Thursday, October 27, 2011


Honey Bee on Zinnia, October 18, 2011
A few days before I left America for England, there were still bees and butterflies in my autumn garden.  Yes, I am in England again. I came back to my homeland last weekend, after receiving the call that my 92-year-old mother would be discharged from the hospital soon. I knew when H.H. and I left here earlier this month that I would need to come back to prepare her house for her return, but didn't think it would be this quick, although it has been five weeks since she fell. Before I began my journey, I walked around my garden and took a few pictures to post, but this is the first opportunity I've had to do so.

When I toured my garden last Sunday, the only sign of  a butterfly was the monarch chrysalis that I had been watching for a week. I was thrilled when there were eggs, then caterpillars on the milkweed I planted last year, but the chrysalis really excited me, and I hoped the butterfly would emerge before I left for the airport. No such luck.

Monarch Cat on Milkweed

Monarch Chrysalis, October 23, 2011
Maybe next year I'll watch the incredible metamorphosis.

Monarch on Marigold, October 18, 2011
I'm glad I snapped some pictures of my garden before I left, because I believe the temperature plummeted in the Poconos this week, and snow is forecast for tonight. All the following pictures were taken Sunday, October 23.

Come walk with me ...

The fish were still active in the pond

I must tell H.H. to put the succulents in the garage before the weather worsens.

There was still some color in the cottage garden.

Marigolds and Blueberry

Lots of berries on the crabapple tree this year.

The birds will eat well this winter.

The last dahlia

The Johnnie Jump-Ups have bloomed since March

The planters on the patio still look amazing

Impatiens and black-eyed Susan vine in the stone garden.
Fall leaves in the shade garden.

Zinnias in the kitchen garden

Since my last posting, the corn was harvested.

The giant harvester leaving the lower field.
I am always sad to see the corn go; it marks the end of the gardening season. But the upper field looks incredibly beautiful in its autumn colors which seem even more brilliant now the corn is cut.

Upper Corn Field

Finally, I must say goodbye to my mini horse, Dude, and his companion, Billy. I don't think they mind me leaving as long as someone is feeding them. But I'll miss them.

I must apologize for not visiting your blogs lately, but  this is my first opportunity to switch on the computer -- I've been busy cleaning Mom's house, sorting her clothes, visiting the hospital, meeting with social workers, etc. I have also been looking at assisted living facilities, as we don't know how long she will be able to live alone, even with the incredible support she receives from caregivers. I know you will understand if I don't stop by your blog for a while, or write a new post on my own site. There is no internet service at Mom's house and I am writing this in my favorite restaurant. Its not good for me to be around all this food.

I will return to blogging as soon as I can.

Sending love to all my dear gardening friends,
Pamela x

Caterpillar on Dill, 10/23/11
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Mid October and summer is hanging on just a little: the bees are still busy, some monarch butterflies have not yet flown south, and the farmer hasn't harvested the corn.  The weather, however, is horrible. While we were in England, Pennsylvania had seven straight days without rain, for the first time in months, but as soon as we arrived home, rain was back in the forecast. As a result, I haven't been able to work outside, and my garden is a mess. Nevertheless it IS Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I'm heading outside between showers to find some blooms.

Caryopteris has a few remaining blossoms (and bees as you can see from the photo above.)

Caryopteris 'Dark Knight'

Of my three butterfly bushes, one is full of flowers. Maybe that's why monarch butterflies are still visiting my garden.

'Autumn Joy' sedum is still joyful.
There's a late bloom on the honeysuckle.

Fall leaves predominate in the shade garden.

The hydrangeas are showing autumn color.

Oakleaf hydrangea

I love my perennial geranium because it is so long-lasting. There was a conversation on Alistair's blog about the color. In Scotland it is blue; mine is purple. It's thought the color may be due to the soil.
Perennial geranium 'Rozanne'
Lavendar is still blooming in the Cottage Garden

Snake root has just finished blooming in the woodland garden (photo taken last month)
Fall has definitely arrived in my woodland garden. No blooms; lots of autumn leaves.

Weird-shaped seedpod of Sweet Shrub

The pond is still flaunting some color. There is a flower on one of the waterlilies every day.

 Our big bullfrogs (we have three) are very shy. Can you see one hiding behind the water plants?


Trees edging the cornfield are changing color. Daily we expect the farmer to harvest the corn. The colors of zinnias and marigolds in the kitchen garden add to the feel of autumn.

