Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Unreal Autumn

Autumn is a time for stumbling upon unusual sights in the garden. Bizarre growths begin to suddenly droop from certain plants, in the most conspicuous manner! Has somebody spiked the morning tea with something a bit stronger, or has an art student run amok overnight as part of some modern installation nonsense? The truth is perhaps that plants are weird! Or at least, some of them bear fruit and drop their leaves in the most weirdly wonderful ways! I rather enjoy these fantasy undercurrents at this time of year, there’s more than a hint of Alice in Wonderland about the place. Of course that incorrigible old cad Jack Frost has already begun sweeping many of these sights away, so here are some of the more intriguing delights spotted at Hidcote recently.

The candy-pink seed pod flourish of Euonymus europaeus. If you have a hankering after autumn interest, look no further! I’m quite sure those orange seeds were sold in the sweetshop when I was a lad

Symphoricarpos albus, or the Snowberry. I suspect these are nothing more than foam balls, arranged in this manner by the squirrels to mess with our minds!

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'. Profusely bizarre.

Not plastic beads, but the drooping fruit of Berberis ‘Barbarossa’. Major Johnston was rather a fan of Berberis, and this is probably the best specimen he planted. These red berries cover the entire shrub and last for months, causing considerable excitement amongst visitors

The ribbon-like autumn display of Cornus florida rubra

In the correct light, the seed pods of Honesty (Lunaria annua) look more like glass lenses

The autumn colour of Parrotia persica is stunningly bizarre. A whole raft of colours get rolled out, but here I think are the lipstick marks of a kiss by Mother Nature herself!

Some unfortunate ladybirds apparently unaware Parrotia persica is deciduous

This is actually the flower of Fascicularia bicolour! At this point the Mad Hatter turns to you and says, “Would you like a little more tea?”

My poor blog has been languishing lately; the old girl is suffering terribly from neglect. It would be pleasing to describe how I’ve been spending my days loafing in front of a large log fire, dividing my time between mulled wine and mince pies… but the reality is far less cheering. The past few weeks have involved college, college work and even college-themed dreams! The end is near, and it is now less about the joy of learning and more to do with getting the blasted thing finished in time! Our last block is in February (iceberg ahead!) followed then by the graduation ceremony in July. A less than helpful way to arrange the timetable perhaps, but ‘ours is not to reason why’. I now have a backlog of topics to wade through, so if it appears some of the images over the next few posts were taken weeks ago, it’s probably because they were!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


I’m currently away at college for the regular fortnightly dose of book-worming and garden visits. The past two months have been dashed stressful with an assortment of assignments and deadlines to wade through, and we’ve been lumped with plenty more of that kind of thing over the past week and a bit! Thankfully, back to Hidcote next week. And speaking of which, the garden has been featured once again on BBC4 with the hour-long documentary first broadcast back in June. Please see here. Cheerio!
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