October in the garden

An Instagram retrospective of October 2017

October has been mild and mainly dry in Kent, many trees still in leaf at the end of the month and no sign of a frost with sufficient bite to blacken the stems of the dahlias, which have flowered right through. There’s even some colour left in the borders, with salvias performing particularly well, and annuals like cosmos continuing to bloom with gusto. How long can it last?


This is a time of year when, as the flowers begin to fade, you really start to appreciate texture in the garden. 

Of course, it’s also the beginning of a period of several weeks when most gardeners are distracted from caring for their plants by the annual job of leaf clearing. I pretend to consider it a chore, but I don’t think anyone’s fooled into thinking I find it anything other than great fun. 

And all the while, the dahlias continued to flower...

...while grasses and the seedheads of tall perennials like eupatorium began to assert their dominance in the borders...

...and I, for one, have been enjoying the biscuity tones of early autumn. 

Changeable weather made for some dramatic sky and golden light combinations, providing ideal conditions for garden photography. 

...but even when the light was less than dramatic, there was enough contrast in the neutral colours of the prairie planting at Wisley to provide some interesting shots. 

There’s still colour in the border, though for how much longer, who can tell?

And the dahlias continued on...

...while I took full advantage both of them, and the leaves.

The light, of course, takes full advantage of the absence of chlorophyll in the autumnal foliage, and spends these months showing off by creating incendiary spectacles from any leaf sufficiently obliging to present its face to the sun’s rays.

But, as befits the all Hallows’ eve, we ended the month in gloom, with the garden taking on quite a different tone. 

I’d love to know how October was in your garden. Let me know on twitter, or in the comments below.