Day 296: canopy’s last hurrah

The woods are in denial, and even the sky joined in today. Together they made a fair approximation of a late summer’s day, only being let down by an October sun…

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Day 295: dock day

Every year contains within its span a handful of days when the weather is perfect for weeding…

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Day 294: whispering corn

Those of us who garden never quite lose that sense of wonder that something as small as a seed can be transformed within the space of a single growing season into a plant as tall as a person…

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Day 293: rose hips

The hedgerows are full of rose hips – the hedges and many shrubs in the garden too, where a tangle of wild rose has romped through them. The shrub roses themselves... not so much..

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Day 292: red mistletoe cactus

Lurking among the ferns in the living room, and doing a very good job of blending in, is Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa ‘Red Coral’…

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Day 291: a favourite acer

Is it possible to have a favourite acer? It seems an especially difficult feat at this time of year, when every maple seems bent on outdoing its relatives in the autumn colour stakes…

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Day 290: somewhere inbetween

The bench outside the back door has taken on something of the character of the waiting room or way station – a limbo where plants come to rest, temporarily, before going to their long-term homes…

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Day 289: violas and pansies

When is a pansy not a pansy? When it’s a viola, of course. Or something like that – truth is, all pansies are violas, though not vice versa, and there’s some waffle about pansies having one downward facing petal and four upward…

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Day 288: woodland floor

The woodland floor in October has something of the lucky dip, or raffle about it, booted feet shuffling through an al fresco tombola drum, stick your hand in and pull out a prize…

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Day 287: spindle berry

From the soggy remnants of summer, the rich colours of autumn are just beginning to appear. Most notably outside my kitchen door, where a golden carpet of Oriental bittersweet leaves has appeared overnight…

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Day 286: ice and fire

Rarely moved to deprive the garden of flowers, I now feel duty bound to cut what I can for the house. Autumn has turned filthy, and shows no sign letting up for at least the next week…

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Day 285: a time to sow

In spite of the weather doing its best to bluster, here in Kent October continues relatively mild. There is warmth yet in the soil, and a fresh crop of seedlings and weedlings has appeared over the last few days…

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Day 284: remember your place

Clusters of bright berries are here already, bathed in golden October sunshine, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that the guests for your evening’s dinner party have turned up just after lunch…

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Day 283: recording progress

The importance of keeping a visual record of the garden over time is so conspicuously apparent, I can only wonder why for so long I’ve been indifferent to its practice…

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Day 282: Virginia creeper

The problem with creepers is that, when growing well, they don’t so much creep, as lollop, haul, claim and conquer. All plants defy gravity to a greater or lesser extent in their aerial parts…

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Day 281: a greenhouse for all

A glasshouse is a glorious thing. A greenhouse – which might be largely glass, but could just as well have windows of polycarbonate – is the next best thing, and there’s something rather wonderful about cramming them full of frost-tender plants at this time of year, a kind of fuggy Aladdin’s cave of barely-snoozing plant life…

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Day 280: a tangle of twine

Simple pleasures, they say, are invariably the best, and if like me you’re no stranger to the joy occasioned by a new spool of garden twine, you’ll probably agree that they’re right…

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Day 279: Japanese hydrangea vine

When is a hydrangea not a hydrangea? When it’s a Schizophragma integrifolium, of course…

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Day 278: spider silk for breakfast

It’s that time of year when each early-morning excursion down the garden will inevitably result in a face full of spider silk. I’ve learnt to march with arm stretched in front of me…

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Day 277: houseplants and heating

We’re so used to tracing the passage of the seasons by the signs we observe out of doors – what the trees or the leaves or the sky is doing…

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