foliage ~ November

we have had a couple of days without wind and rain so I have actually been able to be in the garden working for once, I did some work in the wilderness, I know there are lots of other things but I was just so fed up with the fact that I had not got anything done as I had planned this year, there are a lot of bulbs that need dividing and there was (notice past tense) a clump of corms I have been wanting to dig up for a few years now, so first I pulled the long grass off and then after a bit of digging and tugging the clump finally came up, diving the corms took a while I couldn’t believe how many and how big they were, 2 buckets of corms the third bucket on the right has the spent and damaged corms and foliage, these are for foliage a lovely blue/green lance shaped leaf, the flowers are small peachy flutes along the stem,
francescaple.bulbsandcorms1the 2 small corms at the front are the same size as the original few I bought, compare with the very large 4 corms behind them, sorry I can’t find the name for the plant yet,
this first foliage photo was taken over a week ago but I wanted to show one before they all disappeared as rosa rugosa blanc double de coubert’s foliage goes a lovely yellow,
the middle bed, really pleased with how this juniperus squamata holger is growing,
and festuca glauca elijah blue around the piece of broken pipe I put in the middle of them, I’ve finally bought a plant for it, thymus silver queen,
and although I like the dianthus with juniperus squamata blue star it’s got a bit too close so I will be moving it, I put several cuttings in at the same time and this is now the largest, what is irritating is the others all have more room to spread out,
buddleja lochinch, I cut the dead flowers off and all these new leaves have appeared, I love the silvery white of them,
a long shot from the other side of the bed, you can see how they fit together, still needs lots to do but coming along at last, the brown shrub on the right is a pontentillia with grey green foliage and pale yellow flowers,
still love this sedum, I noticed it is not increasing in size any more, I must try some cuttings,
pessicaria red dragon with chrysanthemum cinerarifolium, thank you Cathy,
the view from the point, I have been wanting to plant something near the olearia to echo the deep red of the phormium and red dragon fits the bill nicely, I had also wanted some more sword shaped foliage to echo the phormium and the new extracted corms should do the job well,
a closer view of the plants behind the dianthus, the blue grass was divided and planted in spring and has bulked up nicely there is a group of 3, two new plants, erica tetralix alba mollis has nearly white new foliage and white flowers from early summer and the other plant is leucanthemum hosmariense has silver green foliage with white daisy flowers,
I love how much elymus magellanicus blue grass has grown and looks with the dianthus, I might divide it in spring,
and another long shot, the large silver grey shrub is santolina chamaecyparissus pretty carol, the foxglove seedlings are not staying there but will be moved,
I bought several more plants for this bed including a hosta for the end of the bed near the house to see if that grows, I am having problems finding things to grow there and have lost many that are said to like the conditions, ha ha ….

now the jungle bed, this little combination still pleases me, the erica will be in flower in the new year, I am still amazed at how much the saxifraga has grown it had been in the middle bed for a few years and barely stayed alive, I am now thinking of dividing or taking some pieces off to increase it,
I bought quite a few new ericas and callunas as they do grow here and I have been surprised at the amount of variety there is, starting small with large plugs, this is erica darleyenis margaret porter new growth is cream and mauve flowers in may,
hypericum olympic erect and origanum vulgare acorn bank, I love this little hypericum, I didn’t know there were such beautiful low growing ones like this,
I was in the garden at the moment the sun came through these leaves and just had to include it, another new plants, for the jungle this time, gladiolus murielae, I wanted some sword like leaves, I had bought some iris which were doing well until all this wet which has killed them off, so I was looking for something else that would be able to cope with the wet, according to the info I read this should, we will see,
cupressus macrocarpa goldcrest is growing now and starting to show the contrast with the leylandii,
wilma was a bit smaller when I bought her but she is also starting to make her presences known between the leylandii and coloured willow,
I was surprised by the growth in the privet, I haven’t cut it for a few years and it’s becoming tree like I do not mind here and it adds to the contrast of foliage, I had imagined when I planted the leylandii behind the downy birch that I would be seeing the silver bark of the birches against the dark green of the leylandii but the birches are like large shrubs with very short stumpy trunks, sigh …….

as I walked back to the house I thought the sun through this phormium looks nice,
a last foliage photo is the alternative compost area, it has come on well if I remember it was only thick moss and tough grasses a year ago when I started to create it, the foliage you can see is red campion, foxgloves and geranium all pink flowering so as I no longer use it as an alternative compost area, I’ve started a new one behind the rugosa roses, this is now the pink barbie garden area, I have planted some daffodils for the spring, the dry grass on the right is a native seeded in and as it is nice and not a thug I have left it, I did consider adding some hardwood cuttings of shrubs but as it is surrounded by willows and calluna vulgaris I decided no,
thanks to Christina for hosting this meme, if you wish to see more foliage posts then click through to Christina’s blog,

our very brief reprieve from wet has finished, I woke this morning to the sound of rain, the sky is medium grey and the lights are still on in the house (8.50), 

