The joys of leaf mould and November blooms.

I have spent the last thirty years trying to get some substance and water retention into our dry sandy soil. A few years ago I try to make leaf mould in old compost bags. I checked the bags at 6 months, 1 year, 18 months…  and found… a pile of soggy leaves.

Yet I still felt that autumn leaves were too precious to put in the municipal compost bins. So I netted off an area under the trees at the back of the garden and just threw leaves in there… and there they stayed year after year looking like dead leaves.DSCN8634

Then a couple of years ago I was clearing a corner by the water butts DSCN8638
and found the original bags full of… leaf mould! This year my husband pointed out that the area I had neIMG_1297tted off had… turned into leaf mould. I found another log and ivy-infested area between the trees at the back of the garden.

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And,  with the help of a robin or two (he’s in there somewhere) I cleared this, netted it,DSCN8648  IMG_1278and filled it with leaves. All I have to do now is wait for five years…IMG_1299And this is where the hedgehog may be about to hibernate (he is still feeding) DSCN8639 After all those unexciting images here are some November blooms. DSCN8673 DSCN8677 DSCN8684 DSCN8686

Nasturtiums and winter jasmine – surely not.

The garden is happy but perhaps confused. I wanted to bring in some flowers the other day and found this charming combination of nasturtiums and winter jasmine. I also found some late blooms on the centaurea and and yet the hydrangeas have their autumn seed heads.

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We still have cistus in bloom and below them autumn crocus are merrily flowering.DSCN6718DSCN6729

Then we have the winter iris stylosa – I usually start looking for a few flowers on this in mid-December and sometimes find blooms for the Christmas table and then throughout January and February. They are already blooming in three separate sites in the garden.

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And late blooms have appeared on the  summer-flowering non-clinging clematis Durandii.

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A few feet away a primrose is feeling the air, while between these two Rosa Papa Meilland is throwing up yet another bloom.

DSCN6726DSCN6688Raspberries are still fruiting – they are autumn raspberries, but they are usually long gone before November. DSCN6737 This is looking like autumn. DSCN6656DSCN6710…but what are the runner beans doing flowering at this time of year, and why can I hear the buzz of lawn mowers even as I write? And how come we had lunch in the garden in the UK on November 1st?

At least my general failure in the greenhouse has been redeemed by the late hot spell, and my magnificent sweet pepper is finally turning red. DSCN6751