 The knockout roses continue to bloom profusely.

Pots of marigolds flank a red Knockout rose.
The light wasn't good for red roses today, and I could not capture the velvety texture of this one:

The last David Austin rose 
Not to be outdone, the pink Knockout has several blossoms.
A new rose, planted early last month, displays its first flower -- a promise of even greater loveliness next year.

Rosa 'Compassion'

Baby, it's cold out there ...  I'm going to sit by the fire in the den and browse through all the wonderful blogs listed at Carole's May Dreams Gardens for October Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Thank you Carole for hosting my favorite meme.

Enjoy your October garden, whatever season it may be in your part of the world!
Pamela x

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

David Austin Rose Gardens, England

The highlight of my trip to England was a tour of the David Austin Rose Garden in Shropshire, the home of the English Roses. My dear friend, Carole, surprised me with the visit, knowing it was near the top of my list of 'gardens I must see'. She drove my husband and her son to the RAF Museum at Cosford, dropped them off there, then took me in search of David Austin's place, which proved to be close by.

The two acre gardens contain the National Collection of English Roses, together with almost every other type of rose, over 700 different varieties in all. The gardens are divided into smaller areas, each with its own theme: the Long Garden, the Victorian Walled Garden, the Renaissance Garden, the Lion Garden, the Species Garden and the Patio Garden. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and peacefulness of these magnificent gardens. Although the blooms are not at their peak at this time of year, many are still lovely.

The Long Garden forms the central core with the other gardens leading from it. The whole garden is interlaced with pergolas, clothed with many climbing and rambling roses.
Long Garden

The Long Garden contains a collection of Old Roses, Modern Shrub Roses and English Roses.

'Lady of Shallot' English Leander hybrid
'Darcy Bussell' English Old Rose hybrid
One of five new English roses for 2011 is 'William and Catherine'. It is particularly beautiful with the form of the Old Roses.
'William and Catherine' Musk hybrid

Each garden we entered was my favorite, until we moved into the next.

The many fine pieces of sculpture in each theme garden are by the late Mrs. Pat Austin, a very talented artist. The sculptures help give each garden its own special character. The focal point of the Lion Garden is a lion sculpture. 

The Lion Garden contains four long borders filled with a wonderful combination of shrub roses, standard roses and perennials.

Aster 'Little Carlow'

Bee leaving lantana

The Victorian Walled Garden is planted with English Roses and other repeat-flowering shrub roses.

Sculpture in the Victorian Walled Garden

English Climbers and Ramblers are trained over the arches, arbors and along the wall that encircles this garden.

'Graham Thomas' was voted The World's Favorite Rose by the 41 National Rose Societies.

'Graham Thomas'

'The Mayflower' represents an important breakthrough in garden roses in that it is, as far as they know, completely free of disease. It was made to mark the launch of their American catalog in 2001.

'The Mayflower' English Old Rose Hybrid

The Renaissance Garden is totally devoted to English roses -- new roses in the old tradition. They originated when David Austin crossed certain Old Roses and Modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.

The central canal leads to a beautifully proportioned loggia, creating a feeling of peace and tranquility.

I love the way the rose beds undulate -- their edges defined by clipped English boxwood.

This lovely garden demonstrates the great versatility of the English roses.

'Fair Bianca' English Old Rose Hybrid
My favorite sculpture

The Species Garden is planted with true wild roses along a winding path. I understand this intimate garden is most beautiful in early summer, but I love the attractive hips produced now that autumn has arrived.

Hip of the Rugosa Rose

The Patio Garden features specimen roses in large, decorative terracotta planters. Peacocks roam freely in all the gardens.

Patio Garden

We couldn't leave without visiting the Tea Rooms. Traditional English tea, served on fine bone china decorated with roses, is enhanced by a vase of fresh blooms on each table.

Three tier cake stands contain sweet and savory delights. I chose a slice of lemon cake named for the rose 'Lichfield Angel'. This was an easy choice for me and you will know why if you read my postings, The Grand Dame of Flowers and In Search of an Angel.

Thank you Carole for taking me to these wonderful rose gardens. This was a special gift I will never forget.

Pamela x

Sign in the gift shop (unfortunately not for sale)

(Credits: Some descriptive phrases taken from David Austin, 'Handbook of Roses: 2011/12') 

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