have a nice weekend x

after reading Christina’s foliage post I felt dejected about mine, I had thought some things were coming together but her garden has grown so much in just a few years and yet again I started wondering why I bother, I walked into the kitchen and through the window I could see the damp meadow area and tweenie garden,
yes there is a lot of foliage and different autumnal colours, BUT!
the brown stems in the foreground are from a shrub that played nicely for the first 8-9 years then it started suckering and with the wet weather of the last few years I have not been able to do much about, I hate it, the green sword leaves are the common crocosmia and the rusty foliage is yellow loose strife both were put in when I started the area and I hoped that by now there would be something nicer, I’ve bought loads of plants which die, these carry on, no choice, the green shrub next to the brown stems is japanese quince, for years it was less than a foot tall and looked dead after every winter, 2 years ago it started growing and I saw the first flowers (tucked deep in the middle), now it has grown well up and out!!! it is suckering! none of the things I’ve read about this shrub say it suckers!!! and around all this is the wild tough grass and common calluna vulgaris, so what might look not too bad to the viewer is frustrating to the gardener, I would like to replace the crocosmia with the corms I’ve just dug up in the wilderness and there are other plants I want to move there but when! if ever,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

wordless Wednesday ~ last pepper



©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

weather, tides, ferries and trains

my journey south in early October was beset with delays, I booked the overnight bus nearly a week before leaving on a Monday, Thursday night/Friday morning I woke in the early hours and thought ‘I didn’t check the ferry time’ now this was weird, the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool hasn’t changed in the nearly 15yrs. since I first used it, so why would I wake thinking of this, on checking the ferry website Friday morning, the ferry time has changed, it now runs 45 mins later meaning I would not make the bus connection in Inverness, so as there isn’t a later bus, I booked the train, 20.44 from Inverness,
when I travel, especially in autumn and winter I keep checking the marine weather for the Minch (the strip of sea the ferry crosses), it was a bit blustery wind speeds in the late twenties with gust in the forties, check the ferry website, normal service, leave home on the midday bus,
arrive at the ferry terminal to find the ferry is running very late and has not left Ullapool yet, they hope it will be in before five, it’s now 1.15, anyway this means I will miss the train as even if the ferry leaves Stornoway at five I would not arrive in Inverness until after 9pm.

the ferry finally arrived at about 5.15 but could not unload as the tide was very high and the ferry ramp for the vehicles was several inches above the concrete ramp on land …………………
ferry eventually left Stornoway at 7pm. I arrived Inverness at 11pm. and I went to the railway station to see about possible trains, I was directed to the platform with overnight trains, all the lights were on, no people/staff, eventually found 4 train staff in a carriage, I explained about coming from Stornoway, Inverness people are aware of the weather and ferries, I finished by saying I was booked on the 8.44 train and have missed it, no you haven’t said one of the men this is it, it’s been cancelled!
you have to laugh,
anyway this was in my favour as Scotrail gave me a sleeper cabin for the night, I had not booked a sleeper only a seat, and due to the train being cancelled tickets were valid on any train to London the next day, Tuesday, I am so travelling by train in future had I been booked on a bus, I would have lost my ticket money and there is nothing at the bus station, the ticket/waiting area closes at 6pm.
the photos in this post are of Newcastle and Gateshead as the train went into the station then backed out, the shinny bug thing interested me, I’ve since learnt it is the Sage concert hall, Gateshead, where programmes on BBC radio 3 often come from, the curve of the building I thought echoed the curve of the old bridge,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

veggies, camelot and WP comment likes?

I think I will embarrass my non growing veggies on my blog more often, after saying in my last veg post that the carrots were not growing and the slugs had grazed what few cauliflowers had grown, imagine my surprise when I managed to get a few hours in the garden this week to find both had grown! not much but something no matter how small is better than nothing,
when I get a chance to get into the garden, rain has stopped play most of this year, the first thing I usually do is check the veg and harvest anything that is ready and I can use, when I did that last Wednesday I saw the carrot tops from my second batch of seed, sown in July, had grown, so I investigated and found, yes! some carrots, not much most are still the size of a pea,
this made me decide to check the cauliflowers and amazing there had been growth in late October, and, and, no grazing! I cut 2 larger ones, about tennis ball size, and left the rest but decided to kept a check on them,
last year the first time I grew cauliflower, I had one beautiful one, then as others grew I left them to get bigger, they just went all leggy and loose, with no nice tight flower heads, I learnt over winter that that is common, don’t leave them, take them small, Friday when I check the cauliflowers one that had been fine Wednesday, just 2 days earlier was now shooting up and had been grazed, so I cut them all even though some are a mere mouthful, the photo above shows the true colours taken outside, these look yellow from the artificial light in the kitchen, I placed a teaspoon in front so you can see just how wee 3 of them are, and one about the size of the one on the left has been eaten, it tasted good,
I found one golf ball sized beetroot …………………
the salad leaves are also from the garden, the kale is looking better now, whatever was eating it doesn’t like the stormy weather, and the broccoli leaves are doing great, no sprouts, hopefully will have some in spring, as I didn’t plant many potatoes this year I have nearly finished them, oh, and the baby leeks are still being pulled as needed, the last of the tomatoes and peppers are ripe and will soon be gone, cucumbers are finished, can’t believe I’ve managed to grow so much,

