen for captioning, and as always, I, a non-gardener, enjoy watching you at work. I enjoy also the evocative way you verbalise your garden-world and weather.

    1. Sue says:

      I second this comment!

      1. restlessjo says:

        I third this comment 🙂 🙂

        1. Sue says:


    2. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Meg. Life here revolves around the weather!!

  2. pommepal says:

    I also liked the font used in the captions. What a riot of colour your garden has been Jude, what a pleasure it must be for you to be back in a house with a garden. How big is your plot? This has been the first full year I have been at home and it has been a fantastically good year for growth, I’m loving it… it is now 4-30 just back from art group so now with Jack and glass of wine in hand I’m going down to check everything has survived another hot day…

    1. Heyjude says:

      To sit out in the garden and enjoy a glass of wine is my goal Pauline. Really it could do with pretty much being cleared and started again, but that is too much work and money so I have to do the best I can slowly. It is a small plot – about 6m x 20m but the conservatory takes up about 3m of that. Then there is a separate area used as car parking where the septic tank and oil tank are located, which could do with hedging.

      1. pommepal says:

        As gardeners we never stop redoing do we??? I’m 18 years here now and it has had so many face changes in that time…

        1. Heyjude says:

          I’m now thinking of ripping out another border which is full of old plants, some of which don’t do very well. We’ll see…

        2. pommepal says:

          Have you done any previous posts during the year of your garden? I’ve just been to a native plant nursery, the selection was a bit overwhelming….

        3. Heyjude says:

          I usually wrote about the garden in the monthlyphotographychallenge and also #inmygarden (if you click on the tags you’ll find them). There are several good nurseries around here – I am frightened to visit as I know I will be tempted! Close by is a hardy exotic one and a little further away a native perennial nursery. I shall visit both in the spring to get ideas about new plants for the garden that can survive the wet, the wind and the gastropods!

        4. pommepal says:

          I’ll pop over to catch up with your garden tomorrow. We went to a native plant nursery today and bought a few new babies!!! So it will be gardening tomorrow. Now it is bedtime. Goodnight….

        5. Heyjude says:


  3. Sue says:

    You are so wonderfully green-fingered, Jude, and most industrious! I would be in a heap after 5 minutes, alas

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’ll be happier once I have shaped it into what I want and hopefully have less maintenance to do. Then I can sit back and enjoy the garden with just the occasional pottering 🙂

      1. Sue says:

        Heehee…hope it works!!

  4. beetleypete says:

    As always, your gardening skills put me to shame. I still need to give the back lawn a ‘final cut’!
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      I doubt this will be a final cut Pete!

      1. beetleypete says:

        I realise my mistake of course. Final cut of the season… 🙂

  5. Chocolate cosmos and Nigella…two more of my favourites. It sounds like the temperatures are still quite mild. How delightful.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sounds like a dessert!

  6. Anabel Marsh says:

    Whatever the font i’m just grateful for the captions which help dispel my ignorance! Glad to hear your son has recovered enough to go home.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Anabel. I’m glad he has recovered so well and so quickly (home cooking), but miss having him about the house.

  7. Joanne Sisco says:

    Your garden is so rich with so much happening, even October. I’m afraid that the plants trying to bud right now are going to be in for a big shock! I hope the gardening therapy has helped you feel less ‘flattened’ 🙂

  8. restlessjo says:

    It’s been such a different October for me. And I’m asking myself why I didn’t do it sooner 🙂 🙂 So much joy, Jude! And a few frustrations 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Do what sooner Jo?

      1. restlessjo says:

        Start a new life, I guess I mean. 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          But you’ve been going to the Algarve for years. Does this mean you feel you are ready to make it permanent?

        2. restlessjo says:

          Yes! But no 🙂 🙂 The youngsters feel a long way away, but then I guess they are now anyway, and James priorities have changed. I need to make a commitment rather than a halfway house.

  9. Over here in the USA we move the clocks back an hour this coming weekend. I wish everyone would just stick to standard time all the time.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Indeed. It gets very confusing.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Just been wondering if you have ever ordered from Derry Watkins’ Special Plants Nursery in Kent. I know everyone in England doesn’t know each other!! Still, she was a college friend who loves plants and spends her life with them.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Afraid not. But it must be wonderful to work with plants.

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