grasses in the garden

November 1, 2010

Grasses in pots and in the ground at Knoll Gardens. . . .


Lovely to get right down into Carex testacea . . .

 . . and Miscanthus ‘Malepartus’.

By the bark circle, an elegant Ginkgo is turning buttery yellow . . .

 . . . and all the tones of late summer and autumn are woven through the borders . . .

 . . . I find I’m particularly taken by the upright Panicum ‘North Wind’ as well as the stature of a gum . . .

 . . . and more buttery foliage on a group of Veronicastrum . . .

 . . with liquorice ligularia heads. Mmmm.! This is an exquisite time of year just before the leaves come down.

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?  Gathering Leaves  Robert Frost

very special plants

November 1, 2010

Special Plants is in a special place! And how, those great tables of box, yew and beech flow magnificently down the garden and echo the structure in the landscape beyond.  

The last remaining dahlias pump out their strong tones in a final flourish. Powerful stuff!

The pretty tree is Malus transitoria with tiny pinkish yellow fruits. Trees with berries became the subject of discussion on the unease amongst the Health and Safety fraternity to allow fruiting trees in school areas in case pupils stuff berries up their noses!

The line of Miscanthus make an interesting fluffy interface between orchard and paddock – it must be wet down there. 

The beech circle has two round openings at eye level – to the north and to the south. To the north, tall Molinia caerulea wave around in front of the barn. The barn is stuffed with logs. Crushed brick is used as a surface on the paths – very effective. 


The raised ‘new gravel garden’ with a sculpture by David Mayne – excellent with the autumn coat of the sedum.

A log wall down by the pond and the most magnificent chestnut ever.

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – – -roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – – – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

 Fall Song – Mary Oliver

aah, Bristol!

November 1, 2010

In the garden in Cliftonwood, there’s a rather luscious vine . . .

. . . and, from the bottom of the garden looking up the steep slope, a fig and a spectacular apple tree . . . .

. . . SS Gt Britain rests looking quite at home in the dock just  below the garden . . .

. .  we’re spoilt for choice with focal points and views . . .

. .  looking to the west  – rooftops and the hills beyond – and some fine renovated warehouses . . .

. . . and then my first glimpse of another Brunel feat of imagination, perseverance and staggering engineering design and construction.


‘suspensa  vix  via   fit’  is the inscription at the top of the tower. The translation seems to be something like ‘ a suspended way made with difficulty’.


little man. big hat.
in the shadow
of your engineering
genius, all of us
are pigmies                   

Swindon Brunel 200 Poems

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