Look carefully and there are still flowers giving of their all in the autumn garden with others gearing up for winter flowering…

A before and after

This bed is to the right of our driveway gate.  The penstemon in the centre of this bed has been annoying me for some time.  It was too big and unkempt.  I’ve been waiting for it to stop flowering but fellow penstemon growers will know they’re the duracell bunny of flowering perennials.  This week I could wait no more and it was whipped out and sent to the compost heap.   

The resulting tableau is much more balanced, opens up a good view of the budding Edgeworthia which will be in flower after Christmas.  This also provides some space for bulb planting.  I did take some cuttings first though as this is quite a lovely penstemon and planted somewhere else will do just fine.Penstemon cuttings

Doting on a dahliadahlia american dawn

Each week I have a different favourite dahlia.  This week it’s this peachy ‘American Dawn’, presumably named after its sunrise colouring.  I love the fact that the petals have pink on the underside but are peach on the uppers, leaving a pretty two-tone effect.

The other thing to recommend this dahlia is how garden-worthy it is.  It’s stems are strong and upright and survive well even if not staked so it’s easy to care for as well as being a great cut flower.

Lewisia cotyledon ‘Elise’Lewisia cotyledon 'Elise'

From the buxom bloom of dahlias to a dainty alpine.  This Lewisia flowers pretty well outside but really does enjoy this airy spot in my greenhouse sand box.  I do have some in my rockery but flowering has finished there for the year.  As winter approaches, I’ll celebrate any little flower that keeps giving me something to smile about.

Alpine sand box Lewisia cotyledon 'Elise'

Anisodontea el reyoAnisodontea el reyo

Earlier this week I paid a visit to one of my local Alpine Garden Society friends.  I was delighted to spot that she has a shrub I’ve been meaning to identify for over a year and she was able to give me a name.  Anisodontea is a bit of a mouthful but the common name African Mallow is a bit easier to remember.Anisodontea el reyo

This plant is probably on the edge of hardiness in my garden so was in a pot until June. I decided it was looking a bit sick and spindly and needed to get its roots in the ground, which was probably a good call as it is certainly hardy in my friend’s garden anyway.  Now it’s looking so very healthy but has gone a bit pudding shaped.  I’m tempted to do a bit of pruning and shaping to give it a slightly airier feel.   Regardless of its shape, I’m keen on the leaf form and also the very delicate veined mallow flowers.

Acacia dealbataAcacia dealbata buds

This plant, often called Mimosa, featured in one of my earliest garden diaries.   A wall of sweet smelling loveliness greeted me on a visit to the Princess of Wales Greenhouse at Kew one February.  I tried to grow one from seed but they failed to germinate.  I then  found this lovely specimen unexpectedly at a local garden centre.  It’s been enjoying the sunshine on this patio and has many wonderful buds swelling amongst the ferny foliage.  I’ll be moving it to the greenhouse soon.Acacia dealbata

Lampranthus cuttings

This plant has become one of my rockery favourites.  I’ve featured it before when describing some of this year’s rock garden successes and it’s more than tripled in size this year.

Lampranthus hail from the semi-desert areas of South Africa and are hardy in milder areas.  I don’t think they like wet weather but mine is fairly well protected and growing in very gritty, sandy soil.  I’m hopeful it’ll see out the winter.  As insurance I have taken some cuttings which still look perky in the greenhouse.


This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday.  For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.