Six on Saturday | Mid-October Edition 2020

The month is flying by and soon, sadly it will be that time of year when the clocks go back and darkness descends at 4 p.m. Not my favourite time of year. But it’s not been a bad week down here, lots of sunshine midweek and a chance to plant some tulip bulbs IF they had arrived. A bit more tidying up of the jasmine and the Japanese anemones and a visit to the local garden to try and find some shallow pots for my other bulbs. If they don’t get planted soon I probably won’t bother!

Some things still colourful in the garden so let’s have a look around:

(1) Whilst clearing out the anemones, what should I find but this little chap, happily feeding on a bramble leaf. The Knot Grass caterpillar, Acronicta rumicis though it can be confused with the brown-tail or yellow-tail caterpillar. The body can vary in colour between a light gingery brown to almost black with clumps of rusty brown pinnacular hair. The broken line of white sub dorsal patches and the wavy white sub spiracular line with reddy/orange spots are distinctive. Source: Wildlife Insight | nature photography

(2) In the courtyard on the steps are these Skimmia japonica.  A compact evergreen shrub with simple, aromatic leaves and terminal panicles of small white or yellowish flowers followed, on fertilised female plants, by shiny red berries; most have male and female flowers on separate plants. I have had a male (Rubella) for several years and yearned for a female to join him. Last September I purchased two females: ‘Nymans‘ with red berries and ‘Kew White‘ with white ones. Or so I thought…

Kew Green‘, or ‘Fragrans‘ are also males in case you were wondering which to buy.

Two more plants that live on the same steps are:

(3) Hakonechloa (aka Japanese forest grass) has the distinction of being one of the few grasses that thrives in shade. Mine is H. macra ‘All Gold’ and if you look closely you can see the slender flower spikes that are now turning brown. It is doing much better in this spot, where it never receives any direct sun, than in my back garden.

(4) Heuchera ‘Ginger Ale’ looking a bit darker now than when it was first bought. I love the way Heucheras change colour throughout the year. This one seems very happy here. I might move my rescued Tiarella to the courtyard now it has recovered.

(5) In the back garden this  unnamed White Rose has just started to flower. I pruned part of this rose hard in the spring as it was growing taller than the fence and all the flowers were at the top! It has still managed to grow tall and has just flowered now. You guessed. At the top. Now I have cleared the area in front of the fence on which it grows I shall try and prune it back hard again next spring and attempt to tie in the resulting shoots.

(6) The Garden.  A shot of the back garden from the Zen Patio with various splashes of colour. The oriental bittersweet climber looks its best at this time of year, those chartreuse coloured leaves a highlight of the garden and contrasting nicely with the purple verbena and asters.

I spent a rainy day cleaning the conservatory in readiness for any tender plants to come inside. I am leaving the pelargoniums outside as long as possible as last year they suffered badly from white fly. In fact the scented ones will stay out all year under a bench. The Agave you can see in the pot will come inside as will the Aeoniums.  We have an electrician in next week for a couple of days replacing downlights and installing new smoke alarms etc. so without any electricity I should find plenty of things to do outside. As long as it doesn’t rain…

(The header photo to the left is a coloured pencil effect of my newly cleaned conservatory)

As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. Robyn Haynes says:

    Super photos. Especially the one of the caterpillar. As you slow down for winters, I am gearing up for summer. Not my favourite time of the year although the garden is a salve.

  2. March Picker says:

    Jude, the long shot of your garden is so very colorful. I would certainly hang out on that Zen Patio as often and as long as possible!

  3. Ann Mackay says:

    I love the coloured pencil effect – it works really well. And your garden is beautifully colourful still – I really appreciate the things that last well into late autumn more and more every year. (I dread the time that the clocks change and getting nearer to winter.)

  4. I gave up on skimmia, too much of the year looking non-descript for the little burst of autumn interest. I did get another heuchera though to make an autumn planter. I’ve just moved all my Hakonechloa together as it was getting lost in their previous positions and too nice a grass to not be seen.

  5. With everything that’s happened and all the time we’ve been at home, it’s hard to believe how fast the year is going regardless. Lovely photos as usual, Jude.

  6. Good rose story–they will what they want, apparently. Lovely flower.

  7. The Skimmias are looking good, but what a disappointment with Kew White. Mislabelling seems to happen quite a lot, sadly. I’ve looked up the Oriental Bittersweet as it’s not one I know (along with thousands of others 😂). Is it a Celastrus? The websites all say how invasive it is but your plant looks glorious.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The company have refunded me for the skimmias which is nice. The climber is a celastrus, but it’s OK here. Hasn’t grown that big in three years. It can grow to 12m apparently 😳 I just wish it had the lovely berries.

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