An autumnal feel with pops of summer colour

I've been meaning to write this post since last weekend when I popped out into the garden and found more colour than I was expecting to see. I'd convinced myself that everything had turned autumnal almost overnight - and it almost did - but it seems my garden isn't quite ready to give up its colour. With a blast of sun shining on it too, it'd be easy to convince ourselves that maybe it was more like summer after all, but only for a moment!

The blue geranium seemed to be enjoying the sun as much as me, I'd not noticed before but it almost has a white ring at its centre as well as tie and dye like petals!

The geranium enjoying a spot of sun

The patio pots I planted up at the start of June are only just coming into their own, as you can see I've still flowers in bud but these impatiens are doing well, even if they're a bit nibbled. I'd bought some really small lucky dip plug plants and while they were good value, they've taken a while to actually flower in our north facing garden so it's not something I think I'll be doing again next year.

Pretty in pink in the pots

The hardy fuchsia provides another pop of colour as we walk up the garden and despite giving it a serious hacking earlier in the year, it's still flowering and is giving the pyracantha berries in the background a good run for their money.

Hardy fuchsias still adding colour

The sedums are just starting to add some autumnal pink in the garden, we've these throughout the garden in clumps which works to unify our space. I was especially pleased to see these looking so well as these are the ones planted in my gabion planters, I'm taking it that they're happy there!

sedums starting to turn pink

In the sleeper bed I'd randomly planted some of my seedlings - and then promptly forgot about them - until now that is, this beautiful cosmos has just started to flower and it's great to see its vibrancy as I turned the corner of our garden.  I quite like the idea of forgetting where I'd planted seedlings, as it does bring a nice and unexpected surprise, well as long as MOH doesn't mistake them for weeds as they're not marked that is!

A cosmos in the sleeper bed

I've also discovered a little friend looking for a new home. It must have been quite traumatic for him/her while I was watering the plants.  I hope I haven't washed away any chance of a family they'd been busy with.  He was persuaded to look for alternative accommodation gently, and encouraged to hop over the lawn back into the beds for safety, so hopefully he'll be fine. We see several toads in our garden, and hear them rustling their way through the garden after dark "on manoeuvres" and we definitely have less slugs and snails where we see the toads, so they're a good thing to have.

Someone looking for a new home - and was told to hoppit

Not such a good thing to have right now is squirrels.  They are fast becoming the bane of our garden, what with their digging and sudden penchant for my succulents. I've many leaves that have come away from the plant, and while I know I can grow new plants from them, and I'm in danger of being overrun by succulents, it'd be much better for the leaves to stay attached in the first place.

The squirrel is also popping into the greenhouse and digging, not in a helpful way though. In much the same way as he's - or they've - been digging in the grass. MOH is far from pleased about how many holes he has in his grass at the moment, and if I were the squirrel I would be giving MOH quite a wide berth.

succulents surviving the squirrel's attention

On the plus side I should be able to fill another trug with all these new succulent plants, or start my own succulent business!!

Near the patio the hibiscus has continued to flower, it seems to still be enjoying the weather although I've got my eye on it and the forecast. I'm still in two minds what to do with it over the winter, but a more pressing concern is what to do with it when we're away in October, in case there's an unexpected cold snap.

The hibiscus seems happy and continues to flower

I found some pots at the back of the garden which I'd also potted up with those tiny bedding plants that are in full flower and conveniently they were red and white so they've been brought down to the front of the garden to keep the hibiscus company, and with the added advantage of giving the illusion of colour throughout the garden when looking from the house.

The pear tree at the back of our garden is full of pears. We gave the tree quite a severe pruning in the Spring and this is how it repays us, I'm not hopeful for the fruits being edible though as we've not had much success in the past. They are rock hard and the longer we leave them on the tree, the more likely that pesky squirrel is to have sunk his teeth into them.  

pears which are no doubt as rock hard as ever!

If you've any ideas on how I can win with these pears, I'd love to hear them.


Dahlias, roses and fuchsias in Dad's autumn garden

At the end of last month we headed up to Norfolk and one of the things that struck me was how colourful Dad's garden was still. The dahlias, roses and fuchsias were putting on quite a show. They were the attention grabbers, but looking around more closely at the garden, there was more to it than these.

