We were out and about visiting lovely gardens this week, with the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness not far behind us.
First stop was to Maurice and Joy Parkinson’s country garden at Ballyrobert, where the deep herbaceous borders were vibrant with the colours of late summer.
Before we began to record we sat in the sun with a welcome cuppa to catch up on the news and to enjoy the unexpected warmth of the morning.
And all around the garden shone.
Among the stand–out herbaceous plants which Maurice took us to see were an impossibly pink Astilbe “Brokat” with it’s fluffy flowers like slender powder puffs, delicate drifts of Veronicastrum “Virginicum Album”, their tall white flowers spikes swaying at the back of a tree framed border and bright displays of day lilies Hemerocallis “Frans Hals” making the most of their brief moments in bloom.
Just some of the lovely late summer plants which give gardens such atmosphere as summer begins to drift into autumn.
It was hard to tear ourselves away.
There are few plants which step up to the late summer plate as well as the show-stopping Dahlias. From petal packed pom-poms to spiky mop-heads or simpler flowers, their fine foliage makes a perfect foil to the bright colours of the flowers.
Reg Maxwell grows a lovely assortment on pots on the patio, where he can more easily control the marauding slugs who love them too, so we paid a visit to Reg to borrow his knowledge for the programme.
And not only did we come away with all the know-how we needed, but also with pots of delicious home-made Raspberry and Jostaberry jam made by Reg’s wife Pat.
Generous people gardeners... thanks Pat.
Dahlias are native to South America and it’s easy to imagine their jewel-like colours in places where the light is bright and the climate is hot.
They like to be lifted after the first frosts have come, then dried and stored in a sheltered place through the winter.
With more than 1,000 varieties in Plant-finder we are all spoiled for choice. So I made a mental note to promise myself a happy afternoon browsing catalogues.
Then to round off a lovely week we called with Barbara Picher at Lisdoonan to see what she has been harvesting.
On the kitchen table by the range, a crop of small, sturdy gherkins were waiting to be pickled for winter, with chillies and dill to be added for flavour and colour, the wine vinegar and spices which were warming in the pan filling the kitchen with a lovely autumnal aroma.
The table in the barn was arrayed and displayed with a selection of courgettes, both golden and green, cucumbers, broad beans, French beans, tiny tomatoes, peppers and grapes.
And outside the barn doors bees were buzzing around oregano and lavender as we made our way to the propagating house to see what seedlings were sprouting, taking advantage of the last seasonal days of light and warmth.
En route we passed by an large circular cattle trough transformed by a bright blue Agapanthus, seedlings from which have sprouted in the paving cracks below and are happily cohabiting with tiny Erigeron daisies.
Programme item duly recorded and with a kind offer from Barbara to help ourselves to the goodies on the table (thank you Barbara) we did just that and made our happy way back to base to put the finishing touches to this week’s programme which you can hear just after nine on Saturday, after one on Sunday or of course, on-line.
Till next week, goodbye and as the mantra goes, good gardening.