Wednesday 5 October 2011

Autumn Sowing....

Clematis Ville De Lyon

Several days ago I sat in the walled garden working on my novel, I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, it was 82° and leaves kept falling on my manuscript. Considering that I live half way up a mountain in Shropshire UK and it is October, I was mildly confused.

Today Mother Nature has turned the dial to Autumn, it's blustery, cool enough for socks and a sweater. Lovely.

I've taken stock of the garden. We've accomplished such a lot this year; removing huge conifers and an unwanted hedge from the centre of the plot. We planted a new hedge and incorporated our orchard into the garden space. We've softened the pond area, laying turf into the water to both to hide the liner and to allow creatures safer access. Around the pond we planted nectar drenched flowers to encourage more wildlife.

At the bottom of Home Field the allotment has generated enough potatoes to last until late Spring and is now planted with leeks, spring cabbages, broad beans, onions and celeriac.

The walled garden still feeds us daily with spinach, dwarf french beans, runner beans, lettuce, parsnips, cucumbers and yet more celeriac. Here the onion sets are already sprouting.

Not wanting to rest up over the winter, I've been planting madly to try to steal a march on spring. Some of my sowings are a bit of an experiment!!! I've planted next year's sweet pea now (super early I know, but I'm pinching out the growth to see if I can make strong, bushy plants before it gets too cold.) At the moment the seedlings are in the green house. As I don't plan to heat the greenhouse till early spring, I may well bring them into the utility room, which is bright and cool, when the temperatures drop dramatically. I've sown Miss Wilmott, a vintage pink from 1901. A big blue and two types of old fashioned mixed. My garden should look and smell gorgeous next year. 

Sweet Pea Miss Wilmott

I've also sown sweet rocket, a tall perennial that can be considered invasive.... I prefer to refer to it as offering free cover to a large space.....

There's a ton of other seedlings and sowings in the greenhouse but this morning I noticed the Tutti Fruiti Lupins had broken the surface of their compost. With their garish colours they are aptly named.

This year the orchard is providing tons of huge cooking apples, probably due to the hard pruning we've administered over the past two winters. I've started making Spiced Apple Jelly from the harvest. These jars of bottled sunshine are delicious and are flecked with chilli flakes and lemon rind and would be a great pressie for Christmas. They are however quite high-maintenance to make. See next blog post for recipe.

If anyone out there has any other suggestions for Autumn sowing (particularly perennials) I'd be really pleased if you'd leave a comment.



  1. It is October in New England and we had 80 degree weather today and the same for tomorrow. Around here it is fall bulb planting time for the spring show of tulips and daffodils. Your jelly looks scrumptious and I am looking forward to the recipe. What kind of apples did you use? We have a pear tree ready to be picked, any good recipes for canning pears?

  2. You had me at 'Miss Wilmott'.....beautiful, bravo, keep planting x

  3. The cake chick: Just did a load of pears in cardamon syrup. It's a hot pickle and you eat the pears cold with cheeses or meats. I'll post recipe soon.

    Mrs Tuna: Gorgeous isn't it. It's a Clematis called Ville De Lyon that I found struggling in the garden. I've relocated it to a better spot and it thanked me with these flowers.

    Pomme: Will do thanks. Can't wait to see all my sweet pea next year... big plans, big plans.


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