Nutting Girl and the Late Summer Giant.

“And what few nuts that poor girl had, She threw them all away.” Nutting Girl

I have had Nutting Girl, the folk song and Morris Jig tune in my head this week after finding several instances of proof the squirrels are after the hazelnuts. If you want to harvest any for yourself get out there quick before they are all stored away for the winter. Interestingly this week I have also found a proliferation of tree seedlings. As the seeds are now ripe the hazelnuts not consumed last year are obviously starting to sprout.

Giant Rudbeckia and late summer colour, The Rudbeckia of all sizes are flourishing in the borders at the moment with Rudbeckia maxima stealing the show with its statuesque nature.At its full height of 2.5m it towers over Verbena bonariensis, Echinops and bronze fennel and pretty much anything else in the border.

At the bottom of the pecking order we find the lowly Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ at only 60cm high. It is still looking good here, despite its diminutive size, planted with Achillea and Sedum still to bloom. I love all the different shapes of the flower heads and the different foliage. The colour combination just screams balmy end of summer. Which hopefully we are heading back to if the forecast is to be believed.

Another late summer star looking fabulous now is Echinacea. The cone flower, the prairie planting favourite from America. I would use these plants in every scheme I could. The white ones stand out brilliantly in the dusk and the array of green through orange to pink varieties that are available today astound and delight. They are even good for the bees and Butterflies. So good they must have an achilles heel, and they do. Slugs. If you are lucky enough to have a slug free space for them then nothing should stop you .

A sign of the changing climate indeed. A ripe fig in Derbyshire. I was renovating an overgrown border a couple of years ago and whilst working on the established fig tree I removed a branch that had rooted where it had run along the ground. So I cut it off and stuck it in a pot. Last year it didn’t do much at all and I very nearly chucked it out.

This spring it started to look more hopeful and it was granted a place in the front garden on a South facing wall. I have had figs in the past and whilst in a mild winter they will swell to a respectable size they never get chance to ripen before the frost come but it seems to have found a microclimate it likes. Although I suspect the last two summers and a mild winter have had something to do with it too.

More ripening fruit as the grapes are turning red. No I haven’t had the time or patience to take out some of the berries so the ones left have more space to grow. I tried it once and gave up after 5 minutes. Very tedious work. After all this is never going to be a Chateau bottled vintage. Usually it just ends up as grape juice.

Just before we leave the fruit behind. Has anyone mentioned what a hard winter it is going to be. yet? There are an awful lot of berries around on the hawthorn and holly this year! Best buy some thermals and order the logs!

It is too easy at this time of year to neglect shrubs and just think about the flowers. True enough it won’t be long before shrubs and trees grab all the glory and attention back with their stunning displays of Autumn colour. This combination caught my eye this week though, so I thought I would share this Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Darts Gold’ looking full of Zing against the Cotinus c. ‘Royal Purple’

All that is left to say is, Anyone want any Courgettes or Beans! Happy Days in the Garden x

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