Well, we are certainly in a period of change and transition here in the UK: From losing our lovely Queen (which somehow felt like it was impossible) to gaining a King, from losing a clown of a Prime Minister to gaining a different one of dubious opinions, plus we are quite definitely moving from summer and drought conditions to a damp autumnal season. I love autumn though!
One of the best things about autumn is nature’s evident bounty. It’s a brilliant time for gathering, jamming, freezing, pickling and drying. It is tremendously satisfying to be able to wander along the hedgerows, foraging for fruits and nuts and seed heads. And that is where I am starting my Six today …
“Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.”
The first stanza of the poem Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath (before it moves on to more sombre themes).
I’ve been out blackberrying along various village hedgerows over the last three weeks and I’ve got purple fingers to prove it too! I’ve discovered that not all blackberries are equal and that the patch on the edge of the local quarry has the best flavour by far. I only meet one other person collecting from that patch, so hopefully I’ll be able to return for more. On the homeward journey through the village I look out for free offerings of windfall pears, apples etc to make delicious stewed fruit.
2 Greenhouse mouse/mice finally caught!
You may remember that earlier in the season I had small rodents causing chaos in our greenhouse and I resorted to setting a couple of humane traps. At that time I caught nothing, except a cute photo of what we thought, on balance, was a vole! Well, over the last couple of weeks I have caught two mice in the traps (in spite of them now being bait-free). I took the traps some distance, over the fields at the back of us, to release the mice.
Funnily enough, the greenhouse is also proving a popular destination with blackbirds, robins and wrens this year. Spider time possibly?
3 Salvia guarantica ‘Amante’
This has to be my salvia-of-the-moment. I adore its deep cerise flowers, which are offered up on long spikes in little cup-like, almost-black calyces.
4 Mirabilis longiflora
Mirabilis longiflora has lovely, scented white flowers, but the drama comes from their excessively long trumpets (see inset photo for a sense of their length). I have half a dozen of these plants (from seed) growing in the greenhouse, none of which have flowered yet this year. This photo is of a plant that has sown itself in a nerine pot on the other side of the greenhouse. How it got there might be something to do with all the creatures that seem to live there.
5 Hemp agrimony
This summer an unknown plant started to grow in the pebble garden beside the patio. I left it for a bit, while I tried to identify it. I decided that it looked like Joe Pye weed and when it finally started flowering, it was clearly the right genus. I think that it is Eupatorium cannabinum, aka Hemp Agrimony (also known as ‘Raspberries and Cream’). It’s lovely. It’s scented and has been flowering for ages. How it arrived in the garden is another of life’s mysteries. I will collect seed and try to move it out of the middle of the pebble garden once it starts to die back.
6 Chilli ‘Bishop’s Crown’
At work, the vegetable team grew a few too many chillies to stage in the greenhouse, so some of the module-bound extras were allowed to go to good homes 😉 . I brought home a Cayenne and this interesting ‘Bishop’s Crown’. It’s been slow to get going, but there are enough fruits to try. I don’t know quite what to expect from them. Their heat strength is said to be variable. T&M suggest that they are mild and fruity. A couple look ready, so I will soon know. Wish me luck!
So those are my Six on Saturday for this week.
Jonathon is back home from his eventful run round Anglesey last weekend and hosting as usual, so hop across to his blog to read more Six on Saturday posts.
Take care and have a good weekend!
Finding self seeded plants can be lots of fun. Especially trying to identify them.
Yes! I usually manage to cosset weeds 🤣
Lovely mirabilis. Do the flowers only open at nightfall like M. jalapa?
And good with the chillies !
Yes, that’s why the photo is a bit noisy 😉 . Thanks!
I really like that hemp agrimony. It reminds me of our mistflowers (genus conoclinium) or late boneset, Eupatorium serotinum. If it’s as fragrant and as much of a draw for the pollinators, it will be a wonderful addition to your garden.
I can’t believe blackberries now! Ours are long gone, like the dewberries and strawberries. Of course, strawberry picking often begins in late January or early February for us, so there’s that.
It’s traditional to combine blackberries with apples (as they ripen) here, so it’s always August/September. I’ve enjoyed the wild hemp agrimony more than my purchased eupatorium cultivars in fact … and I’d hazard that the bumblebees have too 🙂
What an interesting and varied post, Allison – I enjoyed reading it. I have not read much of Sylvia Plath, and haven’t come across this poem before…I am intrigued enough to seek out the later parts of it… 😉
Thanks Cathy. I find that I often overlook poetry, so reading posts sharing some of this art is always a treat!
And reminds me it’s ages since I wrote any!
A very interesting mix this week Allison. What a gorgeous Salvia. Glad the mouse problem has been solved. Happy pickling/brambling etc!
Cheers Cathy! The mouse problem is distressingly still ongoing 😦 . Blackberries are now over, but the damson and sloe harvest is great!
Oh dear. Mice are a problem here too.
A charming stroll through early autumn. Thanks for bringing me along!
A great six! I also grow S. amante and have wondered how to describe its color. Your “deep cerise” is perfect. I have mine as center interest in wine barrels for a couple years and am wondering how to keep its height reasonable. Perhaps cutting it back once mid-growth?
Thanks! Yes, it is very vigorous (like Amistad, which it is planted beside here). I start taking cuttings about then, so they suffer useful trimming keeping them in check 🤣. They both seem to respond well to pruning.