Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Season's end


In the past week it seems like someone clicked a switch and turned on Autumn – there's a chill in the air and damp, dewy, mistiness hangs over the garden reminding us that we live in a valley where cool air nestles until midday.

I haven't blogged much about the garden this year, mainly it's because we've been busy with life and family stuff that has to dealt with come what may – consequently the garden has had to fend for itself. I have had a little time in the past month to do this . . .

. . . a new long narrow border planted with bearded iris, red-hot pokers and alliums.

Elsewhere the garden had descended into a wild chaos – this is the Dragonfly Pond, the shallow pond dried up completely in the nine week drought but it is now full and has joined up with the deep pond through the narrow dividing channel.


For hedgehogs that come into the garden for a drink (yes I know they do because they leave black droppings shiny with beetle wing cases on the lawn) I have renovated the Hedgehog Cave in the corner behind the pond. I wonder if they've checked it out yet?


At last the little plants in the big blue pot are flowering and make a pretty miniature garden.


Through the green door in the wall the vegetable garden looks as ramshackle as the wildlife corner! Despite the obvious crop failures . . . the three-sisters mound and the runner bean arch . . . . there have been and still are plenty of crops to harvest.


I have masses of herbs! I think it's one of my favourite things – to walk out to the garden and pick herbs to use fresh in the kitchen. Clockwise from top left, here is my (self-sown!) Italian flat-leaved parsley patch; a second flush of gorgeous Moroccan mint; sage which is perfect with winter veg and pork dishes; and Old English thyme – I think thyme is my new favourite herb, it's such a deep complex flavour.


The Rondo grape vine is looking very autumnal. We need to pick those grapes – they taste lovely but are full of big pips! We're not into wine making so we'll probably just drink the fresh grape juice. The hens love them (and the pips too) so if we don't eat them they get recycled into eggs!


This a first for our garden . . . Achocha.


The leaves look a bit like a herbal substance we could get arrested for growing, in fact it's one of the traditional food crops of the Incas from South America, a 'slipper gourd' . . . the little green fruits develop in the leaf axils. We tried a few chopped and added to cous-cous to accompany a tagine, they have a pleasant crunch and taste a bit like raw green sweet peppers.


The old Cox's apple tree has surprised us this year by producing some beautiful apples, the flavour is wonderful!


Bird's Egg climbing beans, from the Heritage Seed library, have been the one successful bean this year. I've left a few pods to ripen on the plant – worth it for that wonderful colour!


More splashes of colour from the rainbow chard leaves. I wouldn't be without chard in the vegetable garden, it survives whatever and eventually rewards you with a good crop! And it's so useful – I add the leaves and stalks to curries, casseroles, risottos, frittatas . . .


A stray self-sown leek seed-head – as attractive as those border alliums – it's sometimes worth leaving the garden to do it's own thing.


So, that's the end of the autumn garden tour, I'll sign off with this photo of Tarragon the Lavender Araucana cockerel. He's lived with us for nine months now and I'm getting used to the fact that the hens are 'his ladies' and not 'my girls'. Tarragon is moulting, he's covered with new quills just unfurling and he's growing a beard and moustache! His designer-stubble looks quite rakish!


I've a diary packed with exciting things to do and places to go to, so I think I need to take a short 'blogging break', I'll be back sometime in October and I'll tell you more about my plans for these ******mas events.

20 comments:

  1. Lovely damp photos, yes, Autumn is definitely here! My veg patch has been even more neglected, but ho-hum, there's always next year! I too am about to address the 'C' word, and be organised for once. Penny x

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  2. I just love the look of a newly-edged garden bed. There's chaos on both sides of my edging - but that line in the dirt makes it all look like it's supposed to be that way! Your apples look lovely. I haven't come across Cox over here. This was the worst year for fruit tree pests in my garden. Do you use anything on your apples?

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  3. lovely photos! the rondo grape is gorgeoous. tarragon has matured into quite a handsome young man. what happened with the 3 sisters?

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  4. Hi Penny – You're right, I'll get the patch all tidied up, mulched and ready for next spring.

    Hi Terry - Cox = Cox's Orange Pippin, it's one of the iconic English apples, a good 'keeper' with an amazing zingy flavour. This tree is riddled with canker, we do nothing to our fruit trees except a bit of pruning now and again, so this year's crop of beautiful "Cox's" has been a wonderful surprise.

    Celia
    x

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  5. Hi Petoskystone - The 3 sisters... well firstly I only planted 2 (squash and corn) and due to late planting and wanton neglect they've run out of time to mature!

    Celia
    x

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  6. I love these photos of your Autumn garden Celia - the rondo grape looks wonderful and I agree with you about herbs - love them! The thymes, santolinas and rosemary do very well in my dryish garden (however soggy at the moment!) and even my tricolour sage has gone completely mad.

    Is that a chamomile lawn in your second photo Celia?

    Jeanne
    x

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  7. Hi "chamomile lawn" that made me laugh - that Jeanne, is our buttercup/clover/self-heal/trefoil infested lawn. But, what the hell - it's green!

    Celia
    x

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  8. That little 'miniature garden' is a gem.
    I just picked my Bird's Egg beans - I don't eat them fresh, I save them all for shellies and dried beans, and you're right, they do look spectacular when the red pods hang on the vines.

    What a dismal, wet time we are having at the moment.

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  9. I love Tarragon - the herb too! And like you, love to go out and pick fresh herbs, only being the lazy so-and-so that I am, I have to confess that most of the ones I use all the time... sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, parsley, are in pots inside wall planters under the kitchen window, so I just have to lean out and cut what I want.
    I like your ramshackle veg garden... have no time for these prissy neat affairs, yours is rustic and inviting.

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  10. Have a lovely break. I really enjoyed the pictures of your garden - very romantic and atmospheric.

    I must plant and use use mroe herbs next year. I only really use mint and chives. Will try harder - thanks for the inspiration!
    Stephx

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  11. Even if you say your garden has had to fend for itself it still looks beautiful! I especially like the a 'slipper gourd' wouldn't it be great if you could stuff it and bake! I'm also an "herb girl" would rather be a "spice girl" LOL!!! Have a great break!

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  12. I hope your Cox apples rattle when shaken in the traditional fashion, to show when they're ripe! We had a lovely old tree at the last house and I do miss it. And the dearth of Bullfinches!

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  13. What a great garden you have. Your rooster is so handsome. My wish is to have a coop for some hens by spring time.

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  14. What fun it's been to have this tour of your garden, and to have an update on the status of Tarragon.

    Do enjoy your break from posts. It will be grand to see what you report when you do return.

    xo

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  15. I really enjoyed that lovely tour of your gorgeous garden. Have agood break.

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  16. Gosh, I wouldn't mind a hedgehog or two on my roof or terace. I have les slugs...

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  17. Tarragon looks like something from a Van Dyke portrait!
    Enjoy your break.

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  18. So wonderful to see your garden! It is so easy to fall behind in the garden. I tried to keep up with our vegetable garden, but it still got away from me. I just wade through the weeds to harvest, and pull out a few weeds each time I am out there.

    Fall just popped in here also, although after a couple weeks of fallesque weather we are having a bit of an Indidan Summer to enjoy!

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  19. I agree with you on the chard. It keeps just a little spectacular colour in the garden all Winter long.

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  20. He's a handsome lad your Tarragon isn't he ;)

    Love the photos from your garden :)

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