Although it has been wet and windy at times it has been a mild autumn, so far, with a few warmer days forecast. This is in stark contrast with last autumn when we had frosts at the end of September. We have had a few cool nights down to 5c but all is well in the garden.
I apologise for showing Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ again but it is still going strong and looking as fresh as ever, and the tall stems, although slightly splayed, are holding up well against the wind despite not being staked.
Not yet planted but a very welcome new addition to the garden is Leucanthemella serotina, a tall, white daisy. It was a favourite with Margery Fish and I have planted it, in the past with blue Salvia uliginosa – both tall and willowy and flowering late in the year. This particular plant is ‘Herbststern’ which I believe is shorter than the species, which can easily reach 2m in bloom. I will have to see what it does next year before it gets a permanent home, by which time it should be big enough to divide and plant several clumps.
Inula hookeri is a newby too. Last year I planted an old favourite – Inula magnifica – which is, to be honest, not for everyone. I planted it, in my teens, in my parents’ garden and while it is a showstopper in bloom with large brassy flowers on stems 2m high, the leaves are coarse. My plant is settling down and is a clump of large, paddle-shaped leaves 1m across at the moment and I expect blooms next summer. But this little inula only gets to 60cm high and spreads a little by underground shoots and flowers in late summer. The leaves are rough and not exciting but the flowers are charming, as are the buds.
The hardy chrysanthemums are starting to bloom and ‘Elaine’s Hardy White’ appears to be wrongly named. It certainly is not white, although perhaps it will fade as it ages. It has grown well and is covered in buds so I am not distraught. The only problem is that I split my plant and gave one to a friend called Elaine and it might have to be changed to ‘Elaine’s Blush’.
The asters (symphyotrichum) are full of flower now. A few are also full of mildew. Some have been pushed around by the wind – my fault for not staking. I am always banging on about how awful dwarf plants are but I am beginning to see the point. Rosy pink ‘Dietgard’ was a perfect green mound until a week ago and is now covered in cheerful blooms. I still think that it needs a gnome next to it but I will split it this winter and use it at the front of borders as an edging until I decide I can’t stand it any more.
And lastly, a follow-up to the seedling dahlia post a few weeks back. A few of these were planted in the border away from the bulk of them and one, at last, has the dark leaves and white flowers that I originally wanted and expected. I must keep track of where it is and dig it up later this autumn.