A thought: I have always been irritated by puns and alliteration in headings to articles, especially in garden magazines. Why am I so intent  then on perpetrating this aberration? Perhaps because ‘Autumn gathers momentum’ is a little lame…? But to illustrate my theme, here are four near identical compositions taken on the 7th, 14th, 18th and 20th of this month.

Tulip trees in The Avenue

Autumn from the guest room

panorama on autumn

Lucas collecting seed

In the last photo Lucas Letsoalo, my foreman, is wondering through the garden at midday, collecting seed. Although right here I think he is proudly admiring a somewhat belated summer feature. We sowed a packet of striped zinnia seed I wanted to experiment with, together with eight or so bedraggled dahlia tubers  found in the back of a cupboard, and due to have been planted in October. This was in late January or even February…

Zinnias & dahlias 1

Three of the dahlias survived and are in flower. After feeling iffy about the zinnias when they started blooming, they have now grown on me. It must be six or eight years since we bought in zinnia seed, and our crop has gradually stood up less well to inspection; one of the reasons I bought the striped seeds. Meanwhile I have been marking local dahlias, most the descendants of ones planted 50 years ago in the village, for begging, stealing and propagating from next year. I want a dahlia wow. One of my staff brought me three plants last month of a wine-red pom-pom grown by the thousands in the local rural townships, all possibly descended from one plant. Talk about cottage gardening in the true sense of the word!  I had commented on how lovely they were when I took them home on a Friday afternoon. Besides – I remember peering over a garden wall on tip-toe (the wall must have been all of 80cm -2 1/2 feet – high) and standing enthralled before just such a pompom… I digress.

Zinnias & dahlias 2

In search of a late summer splash, I am looking at combining the dahlias and zinnias. This is what this little experiment is about. Jewel colours…

Zinnias & dahlias 3

Zinnias, of all flowers, have always to me had the most beautiful colours. Is it an aberration to stripe them?… I have yet to decide.

Zinnia 1

Rather lovely, this one…

Zinnia 3

Hmmm…. perhaps a bit busy?

Zinnia 6

Ho-hum… or no: I think I like it!

Zinnia 5

Oh come on. Nothing is quite as grey as a white zinnia. And you call those STRIPES!?!

Zinnia 4

Now that’s rather lovely! But hey – we’re talking stripes.Where are they? Or is that picotee? Wait a moment. This is an autumn post. Not a planning-late-summer-one…

Maples from the arboretum

On a walk through the arboretum the maples are magnificent; the red in the foreground is Acer palmatum, the yellow is A. saccharinum – Japanese and Silver maples. Below is A. rubrum – the Red maple, against a Japanese maple.

Acer Rubrum & palmatum

Under the pin-oaks in Oak Avenue, against a backdrop of hydrangeas and at this stage still towering over a young indigenous tree-fern (Cyathea gregii) stands a super-elegant Japanese maple. I’m pretty certain that composition is unique in the world!

Maple under Oak Ave

 And talking hydrangeas – take a look at these beautifully bleached blue ones, from the mass at the end of the Beech axis, seen against the Silver Maples we saw in an earlier photo.

Hydrangeas against Silver Maples

Beautiful, no?

Hydrangeas against Silver Maples2

And very good with red – Cornus florida in this case…

Cornus florida

Well, I could carry on – falling (as it were) into an ever more colourful autumn adulation. Perhaps it is time to stop and head for bed Winking smile


2 thoughts on “FULL SPEED FALL

  1. Lest I succumb to alliteration in admiration will just say that I’d never stoop to fall when Autumn brings the season to such a climax. Prefer the top striped zinnia because it is the least uniform and thus could be called ‘the accidental painter’

  2. Pingback: A visit to the Fairest Cape – and a frosty welcome back home « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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