our weather has been strong winds interspersed with gale force winds and quite a lot of rain too, since I came back from the mainland over 3 weeks ago I have had just one day and a couple of hours in the garden, most of these photos were taken 3 weeks ago,

the trees have had their leaves blown off by the gales without completing the colour changes but I did get a few photos 3 weeks ago, (all these trees were planted at the same time nearly 10 years ago you can see some just haven’t grown I’ve grown tired of weeding and mulching and nothing happens I don’t think it’s just the wind but also the low nutrient peat soil and contrary to what the presenters of gardeners question time think everyone does not have access to horse manure, mushroom compost, etc.)  
Downey Birch

Norway Maple
Red Oak

Rowan, these few leaves are low on this tree all the rest were blown dry as a crisp,

shrubs this Spiraea stem looked beautiful 3 weeks ago now all the stems are covered with dry grey/brown crisp leaves, I’m amazed at their tenacity of clinging on still,

this photo is the only recent photo in a little bit of calm late one afternoon, I love the red of next years buds showing with the golden leaves on Ribes flowering currant, I hope the winds don’t kill the buds though,

Ajuga foliage looks good all year, the ajuga I planted near the pines is travelling around nicely now and I think contrasts well with the decomposing pine needles,
Ajuga retans atropurpurea (at least I think it’s that one, it was given me by a neighbour years ago)

Ajuga catlins giant (needs weeding)

early this year I dug up and split a large clump of Kniphofia and planted some behind this Bunnera I like the contrast of green and some of the golden feverfew seeded behind the Kniphofia which I think will look nice peeping through next year,

these are below some of the Alders, it is a shaded area especially when the trees are in full leaf, I like the brightness the golden feverfew and yellow archangel bring to the area, the small dark green leaves are native primrose the large on the left are native foxglove, I’m going to remove the lady’s mantle that has seeded in and plant it else where or it will try to take over,

this tiny fern will/should eventually grow large Osmunda regalis the royal fern it is planted near the pink candelabra primulars, so foliage in waiting …..

for more foliage posts visit Christina’s blog here

windy weather update ….. it’s blowing strongly as I write and there are 75 mph winds on the way here, have a nice weekend ……..

©Copyright 2011 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

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36 responses to “foliage

  1. You certainly garden in the face of adversity – and succeed even if your plants are a little smaller than they should be!
    Love the leaves of your red oak and the photos showing contrasting foliage.
    My Osmunda regalis died last winter – it was planted in the ditch between the back garden and the woodland, should have been protected there, but obviously still too cold for it – hope you have more luck with yours!!

    • thanks Pauline, I love the red oaks too, I bought 5 of them and along with other trees bought in a local nursery (sadly no longer open) I ‘thought’ according to all the garden ‘experts’ I would have a nice border 3 trees deep/wide with shrubs under around the perimiter of my garden by now,

      sorry you lost your Osmunda regalis along with your gunnera, you did have some very cold weather, I only bought mine this spring so this will be it’s first winter it is also in a ditch garden, if our winter gets as cold as yours was last year then mainland Scotland WILL have entered a second ice age!! how tall mine will grow will depend on the spring winds it is in a sheltered spot, though not as shelter as it was because the May gales have killed all growth on the Willows I’m just hoping they are not completely dead and will throw new shoots next spring, Frances

  2. It can be disheartening sometimes putting up with bad weather, soil etc. Here in the valley we too get lots of wind but we have created little sheltered areas and put a fence of pallets to the south-west of the garden, thats where the prevailing wind comes from. The soil…won’t even go there today…but we’re working on it!

