Have I mentioned that I love autumn? Have I waxed lyrical about it and bored you to tears talking about crisp and clear days, and coloured leaves, and soft rain? No? Well, I probably need not go on about it, but I do love autumn, love love love it. It's my favourite season of all, and it's such a shame winter must follow it every year.
Anyway, in my area every year there is the 'Stirling Autumn Garden Festival,' where all the European trees in the area put on a show, and there are some open gardens and a market down the main street where people sell foods, wines, cheese, plants and all manner of good things. This year it was on the weekend just past. I bundled SP into her pusher and we walked to one of the open gardens, the immaculate Beechwood, which is only 10 minutes from where we live. We could not have had more perfect walking weather: 24 degrees Celsius, sunny and still.
Along the way I had lots of opportunities to appreciate how lovely this area is in Autumn (though I do feel a bit of a traitor to Australian Native Plants to say that) as we walked past people's gardens and admired them.
I think I want to try growing a couple of roses for their hips rather than the flowers. I rather like the idea of making my own rose hip tea.
We walked into Beechwood, along the hydrangea path to the conservatory, where just past past it I spotted my first 'favourite plant' of the day: a lovely apricot coloured, climbing fluffy rose (a David Austin?). Sigh.
Just over a lawned area from there, another 'wow' moment, a stone wall just like I'd like to have, and slate pavers in the grass much like I have planned for our garden. Gosh, it was lovely!And it gives me a small bit of confidence that my garden design is not totally off track (though we have not got the space for sweeping lawns and lots of trees).
I loved this too, though I'll not be able to do anything like it myself. The contrast between the pale rendered wall and the bronze and green magnolia leaves is fabulous.
Quite often I'll fall in love with a plant based solely on the shape and structure of it's leaves. How wonderful is this?! Like fans or many-fingered hands. I think it might be a rhododendron but to be honest I'm only about 60% sure of that.
And then a garden seat under tree ferns and flanked by Japanese windflowers. Beautiful, beautiful.
I have a post all about Japanese windflowers in the works. They are my plant of the moment.
Once SP had had enough of the garden we walked up into Stirling for the market. It was the end of the day by now, after 4pm and people were beginning to pack up, but there was still plenty to see and lots of plant stalls to peruse for my 'thinking' list.
Of course, this little gardener cannot go to a market without coming away with something a bit cute. I have been admiring a leucodendron in a neighbour's garden, it's about waist height and rounded and has bright red growth at the end of every branch, a bit like candles. I'm not sure which species is in that garden, but I found a stall with half a dozen smaller red varieties (yellow too, but it was red that I wanted) and I chose this baby: a Red Devil (Leucodendron salignum), to go under the roses I think. Or should I put it out the back? Decisions decisions!