A peach coloured dahlia in dad's autumn garden
A frilly - and heavy - fuchsia in dad's autumn garden

These fuchsias always remind me of dancers, not quite a ballerina but more a glitterless Strictly kind of ballgown, and it's easy to see why I needed to hold it up to get this shot. The leaves are starting to tarnish, but that just makes it more appealing. Like a dancer that's had a good time, or one that had done the rowing boat song. Yes, that's never a good idea is it?

In the greenhouse the Aloes were huge. Just look at them. I am the mum of these, all of them. Well apart from the babies at the front, Dad can be the mum of them as they arrived on his watch. But they're huge, clearly the Norfolk weather and the greenhouse work for them, I hope they've managed to survive the colder weather since then ok. 

giant aloes in the greenhouse in dad's autumn garden
oxalis under the greenhouse staging in dad's autumn garden

Also in the greenhouse the purple oxalis was creeping out from under the staging. I regularly take cuttings for my greenhouse and it never does as well as this. I've a sneaky suspicion I'll be taking another cutting quite soon. And helping myself to some of the many burgundy heuchera's that have been potted on to see how they do.

The leeks were also thickening and no doubt there'll be a good crop. The beetroot Dad pulled up for me, I politely declined. The side you can see looks perfect, but underneath someone - or rather something - had got there first and it went straight onto the compost heap.

the grey green of the leeks in dad's autumn garden
a beetroot in dad's autumn garden - this side's ok, the other side was completely nibbled!
mushrooms in the grass in dad's autumn garden

The mushrooms in the grass appeared overnight, and who knows what they might be. Knowing your mushrooms is a great skill to have, but not really something to take a chance on either. I think I'll stick to admiring the flowers. The nerines were still out and looking more swirly and curly than I remember.

Nerines curly and pink hugging the wall of the house in dad's autumn garden

And oops, this fuchsia came off in my hand. Thankfully there were plenty more, so I think I got away with it...

the fuchsia ballerina, which came off in my hand - oops - in dad's autumn garden

And just when you think the colour is done, you pop to the car and are reminded there's many more roses and dahlias in the front garden too.

an old fashioned tea rose in dad's autumn garden
pink roses flowering in the front of dad's autumn garden
pink dahlias in full bloom in dad's autumn garden

We're in Norfolk soon for a couple of days and it'll be interesting to see how much difference a month makes. I'm hoping that some of the colour remains, but who knows. It's been feeling more wintery here and I know if I were a plant I'd be considering shutting down too. Heck, some days I feel like that as a human too!

Have a beautifully colourful day.

Baked Apple mishaps

This autumn, thanks to Monty Don I learnt that MOH really rather likes baked apples. You'd think having lived together since 2002 I might have known this, or he might have mentioned it before. But as Monty was wrapping his bakers in foil and placing them on the bonfire MOH said he quite liked a baked apple.

Nothing revolutionary there I know. And I'm not against a baked apple either, it's just I never think to cook one. I prefer my Bramleys as Apple Compote á la Hugh F-W for breakfast with yogurt or as a Kentish Apple Cake like this one from Sarah Raven.

So being the dutiful wife that I am, and thinking how hard can a baked apple be I thought I'd give it a go.


It started so well.



I had some cooking apples from my Dad's recent visit. He and the lady up the road have a marrow for apples swap going on, which seems like a good deal to me. Look how shiny they were.









1. Check. They fit into my enamel pie dishes.

2. The core is removed.

3. The cavity is stuffed with sultanas and some soft brown sugar.

4. Covered with foil and ready for the oven.

And then. Fail.

So we had baked apples tonight. Or rather exploded apples, I forgot to score the circumference, so I'll be trying again then!

Posted by Life at 139a on Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I forgot to score the circumference. So instead of baked apples, we had exploded apples, and I've never been more grateful for foil or else I'd be cleaning the oven...  We ate them, but really there wasn't much there. Just as well we had ice cream too.

So as MOH likes Baked Apples I thought I'd try again.

And this time I learnt from my previous mistake.  I scored the circumference.

So how did it go?

Well these ones looked more like Baked Apples but still still weren't right.

Again we ate them but I've not achieved a passable Baked Apple. I might just need to resort to a recipe, unless you've got tips for where I'm going wrong - please let me know, because MOH really likes Baked Apples, and it seems I'm unable to cook a decent one!