Floral eye candy for a grey Monday

Hydrangea Black Diamonds

There are still lots of special things to see in my garden, even though we are nearing the end of autumn. On cloudy days, the few remaining flowers look so bright they seem to shout through the browns, greys and increasingly dull greens, and I just have to go out there and have a closer look. So I thought I would share some of my flowers with you to brighten up your Monday!

The hydrangea Black Diamonds (pictured above) that lives in a pot near my shed has been a delight for months now. This truly gorgeous lacecap hydrangea was a birthday present from my lovely sister. It has decadently large, dark blue-purple flowers and almost black leaves and stems. I fear that that the flower colour will change if it’s planted in a border. Many hydrangeas are either blue or pink-flowering, depending on the pH of the soil in which they’re grown. I’ve always assumed my soil is alkaline because my mophead hydrangeas flower pink. On the other hand, the acid-loving camellias that grow in my garden look healthy enough, if a bit on the small side. To be sure I’m going to do a soil pH test. If my soil is alkaline, I’ll keep the hydrangea in a pot, repotting when needed with ericaceous (acidic) compost and watering only with rainwater (tap water is usually alkaline).

Roses are still in bloom all over the garden and I’ve been enjoying plunging my nose into the flowers to take in the scent. The St Ethelburga rose has perfect, densely packed pale pink blooms, and smells just like turkish delight. And the procumbent (ground covering) rosa Bonica has been a very reliable bloomer in dappled shade at the back of the garden. It has more open, darker pink blooms, and a wilder look than the St Ethelburga.

The gladioli are coping better with the blustery weather now that I have staked them. I did lose one stem that was snapped off by the wind because I hadn’t used a tall enough stake. They can become quite top heavy as they flower from the bottom up, so watch out! The coral colour of this variety (I’m afraid I don’t know which it is) hasn’t come through in the photo.

The aster laterifloris Lady in Black that I wrote about in this post is still covered in pretty pink blossom, and I like seeing it from our kitchen window when I’m doing the washing up. The whole thing looks a bit like candy floss from a distance.

And the zebra grass miscanthus sinensis that my mum gave me last year is looking really striking, with its yellow stripes and long, delicate flowers waving over the the border. This is a great time of year for grasses. Another miscanthus, Chinese silver grass, is looking quite magnificent in our front garden at the moment. I grew this plant from a tiny seed two years ago. It sat on my kitchen window sill throughout the winter until it the weather warmed up and I planted it out. It’s now over 6 foot tall! Sometimes, when I come home after picking the kids up from school, the setting sun is shining through its fluffy flower heads making them glow and, I think, I made that happen!

I do hope you’ve had a chance to spend some time looking at your garden this autumn, and that you still have some flowers to enjoy too. If you don’t have any flowers now, then try growing one of the plants pictured below, and you might have some next year.

Rosa St Ethelburga

Rosa Bonica



Zebra Grass

Chinese silver grass

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