There I was, thinking that my return to work would allow me a little snatched time at the start or end of my working days to catch up with the mounting heaps of unread posts in my blog feed – and to write my own…

Sunrise in October

The reality, of course, is rather different, so please forgive my rather sparse presence online at the moment. Things have never been busier here on our hilltop.October sunrise As September segued into October, we have been graced with a number of fine golden days, many heralded by dramatic dawns and spectacular sunsets. I even managed to capture one or two…

Sunset in October; lines in the sky

October sunset; scarlet skies

You’ll have to ignore the unprepossessing pylons and their tentacles that stretch across our sunsets, a rather inelegant feature of our landscape alas.

Garden in October dawn

The garden has been basking in the golden light that pours across the hills and valleys. I’ve had little time to work in the garden, besides a long weeding session early in the month, but fortunately it is proving rather forgiving of this benign neglect.

Salvia Kate Glen gracefully declining in October dawn light

The grasses look particularly beautiful bathed in the warm autumn light.

Miscanthus in October dawn

While the borders are still surprisingly full of colour from Verbena bonariensis, Japanese anemones, cosmos, late-repeats of geraniums and penstemons etc, one of my favourites that has bloomed non-stop from early summer is the Althea cannabina that I grew from seed several seasons ago.

Althea cannabina

This hollyhock-relative is trouble-free and has an ethereal grace and transparency similar to Verbena bonariensis, towering to about eight-feet high. This is not the best picture I’m afraid, but you can see some of its delicate stems and pretty pink flowers, here entwined with the brittle dead stems of Cephalaria gigantea – which made a great partner through the summer, though obviously not as long-lived as the mallow.

Aster frikartii 'Monch'

Aster frikartii Monch, which I relocated earlier in the year, is looking happy out from beneath the grips of the Japanese anemone.

Reddening autumn leaves of Lythrum salicaria

Our attention at this time of year, however, passes from the flowers to the leaves; the most dramatic change of colour in our garden currently are the foliage and stems of this purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, which forms a magnificent blazing beacon as it flushes red.DSC_2373


I have been making the most of the good weather on my now limited days with our little one: carrying him on walks through the autumn countryside, letting him explore the garden; where he delights in chasing the cat, tipping out water and soil (oops sorry bulbs, I will replant you soon), collecting stones and leaves, picking flowers (hmm we may need to have words about that) and generally finding a whole new range of things to put in his mouth!

Toddler in the garden Toddler playing on the patio

He’s rarely happier than when he is outside; even on the wildest wettest days, taking him over to the window to watch the trees swaying in the breeze always calms him when he becomes tired or frustrated with his toys.


This month marked his first birthday, which we celebrated quietly, playing indoors and out, in the park and garden, with friends and family. I’m not at all sure where this year has gone! It’s just as well that the garden is winding down at this point in the year; perhaps by the time it requires more attention in the spring, I shall have caught up with myself…


15 thoughts on “Golden

  1. I regularly step into the gardens that belong to busy friends and relatives and I envy the abundance of flowers and the touch of horticultural chaos. I am prone to over-editing here in order to keep abreast of jobs but a bit of dis-order can look wonderfully natural. Gosh a whole year -please send him happy first birthday wishes.

  2. Don’t panic, Sara, all this is normal! When you have children your priorities have to change. The garden will become a play area for the next few years, and inevitably some of your cherished plants will suffer!

    • Thanks Mark – yes most of my plants will either be eaten, trampled or dug up I suspect in the next couple of years! Perhaps I should start a holly collection… 😉

  3. Oh I imagine that you need eyes in the back of your head now Sarah. Where has that year gone? Happy birthday to your little man! I That bronze grass looks fabulous and I’m kicking myself for not sowing the althaea cannabina seeds that have been lurking in my seed box since the spring.

    • Ha ha yes, he is remarkably quick at getting hold of anything you hadn’t quite noticed yet that he shouldn’t have! There’s always next year for Althea cannabina, hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  4. A year! Back to work! Time is a thief indeed… What a lovely time you have been having with your son and those gorgeous sunsets though – and occasionally able to see what’s blooming in your garden 😉 Enjoy…

  5. I think your garden is looking good, especially the grasses caught in the light. Having so much fun in it with your son is much more important than where the bulbs end up.

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