Posts Tagged ‘Autumn’


009Big is definitely more beautiful – of course it is .. especially when the big grasses are part of the picture. In our Sussex Prairies garden  only twenty five percent of the garden is grasses but at this time of year the grasses definitely take front of stage with their impressive stature, dominating presence and architectural splendour.

002Is it the metallic sheen on the grass flower heads that gives that ethereal quality to the whole, or is it the heady wispiness and romance of the flowers that creates such a spectacle ? is it the arching fronds that brush and tickle you as you pass by ?or is it the firey flashes of brilliance in the leaves or seedheads ? it is all of that and more and set in dream partnerships with the later perennials they are crackers !



High Five !

Here at our top five  grasses for this year-

1. Miscanthus Malepartus

big bold and dark purple flowers  .. towers in at a heady 8 ft tall

2. Miscanthus Zwerg Elefant (dwarf elephant)

flowers unfurl like a curled elefants trunk and then  emerge like crinkle cut chips

3. Sporobolis heterolepsis

grass with presence and fragrance .. imagine freshly cut coriander on a summers day

4. Panicum Frosted Explosion

a real firework of an annual grass but misty and moving at the same time.. a perfect grass as a dream partner in the garden

5. Miscanthus Ghana

feels like a bonfire burning…with all the the firey colours of autumn and the zest and zing of gunpowder.








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024Death by a thousand droplets …..

I picture Marat in his bath… coyly draped in cloths (why cloths  in a bath….?. better wait to bring out the  sumptuous Egyptian cotton bath towels after getting out of the bath !).. (but that’s another lot of questions!)  and I think about the possibility of dicing with death and gargling with tinctures made of the gloriously luxuriant Phytolacca Americana.

The Death of Marat  is a painting by  Jacques -Louis David  of the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat lying dead in his bath. The painting shows the radical journalist draped languidly and very much dead in his bath on 13 July 1793 after his murder by Charlotte Corday. I had in my mind he had been poisoned too ..but maybe that is not the case .. but it is  a  romantic and very evocative image  ..look it up – it’s great !

In the garden at the moment we are starting to see intimations of mortality as plants start to die in an interesting way …if we were in the Himalaya we would be entering the death zone.. plants are  shrugging off their colours and hues and taking on this motley garb of autumn. All shrouds of decay. Now we are really  jumping in the bath with Marat !

tincturesIt was a herbalist who was telling me about gargling with Phytolacca to cure a sore throat but it sounds a pretty dicey type of medicinal treatment .. the fugu fish of the plant world.. imagine swigging a glass of pokeweed Juice and knowing one false swallow could seal your doom ! Although apparently ,Native Americans  have  reputedly used Phytolacca or Pokeweed as a herbal remedy as a heart stimulant and to treat cancer, rheumatism, itching, and syphilis. Looking at the glossy and temptingly glossy berries I can see why you might be tempted to pick a bunch and , why not , eat them .

and so we have the marvellous saying …..Gardener – heal thyself !

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Boys are Back in Town

Snug as bugs ! photo by Pako

the newest cutest little pigs arrived last week and were installed in their woodland dell . Berkshire breed again but very friendly already and the cheekiest little things. It is their turned up noses that adds to the air of mischief. Pako came with us to collect them .. but wasnt expecting quite so much involvement in the adventure as he had to heft the weighty charges in to the horsebox.. I dont think his special mexican tshirt and white trousers will ever be quite the same again.Surprisingly the pigs underwent the inelegant man handling with a stoicism quite unheard of and were unusually quiet and docile. Now of course they can enjoy the wonderful plethora of autumn and abundance of real foraging for acorns and a perrys worth of pears and apples to get through !

one pig,two pig, three pig ? photo by Pakoyum ! photo by Pako

out on their first excursion ! now where are all the fences and how soon can we break out ?

thats more like it ! photo by Pako

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it seems to me that the garden gets like a big old easy unravelled jumper at this time of year .. in the morning swathed in a frosty icing , crisp and sparkling ,and later in the day the autumn colours breaking through with striking clarity threaded through the landscape ..  but it starts to slowly slump down and go to sleep in a cosy woolly sort of way.. making us think of days next to log fires and starting all the christmas preparations .. start early because there is so much to do . We are looking forward to some wonderful days with good friends making door wreaths and garlands for the festive home … laced with judicious quantities of Paul’s special recipe gluhwein and saffron bread the evnts should go swimmingly … beware the hot glue gun of Christmas !

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