Year of Grace, Day 207. The garden at mid-autumn

The harvest moon was so bright, even hours before dawn, that it seemed more like eight than half past four.

It’s 4ºC at eight a.m., but no frost, brilliantly sunny — a gorgeous autumn day! I hadn’t realized the temperature was going down so low, but the calamondin, or the Philippine citrus also called calamansi, doesn’t seem to have suffered from the overnight chilling. It does need to go indoors though as it won’t stand prolonged exposure at that temperature and below.

One of the artichokes in the front garden — the best-flavoured one with purple-flushed tips — has two new buds. I have dubbed this part of the garden the Mediterranean area as it’s exposed to sun all day and its downward slope ensures good drainage for the herbs, despite the clay soil. The artichokes seem to love it here. The ones at the back — a northeastern exposure — don’t get as much sun nor drainage and are thus not as floriferous.

Nearby, the herbs are looking good: the filigreed leaves of Lad’s Love jostling the silvery oval leaves of sage, the serrated edges of catnip, and the almost white spikey lavender. This is a planting combination that I shall definitely try to recreate in my next garden. Below, on the left is sage, to the back is Lad’s Love, and on the right is catnip. Curiously, German cats don’t seem to respond to catnip, unlike our English cats who rubbed themselves silly on the newly emerging leaves in spring, purring with abandon and looking totally blissful. At any rate, Findus, the neighbour’s cat, doesn’t seem to. I don’t know why but I always think of him as Fergus.

The photo below gives you a better idea of them all together. The catnip is just beginning to flower — rather late: it is normally in bloom in England from early summer onwards.

Other herbs still looking good are the Japanese purple-leaf mitsuba (trefoil) and myoga, flanking a sedum planted with a baby parsley (I know – they love totally different conditions but seem to be keeping each other good company in the same pot nevertheless). Please click on the photos for a larger view.

Adding colour are Geranium Rozanne, Verbena bonariensis, and Agapanthus.

Also brightening up the garden are nasturtiums, blooming rather late, and Hydrangea Preziosa (not sure this is her) with its leaves turning fantastic colours, and the aptly named Sedum Autumn Joy (Herbstfreude).

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