In a vase on Monday: autumn gold

Swallows wheeled about in the sky all around me on the clifftop this morning. Large flocks of them calling to each other and riding the thermals from the sea, feeding up for their long migration south for the winter. I walked along slowly, taking it all in while the dog snuffled in bushes – such a magical moment. There”s are sights, smells and sounds particular to autumn, aren’t there? Berry-laden bushes, cobwebs everywhere, flocks of birds leaving, others arriving, leaves turning… As I walked back to the house through the garden, I spotted a couple of golden bells of Clematis tangutica (golden clematis) in the wildflower patch under the fruit trees. We don’t want clematis growing here so I went back out again to snip off the tendrils and cut a few white Japanese anemones that are growing in the steps to put together a simple Monday vase.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden also has a jug full of autumn gold today.

I also have jars and jugs of zinnias in the house – the colours are more muted than the very bright colours in summer but still lovely.

I used to spend more time than I had spare gazing out to sea when we first moved here. After a while, I got used to the view (you have to get on with daily life!) but there were several moments yesterday when we had to stop and stare at the dramatic skies and the serene view.

Wishing you a good week ahead.

In a Vase on Monday: Fading


The farmer has been muck-spreading. I can’t describe the smell other than to tell you that it catches in the back of the throat and almost makes your eyes water. On the upside, there are insects galore and swallows and martins swooping about, feasting and twittering, building up their strength for migrating to Africa for the winter. There are also flocks of finches in among the seed heads on the clifftops, rising en masse as I approach with the dog, making their tinkling sound, settling again as I walk past. Witnessing these birds going about their age-old business makes me feel all is right with my little part of the world. It’s cooler now – I needed a jumper this morning – but the air is calm and there’s a softness to the light. I found this conker slap bang in the middle of the lane to the farm, it’s shiny burnished skin caught my eye. Not unusual at this time of year apart from the fact that there are no horse chestnut trees there or anywhere nearby. Curious.

The garden is feeling distinctly past its best. We’ve not got on top of making sure there is year-round interest yet. In our previous garden we were all fresh from studying horticulture and keen to ensure the garden looked good all year round. Still, it’s important to take your time and ponder these matters. I’ve picked a rather random selection of slightly imperfect and fading blooms because I think they’re still beautiful – a couple of sunflowers (the yellow one is ‘Valentine’ and the dark one is ‘Claret’), cosmos, Japanese anemone (white and pink, unknown varieties), Ammi visnaga, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Echinops, Verbena bonariensis, lavender, an aster that’s appeared from nowhere, and some tendrils of jasmine foliage.

I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden where you’ll find her vase of colourful blooms (her garden flowers are still going strong) and links to others from around the world.

Have an excellent week.

Autumn light



I love the sunlight at this time of year, especially in the late afternoon. There’s a gorgeous softness, depth and warmth to it. Other than to sweep up a tonne of leaves and pick up windfalls, I haven’t spent much time in the garden lately but I did pop out this afternoon to catch a little sun.

Miscanthus flowers. These plants are from a chunk chopped off a big clump of Miscanthus in our previous garden.
Miscanthus sinensis: these plants were propagated from a chunk taken from a big clump in our previous garden before we moved here. We originally bought this beautiful ornamental grass about 12 years ago from The Plantsman’s Preference, a fabulous nursery in Norfolk that specialises in hardy geraniums and ornamental grasses. I can’t remember the exact variety of Miscanthus – the label is long gone – but there are over 40 of varying sizes and colours on their website.
The raised planters either side of the steps have really filled out and are looking rather overgrown and chaotic. Annual grasses, including Panicum elegans ‘Frosted Explosion’, Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, rudbeckias and snapdragons (emergency planting for the garden safari back in June) have grown together in a frothy mass.
This is one of the planting combinations I’m most pleased with this year – Verbena rigida (which has been flowering for months), a blue/purple geranium of unknown variety, Gaura ‘The Bride’, a bronze fennel (that appeared out of nowhere) and more annual grasses.
As much as I dislike the invasive habit of Japanese anemones, you can’t deny they look completely beautiful when they’re flowering en masse.


In other news… It’s been a busy, long week. As well as the first full week of Back to School with all three children having to be out of the house by 7.35am, David has started a new job which means he’s away from home for most of the week. We’re all getting used to this and settling in to our new routines which means Being Organised: packing school bags the night before; eating a good breakfast to keep you going throughout the day when you’re too busy ‘socialising’ at lunchtime; keeping on top of increasing amounts of homework after a long summer of not picking up a pen; going to bed early… We’ve managed one week. I wonder how long it’ll last!

I hope you’ve had a good week and are enjoying some September sunshine wherever you are.


My sunny middle son is 14 (14!!!) today. He requested burgers for dinner and a coffee and walnut birthday cake. I was pleased to oblige.