    • thanks Bridget, I paid nearly £1200 for a windproof fence on my south west side which is where our preveiling winds comes from, the man that did it turned out to be a ‘cowboy’ it fell the first winter winds, he has patched it and it’s sort of holding but not what I should have had for my money, I have sheltered areas and have come to the conclusion that I need to divide the garden more into mini gardens, it’s not how I would like it I like the open large area but needs must if I want to grow anything much,

      SOIL …… before I finally got a garden for years I read books, listened to radio garden progs and when I still watch TV watched garden programmes, all any of them did was praise peat, none mention gardening on a peat soil, none mention that peat is virtually deviod of nutrients, I only learned this last year and getting nutrients into the soil when there is nothing local availble (except the occasional bit of seaweed) it is very difficult, our local council collect for compost but doesn’t sell it back to us it uses it to cover the landfill site, I would love a clay soil with all that food for my plants, Frances

  3. I think your trees are just hunckering down against the wind, I’m not sure what you can do except maybe put some netting as wind protection until they get going; their leaf colour was lovely so worth persevering. Christina

    • islandthreads

      some of them have shelter and they all have low shelter from the heather growing near them, I think the soil where the heather grows is very poor and I’m not sure how deep it goes as there are lots of rock out crops around, Frances

  4. Frances, sometimes I complain about our windy conditions here and then I read your blog and realize I really don’t have it that bad at all. The colour on your red oak is stunning. Ours is just starting to show red. We are waiting until the leaves drop and will be using plastic piping on the now multiple trunks to keep the voles away this year. Starting new trees is a test in patience I think. So many years for their roots to grow strong and for them to really take hold in their surroundings. bugs, rodents and wind take their tole but eventually they will persevere I think.

    • islandthreads

      actually Marguerite the weather office seems to be wrong this time (I hope I’m not tempting fate) but the wind has dropped, the ferry was cancelled due the weather too, mind you I like it when the weather people get it wrong this way, last Tuesday we did have winds too strong to safely walk in though,
      all the red oaks are still alive and thanks to you I now know why they keep re-shooting, I’m thinking of digging one up and planting it in the area protected by the conifers if I get weather I can garden in! good luck with your protection this winter, Frances

  5. Its a pity your trees are reluctant to grow Francis. I think the problem does have as much to do with the soil as it has to do with the wind. Its certainly got nothing to do with the temperature, as you know its colder on the east where we are and yet the trees we plant grow faster than would be expected. Kniphofia, grows in your garden, I don’t know how often I have tried it, just wont form flower spikes. Alistair

    • islandthreads

      Alestaer ;o)

      I know it’s not the temps as we are so mild compared to all the mainland, I have warmer winters here than when I lived in the south east of England though we do have the windchill factor more here,

      I’m amazed that Kniphofia doesn’t flower where you are, as I split mine I didn’t have as many flowers this year, I notice it seems to like the damper parts of the garden could yours be too dry, I want to get the white variety, I like the yellow too but I have quite a lot of yellow and a lot of the wild plants are yellow so I’m sort of avioding more yellow plants, FrancEs :o)

      • The Kniphofia does like damp. Here we see them growing wild in boggy patches amongst reeds. Mine are planted in ‘Plum Creek’ a hollow that catches and holds the winter rain, and gets topped up sometimes in summer.

        Wind and the wellies shares your climate? She is also growing a willow windbreak.

        • islandthreads

          thanks Diana, yes I know Fay is on Orkney, there is lots of willow grown most is what I think is called white willow, I have some coloured willows bright oranges and some black too I like the coloured stems in winter, Frances

        • Yes – I too like to enjoy those wintercoloured stems, vicariously, without the winter ;~)

          Would you consider putting up a post about the sea eagles? That was so interesting, but it is tucked away in my comments. We once saw puffins in Scotland. That is, he crawled to cliff edge and took photos, and I saw the photos.

        • islandthreads

          Diana I don’t know enough about Eagles Sea or Golden for a post but I will add some info and links to my next written post (my next post will be wordless Wednesday), there are Golden Eagles on the moor behind my house, another reason why giant windturbines are not pracitical there, when driving I once had to brake sharply one evening on Skye due to Puffins on the road, they are on the cliffs around the islands, Frances

  6. The gale like winds were here this past week and trees got hard hit again. But is too bad the leaves are getting blown off just when they are the prettiest. I did not even get to photograph our street trees yet.

