Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Unreal Autumn

Autumn is a time for stumbling upon unusual sights in the garden. Bizarre growths begin to suddenly droop from certain plants, in the most conspicuous manner! Has somebody spiked the morning tea with something a bit stronger, or has an art student run amok overnight as part of some modern installation nonsense? The truth is perhaps that plants are weird! Or at least, some of them bear fruit and drop their leaves in the most weirdly wonderful ways! I rather enjoy these fantasy undercurrents at this time of year, there’s more than a hint of Alice in Wonderland about the place. Of course that incorrigible old cad Jack Frost has already begun sweeping many of these sights away, so here are some of the more intriguing delights spotted at Hidcote recently.

The candy-pink seed pod flourish of Euonymus europaeus. If you have a hankering after autumn interest, look no further! I’m quite sure those orange seeds were sold in the sweetshop when I was a lad

Symphoricarpos albus, or the Snowberry. I suspect these are nothing more than foam balls, arranged in this manner by the squirrels to mess with our minds!

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'. Profusely bizarre.

Not plastic beads, but the drooping fruit of Berberis ‘Barbarossa’. Major Johnston was rather a fan of Berberis, and this is probably the best specimen he planted. These red berries cover the entire shrub and last for months, causing considerable excitement amongst visitors

The ribbon-like autumn display of Cornus florida rubra

In the correct light, the seed pods of Honesty (Lunaria annua) look more like glass lenses

The autumn colour of Parrotia persica is stunningly bizarre. A whole raft of colours get rolled out, but here I think are the lipstick marks of a kiss by Mother Nature herself!

Some unfortunate ladybirds apparently unaware Parrotia persica is deciduous

This is actually the flower of Fascicularia bicolour! At this point the Mad Hatter turns to you and says, “Would you like a little more tea?”

My poor blog has been languishing lately; the old girl is suffering terribly from neglect. It would be pleasing to describe how I’ve been spending my days loafing in front of a large log fire, dividing my time between mulled wine and mince pies… but the reality is far less cheering. The past few weeks have involved college, college work and even college-themed dreams! The end is near, and it is now less about the joy of learning and more to do with getting the blasted thing finished in time! Our last block is in February (iceberg ahead!) followed then by the graduation ceremony in July. A less than helpful way to arrange the timetable perhaps, but ‘ours is not to reason why’. I now have a backlog of topics to wade through, so if it appears some of the images over the next few posts were taken weeks ago, it’s probably because they were!


Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

I agree, plants are strange creatures. Berberis ‘Barbarossa’ and Facicularia are new to me, the latter being very odd indeed.

Hope you have time for at least a piece of pie for the holidays! We are already enjoying our pumpkin roll and gingersnaps here. Merry Christmas!

Tim said...

Enjoy the holidays and the brief time you have left in college! Your posts are delightful, so it's easy to be forgiving about some lapses in time...

Prue said...

Ooo! A lot of my favorites in that bunch Bertie. The spindle fruits are strange and every year they surprise me with their shape and colour. I never get used to them :)

Thanks for keeping your blog going through thick and thin (and college) and sharing your great photos.

Merry Christmas Bertie. And all the best for 2012!

Janet said...

Lovely series of photos Bertie but I do find the purple berries of the callicarpa very odd. But I suppose we should be grateful for any colour in the garden at this time of year. The honesty is very delicate. My mother always used to bring a bunch into the house. Enjoy the Festive Season!

Elephant's Eye said...

'kissed by Mother Nature' Hope you will blog on thru the next stage of your life.

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Happy Christmas Bertie.... and may you find much joy and fulfilment in your garden throughout 2012.

Marion Wales UK

patientgardener said...

I do like that Berberis. My interest has been peeked by the recent article in The Garden (Nov I think). I wonder do you sell that Berberis in the nursery at Hidcote?

Share my Garden said...

Beautiful photos - I don't care when you took them, as long as you keep posting your results for me to enjoy!

Diane said...

I will be catching up soon, but want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Bertie.

Blessings from Canada,

Lorna Watson said...

This post has been worth the wait. Funny, entertaining and educational! When I was studying we had to learn 10 latin names each day but now I have forgotten so much and seem to be incapable of retaining anything in my brain (I blame becoming a mother). While I would love to remember these names I know I won't but it's good to be reminded.

Michael said...

Hi Bertie!

Just hoping you had a Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year!


Bertie Bainbridge said...

Happy New Year friends! All the best for 2012!

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