Between Seasons

The first overnight frosts have visited and left their mark in the garden, although for the past few days the weather has been milder again.

 

Thawing frost on romaine lettuce

 

The courgette plants have finally laid their heads to rest, and their brown corpses are sprawled across the ground waiting to be pulled out.  The nasturtiums have at last been thwarted in their bid for domination, and their foliage is wilting as their flowers begin to fade; some of the once bright orange petals have turned a rusty shade of brown. The lettuces are proving surprising resilient so far, and despite several sharp frosts, they remain (or should that be ‘romaine’?) in good condition for harvesting and eating. I suspect we should bring in those still standing before the frosts return though.

 

Christmas dinner-in-waiting

 

Undaunted by the weather, the leeks continue to march proudly across two of the vegetable beds, tall and leafy. The cabbages have made a strong recovery from the damage inflicted earlier by caterpillars, and even the brussels sprouts have fought back with plush leafy growth at their tips and beautiful sprouts forming up their stems. Looks like they’ll be on the table on Christmas Day after all! Whew.

Parts of the garden seem rather confused by the weather, though. Two of the roses that bloomed in the summer, in their rather ramshackle remains of a bed at the side of the garden, have several new buds about to open for a repeat flush. Sadly I doubt that these will come to fruition, but my fingers are crossed.

The yellow crocosmia beside the shed is in bloom again, and a pink snapdragon in a container by the greenhouse is flowering again after its first flush in June.

More in keeping with the season is the beautiful pink sedum that has been flowering prolifically in the same overgrown beds as the roses above.

I think that this must be sedum ‘herbstfreude’. I’m a big fan of the stonecrop sedums, and couldn’t have chosen the colour better myself; it should continue to play a big part in this border when it’s revamped for many years to come. Its flower-heads look wonderful as cut flowers in the house alongside the giant hydrangea blooms that are also still in bloom nearby, and last well.

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8 thoughts on “Between Seasons

    • Thank you, Mark; that’s a lovely compliment! Suspect it comes from a lifetime as a bookworm, I love words and language and am enjoying this blog as an excuse to play with them. I enjoy your blog entries too. And I know what you mean about walks not being quite the same once the photography bug bites. They take much longer when you keep stopping to capture something new!

  1. If I could have my time again, I would like to be able to write like Nigel Slater – he always makes his recipes sound so APPETISING. What’s your favourite foodie / gardening book right now? My wife recently bought me Mark Diacono’s “A taste of the unexpected”. Have you got that one?

    • I agree – Nigel Slater’s writing is wonderful and you can almost taste everything he describes. We don’t own any of his books yet, but they are on my wishlist for christmas 🙂 – I’ve recently enjoyed quite a few of his recipes found online, from his own website, which is rather beautifully done, or his column for one of the broadsheets.

      I’ve read a lot about “A taste of the unexpected”, and enjoy MD’s writing on his Otter Farm blog – his book is another one currently on my wishlist. Are you enjoying the book? I suspect it will have me wanting to fit all sorts of new edibles into the garden!

      Since we’ve been living in a building site for the best part of two years we’ve hardly had any books here (though the library has kept me going for reading matter in snatched moments) and now that things are at last settling into place (most of our furniture is finally out of storage, with the last few boxes to follow soon!) I’m really looking forward to rediscovering all our old favourites – and then indulging my book buying habit again! Carol Klein’s Grow Your Own and Eat Your Own books are the most recent that we have – the veg book found itself balanced on the water butt being consulted on different sowing practices many times in the spring and summer! Just the other night we unpacked one of the New Covent Garden soup books that was bought and boxed away before we’d had much chance to look at it, let alone use it; looks pretty good and a timely discovery with soup season upon us…

  2. Dear Sara – still lots of goodies for the cooking pot at Hillwards. You must have green toes and well as fingers!

    Prefer your dark Sedum to my pinky ones which always end up flopping about now. Read somewhere yesterday that they do better with a Chelsea chop so will give it a go next year. Did you chop yours?

    Laura

    • Dear Laura, I think we’ll turn entirely green if we eat all the savoy cabbages that have survived the caterpillar massacre 🙂 but I won’t complain. And I may have rather too many spring cabbages from seed that are waiting to go out in the ground…

      The dark sedum was a lovely discovery – it’s currently propped up by errant bits of hedge and bramble so its uprightness may be part-trick. Since it’s been all but inaccessible for most of the year due to piles of building rubble I must confess I haven’t been near it with secateurs yet – next year will be something of a rude surprise for the unlikely survivors in that bed I think! Think the latest Gardener’s World mag recommends the Chelsea Chop, and suspect I may need to employ it next year when I try and coax the sedum into some kind of shape.

      Sara x

  3. Hi Sara; re books — Mark D’s one is very interesting. You can imagine him searching round for the most obscure edibles in the world, just so he can add them to his list. I strongly recommend Nigel S’s “Tender”. Vol I is about veg, so more to my liking than Vol II which is about fruit. Jane and I have a pretty huge collection of cookery and gardening books — we tend to cooperate on our hobbies: I do most of the growing, and she does most of the cooking (though not ALL). With so many books available it is hard to say what is one’s favourite, isn’t it? Have you discovered the Culinaria range? Lovely well-illustrated books that cover growing, recipes, food culture etc, etc. Highly recommended. Add one to the Christmas list!

    • Hi Mark, funnily enough I was leafing through Tender vol I on Saturday in a bookshop and it looked wonderful so definitely top of my list! I haven’t heard of the Culinaria range so I shall do some investigating – thanks for the tip!

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