now Camelot, The Once and Future King by T H White is on BBC radio 4 and when listening to the first episode this afternoon, when Arthur described Camelot to Guenevere, I want Camelot weather, it only rains for agriculture purposes and it only rains at night, yes please,

now wordpress comment likes, how are you doing that? I have had e mails that some people ‘like’ the reply comment I leave to their comment and I can’t figure how you do it, I see no like buttons on any of the comments on my blog, I have noticed them on some other blogs, nothing shows on my blog that you have liked it, just the e mail, it’s beginning to annoy me I can’t find how you do it, please tell me, thanks,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

tree following ~ November

the grey alder has lost almost all it’s leaves with no colour change except brown windburn, the yellow gold leaved plant is another hornbeam,
I read/heard recently that some plants react to the shorter daylight rather than change in temperature, this interested me as the temperature here does not change a great deal but the daylight changes very dramatically, from about 20hrs. in summer to about 6hrs. in winter,

it’s interesting that one of the hornbeams next to the grey alder still has yellow leaves, there is one on the other side that has dried leaves just like the hornbeam I am following,
yes, what looks like a pile of dead leaves is the same hornbeam I showed in all it’s colourful glory a few weeks ago, hornbeams like beech hold on to their leaves until the new growth starts in spring, unless winter storms blow them off, I looked last month and this for the spiders but they are gone, I hope into hibernation or whatever they naturally do in winter,

thank you to Lucy for hosting this meme, this will probably be my last tree following post until next spring, I have really enjoyed taking this close look at my trees and if the meme runs next I will be joining in again, if you would like to see more tree following posts then please click through to Lucy’s blog,

I’ve been quiet on the blogging scene as I was away again and have been busy catching up with things since coming home at the beginning of last week, I didn’t do an end of month view post last month and will not be doing any more this year as there is nothing to show except some foliage which I will post as part of Christina‘s foliage meme.

thanks for reading and have a good weekend, x

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

wordy Wednesday ~ was foliage

well if you want to make a foliage post then take your photos before the hurricane hits, the dogwood foliage was looking beautiful and a few other shrubs, now most of the red and yellow leaves have been blown away though the still green leaves have hung on,

on Sunday morning I went into the back bedroom and through the window saw the little Hornbeam I have been showing in my tree following post with the sun on the wet leaves, it looked so pretty I rushed out to take a photo,




©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.


I did manage to get into the garden for a little while last Tuesday, it’s been too cold and windy since, I want to get some of the new plants planted but no hope, while I was in the garden the first thing to do is always collect veggies, this is the total of my carrot crop this year!
I don’t know why but apart from potatoes I do not do well with root crops, carrots and beetroot just are not growing much at all, I did get a small crop of carrots last year but this year I’ve literally only got a handful and the beetroot just isn’t growing any bulbs at all, help, any suggestions, I am wondering if it is temperature, it just doesn’t get warm enough,
I did dig up the remainder of the potatoes, I planted less this year, pulled the rest of the onions, some of these are smaller than the earlier crop because these were grown from seed the earlier ones were from a set, and I dug out a few more leeks, I’m leaving the leeks for as and when I want them, I’ve read they can be left in the ground through winter to be dug as needed, the washed potatoes,
I’m still taking a few broccoli leaves and noticed this week that there are the beginnings of some spears so I don’t know if I might get a few before they sleep for winter, the courgettes and pumpkins have been removed as they were dying back, the cauliflowers are only tiny hearts that the slugs have grazed so they will be for the compost heap when weather allows, there are still some salad leaves outside,
inside I am still getting some cucumbers but I have noticed they are growing much slower so I think the last few will be small, the peppers and tomatoes are still slowly turning red, still haven’t tried fried green tomatoes, really must, and I must remember to buy onion sets and garlic and plant them,
fruitwise, there were not many autumn raspberries, the small pieces of rhubarb I moved to the new bed in the fruit and berry garden grew well and I’ve not pulled the rhubarb which is now dying back so I am hoping they will be nice large crowns for next year, and now the potatoes have been dug out all I need to do is dig out as much creeping buttercup as I can, which is in this bed then start designing how I want it, I know what is going in there as I have black currant and gooseberry plants in pots I started as cuttings last year, it is such a sense of satisfaction and achievement having an area almost cleared and plants I’ve grown ready to go in,
the last of the gooseberries I froze will be used soon and I’ve started the last pot of gooseberry jam, there is quite a lot I want, hope and need to do in the fruit and berry garden before next spring, I think it will have to take a priority over the ornamental areas of the garden,
growing food and enjoying it gives a sense of purpose to gardening when the weather won’t let you enjoy your ornamental plants,

I wrote this post last night and the weather decided to prove me wrong, I’m glad to say, today after some rain early this morning, the wind started to lessen and the sun even came out for a short while, I took the opportunity to plant out some of the plants I’ve bought recently and do a little bit of weeding (so I could plant out in a weed free area),

have a nice weekend everyone,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.