Autumn inspiration in our Welsh garden

All go in Wales, especially at this time of year. The cats were like greyhounds out of the traps when they were let out of their boxes, for them it's the glorious 12th, open season on rabbits, mice, birds and any other small creatures they can find...
Arlo waits patiently in the bog garden, ready to pounce on any passing prey
Django's more wily - he knows they barn's the place to be
None of their sedentary slouching around on sofas here!
To a certain extent it's the same with us too.  A quick walk round the garden before dusk was all it took to steel my resolve to get out there first thing and try to tame the jungle. I'm not one for lawns - they gobble up too many of the world's dwindling resources in fertilisers, weeding and mowing for my liking - I prefer low maintenance hard landscaped terraces, saving the grass for the wilder areas where it doesn't matter if it acquires a sprinkling of clover, nettles or cow parsley, the more diverse the better.
Grass is reserved for the wild bits like outside the barn
First things first though, there were a few trees that needed prompt attention - Victoria plum and two damsons, which were shedding their heavy load in the afore-mentioned long grass!

So ladders were brought and fruit harvested, but now, on top of all the gardening, there's nature's bounty to be dealt with. Plums will be going in the freezer, then tonight I'll be making damson jam, my all-time fave. 
Red Admiral
But before then we still had to make some inroads in the garden, so after a strong cup of coffee, we both threw ourselves into the task - P does the strimming and I do what I think of as the machete work, cutting back the shrubs, opening up vistas, trimmng hedges, pruning roses, weeding flower beds etc etc. Give me a pair of secateurs and I'm as happy as a sandgirl. Near instant gratification - I'm always amazed yet delighted at how quickly the garden responds to a relatively small amount of tlc.  And there was a surprise in store by the apple mint...butterflies are usually thin on the ground at this time of year.
Red admirals love the apple mint
Season of colour, the vibrant hues of the autumn make my spirit soar, and hopefully will provide lots of knitting inspiration. So I couldn't help but stop from time to time to take a few photos - the garden seems to have an ethereal glow right now, making the colours even more vivid .
Singing sedums contrasting the blue slate on a dry stone wall
One of my favourite plants at this time of year is the dramatic Ligularia 'Othello', aptly named after the Shakespearean tragedy, as its bold display of dusty burgundy leaves and large golden flowers will wither and die with the first frosts.
Clematis tangutica
Another old friend is Clematis tangutica, which lights up the gable end of the barn with its chinese lanterns.
It wouldn't be Wales without the ubiquitous hydrangeas and fuchsias, both in full swing now...
...accompanied at times by giant bears breeches, which seem to have gone mad this year.
I uncovered these little asters that were completely swamped by the heucheras -  their purply blue breaks up the dark red hue of the heucheras.
The japanese anemones are all but done -  they've had so little water over the very dry summer that these usually upstanding plants were practically on the ground. One of the good things about gardening in Wales is that watering is rarely necessary as it rains all the time. However, they've had a hard time this year and we've had a few fatalities.
The roses especially have had it rough though, and needed emergency treatment.  All except this David Austin rose (the name escapes me) which has soldiered on through the draught and is producing some of the best blooms ever.
It's said that a good year for berries heralds a harsh winter, but the local birds around here - finches, robins, tits and wagtails - are having a beanfeast at the moment with the hedgeroows dripping with fat haws, rosehips, rowanberries, and blackberries.
Bonfire outside the barn
At the end of the day we had a big bonfire to burn the detritis. Unfortunately, as the wood was wet, there was too much smoke to sit around and we had to quickly retreat to the back terrace where we cracked open a bottle of cold white, put our weary feet up and enjoyed the new view. The swallows came out, dodging and diving in the sky getting their evening fill of insects - a lovely bonus as we hadn't seen any during the day and thought they'd headed off to Africa already. 

Hey ho, off for some more hacking - come back soon!


  1. Jean, these views of your Welsh garden are filled with so many beautiful colors...nature really does always get it right with the infinite combinations of colors and textures that evolve throughout the year.

    I imagine that you've now got your head quite filled with knitting inspiration. Just seeing your photographs has inspired me.

    Your cats are also clearly enjoying other aspects of nature. Your photographs of these little hunters made for great story telling.

    Best wishes to you from New York City and many thanks for letting me enjoy a bit of your beautiful part of the world. xo

    1. Good to hear from you Frances. You live in one of my favourite cities in the world, I should think it too should be thinking about colouring up for autumn? xx

    2. Yes, Jean, over here in NYC, we do get to see seasonal colors, if we can divert our eyes from all the tall buildings.
      Perhaps you will have a peek at my blog,

      Now...back to some knitting. xo


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