    • islandthreads

      Donna I can imagine you could get some strong winds off the lakes, it’s a shame about your trees as they are mature and if I remember Norway maples, I hope you didn’t have too many fallen branches as you did in the spring, Frances

  7. Frances these are beautiful pics of foliage. I especially love the red of the oak. I removed the lady’s mantle from under the trees because they were taking over. I have them elsewhere and I do love them

    • islandthreads

      thanks Donna, I love the red oak too and had visions of 5 reasonable sized oaks by now though I am glad they are still alive at least, I have lots of lady’s mantle in other parts of the garden I used to leave all seedlings as I was gratefull to have something grow but now I am transplanting to selected areas, Frances

  8. You made me smile at your comment about horse manure and mushroom compost. Very true statement, that. I’m sorry to hear your winds are still going. Is there any idea when your weather will improve? We are lucky over here that the typhoons and monsoons have abated a bit and so my plants are currently enjoying the sun (not as hot and scorching as summer) and the afternoon showers (no more heavy rainfall).

    • islandthreads

      Bom thankfully the winds yesterday didn’t get as strong as the weather office predicted, one day I will be irritated by the presenters enough to write/e mail and tell them! I’m glad you are enjoying better weather too, Frances

  9. We have clay soil, which turns to stone after a few sunny days. It takes a years of dumping compost and working it in (by shovel) and eventually I can get a bed that roots will be able to manage. Many times I’ve dug up unhealthy shrubs to find their roots growing in circles in a little sphere that was the original planting hole. I love the red oak leaves! My oaks all go brown.

    • islandthreads

      Linnie I know clay soil as that is what was in my parents garden when I grew up and the little garden I had for a few years in the 1970′s, my son has clay soil in his garden, I have heard of plants that don’t grow outside the planting hole, there are 2 theories to try to deal with it, plant in a square hole so the roots can’t go round and round, dig a larger hole and mix the planting compost with the clay, clay does have something good about it is full of food and plants (like us) need food, there is a gardener over here (can’t remember his name but have read his books years ago) he dug sand into his clay garden to aid drainage and has a beautiful garden,
      the oaks I know best are the big old oaks in England which just go brown, the ones I bought and was told would grow well here are Quercus Rubra red oak, Frances

  10. Even though they are tiny trees, they are so colourful and beautiful. Oh how I’d love to experience it in person!

  11. patientgardener

    your posts always remind me how lucky I am to have such easy access to compost etc.

    • islandthreads

      thanks Helen, I can understand people not realising they have things that are not nationwide, I did until I moved here but I feel the garden presenters on nationwide programmes should be more aware that all regions do not have the same services available to them, Frances

  12. What wonderful colour in your garden, Frances, even if it didn’t last long in these winds.

  13. Beautiful colours on your diminutive trees Frances. Friends of mine live on Anglesey, and get a lot of wind too. They planted a large number of trees over thirty years ago and most are still only 6′ tall! The exceptions are the willows, which love it.

    • islandthreads

      thanks Janet, of the trees I planted as well as the Willows the Alders have done well and the Downey birch vary some doing very well other only fairly well, Rowan have not done as well as expected, I also have some that are a member of the Popular family but I don’t know which a cutting was given me called New Zealand broad leaf, I’ve not found any info on it, Frances

  14. I love how most plants have something to say at this time of year through their lovely change of color. You have demonstrated that so well here.

  15. Frances, so sorry to hear about all the gale force winds you’re experiencing. That must be terribly frustrating for you. I can certainly relate to the weather not cooperating…hope you get some relief soon.

    Sweet little trees; they make me think of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree :)

    • islandthreads

      Cat thank you, since Sunday I have been thinking ‘at least we don’t have earthquakes’

      love the Charlie Brown assossiation will imagine Snoopy hiding behind them infuture ;o) Frances

  16. I have bought some baby restios as I read somewhere that they dont mind the wind – I will be able to report back in 5 years. While I dont think our winds are quite as bad as yours – gusts of only up to 45 mph I am also thinking about more shelter belt planting. I think I have got used to everything growing at an angle of 45 degrees now.

    What a wonderful colour your Ajuga catlins giant is. You have some nice Autumn colours in your images.

    • islandthreads

      thanks Karen, ajuga catlins giant isn’t aggressive like the more common ajugas so can be used better with other plants,
      I think you get more rain than we do, I’m using anything that has grown to at least small shrub size in the wind as shelter belt, experience is better than books, Frances