20 Sep 2012

Autumn Bliss

I hardly feel as though summer has been and gone but there's no denying that the end of the year is approaching.  Yesterday evening's chilliness had me wondering whether the winter duvet should be put back and where I left my slippers.  (I have terracotta tiled floors in my hallway and kitchen; lovely underfoot in the heat of summer, not so when temperatures drop.)

I'm noticing conkers lying on the ground, hips ripening in the hedgerows and seed pods forming on perennial sweet peas and orache.  This photo was taken this morning; this is my favourite season for orache as the colours of the seed pods really sing out.

Autumn Orache

I'm about to have another little break from work, a holiday-at-home where I can potter about the veg garden, tidying and mulching and preparing for colder months and, I hope, more regular blogging! Today was the first of those days; I was able to spend some time giving the veg a good watering and noting what needs to be done - quite a lot, as it happens...  who says that spring is the busiest time for gardeners?

The Autumn Bliss raspberries are still fruiting well; if I didn't munch them as I went round, I'd have brought home a small punnet but still have a good handful or two for later.  These are the canes that I chopped back in February, leaving some of them at 40cm to see if they would fruit earlier (a tip gleaned from the internet).  Looking back at photos, I see the first fruits ripened in the third week of June:

First raspberries June 2012
:: June ripening Autumn Bliss raspberries ::
... and are still fruiting today, with more to come.

Raspberries: Autumn Bliss
:: Still fruiting third week in September ::

Three months of raspberries.  Result.  But who can tell whether this is due to my "experiment" or the bizarre weather we've had this year?  Either way, I'm happy.

Elsewhere in the garden, my "Striped Pyjamas" spaghetti squash has stopped sulking and trebled in size, yielding this marrow sized beauty before climbing up and through the plum trees:

Spaghetti Squash

I love spaghetti squash - so simple to prepare and so delicious in a squashy-marrowish way. I like them cut in half, microwaved, seasoned and served with lashings of butter over the forked flesh. Unfortunately for me I started a fat free slimming diet last week so I hope they store well - it will give me something to look forward to!

I won't be posting or gardening tomorrow; rather excitingly, I'm starting a part-time garden design course at Capel Manor.  I'll be studying horticulture in the mornings and drawing and design after lunch. Combine that with a stroll around the college gardens and I couldn't think of a nicer way to spend my Fridays (rush hour traffic excluded).

18 comments:

  1. It was chilly here last night also. Autumn is certainly on its way. My harvest from my Autumn bliss raspberries has been huge this year. I have frozen some to use in a trifle for christmas.

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    1. I'm nothing short of amazed at the amount of raspberries I've had! Do you think it's due to the weather or have we both hit on a really prolific variety, I wonder? I think the good soaking that the roots had in spring got the canes off to a good start. I've also frozen some and made some compote as well, delicious over yogurt. What a lovely idea to keep some for a Christmas trifle, a little reminder of the garden in the depths of winter... love it!

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  2. A lovely autumnal post!
    Your raspberries are doing better than mine.
    Enjoy your day at Capel Manor, which is always a great place to visit. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, Flighty. I hope your raspberries will do better next year! Do you also have Autumn Bliss? A friend who has another bit of garden here has summer fruiting raspberries that are all finished; I've advised her to cut her primocanes back ready for next year.
      My course at Capel runs all year so I'm looking forward to getting to know their gardens very well. I had a lovely stroll around when I went to Enfield to enrol and was very inspired, particularly by the walled garden.

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  3. I love this time of year; the crisp mornings and sunshine are my favourite! Good luck with your course - sounds really interesting, looking forward to reading about it! x

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    1. I would agree with you, PJ, but it's been chucking it down all day today! No gardening today for me but, luckily, I decided to dig up my spuds yesterday when it was still dry. I'm still hoping for a bit more Autumn sunshine before long, there's such a lot of autumn sowing to do (my garlic, for one). I'll be posting about the course as it happens - so far only the introductions and a few (very easy) plant idents!

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  4. Thanks for the tip about your autumn raspberries, must try that next year.
    I changed to the winter duvet last week after waking up cold a couple of nights, no denying that autumn is here now!
    Your course sounds a wonderful way to spend a day, lucky you!!

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    1. You're welcome, Pauline - hope it works for you! I can't remember where I learned that tip but it struck me as useful at the time! I'm still resisting the winter duvet (perhaps when the clocks go back I might give in) but I have a big pile of cosy blankets to help myself to on chilly nights!

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  5. What a great spaghetti squash! My pumpkins and winter squashes have come to nothing this year. :(
    Hope you enjoy your Capel Manor Fridays. That's where I've been studying part-time for the past 2 years and I love the place. I've started a new course now but had to change colleges as Capel don't offer this new one. So, I've swapped a 25 min drive for a 50 min slog up the A1 at 5pm... Not really looking fwd to that come the winter months.

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    1. Thanks, SVG - it's a triumph of patience, optimism and regular watering. I actually have TWO of these and more growing but my courgettes have come to nothing (even the pot grown Butterbush which the fox has nibbled. Grrr).
      What a coincidence that you were also at Capel, it would have been fun to say hello. Regent's Park centre is nearer for me but this course is on my day off so suits me well ... I also have to suffer the 50 minute drive home, going south on the A10 - thank goodness for my ipod! I

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  6. Oh how exciting your gardening course sounds and what a great location. Have fun! It does feel like autumn all of a sudden is upon us. I just moved a tonne of wood into our log store this morning and I'm spending tomorrow on the plot getting it ready for winding down. Your striped pyjamas squash is enormous. How many will it feed? ;)Loving the seed pods on the orache, what a stunning colour. Hope you have a lovely spell off work pottering in the garden. look forward to your posts. WW

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    1. It's a big sacrifice giving up my day off but I'm so excited to be doing such a great course. The surroundings are great - show gardens, a lake, a walled garden, even the Which? trial gardens! - lots of plants that I hope to be able to confidently identify at the end of the year!
      I spent yesterday clearing a few of the beds in the veg patch and planning for next year (got to get the onion sets, garlic and broad beans in) and make room for more flowers - and, of course, today it's pouring with rain! The best laid plans and all that ... !
      Orache is wonderful as a cut flower, it self seeds prolifically, grows to about 6 feet high and, of course, is edible (being mountain spinach). A bit of winner, in my humble opinion!

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  7. Will try to remember that raspberry tip next year Caro. Have been grazing on my 'Polka' raspberries today but they have only been edible for the last week or so. So much tastier than the summer fruiting ones. I am most envious of your new Friday regime - hope that you had a good day.

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    1. The first day is always slow, Anna - important info like where are the toilets and the coffee machine! It will liven up next week when we start the work properly; the timetable looks very hectic, luckily it's all stuff I really enjoy, including a trip to Wisley, so will be regularly writing about it!
      Is this your second crop, Anna? I see from the RHS website that Polka is capable of fruiting twice in a year. Sounds really good to me - I'm beginning to wish I had a few of those as well!

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  8. I have had no raspberries at all this year - usually they perform brilliantly and I miss having them. Excellent news about the gardening course - hope you enjoy it - is this a new career move or just for enjoyment.?

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    1. What a shame, Elaine! How bizarre to have had none, do you know what could have caused that? I've enjoyed my raspberries much more than strawberries, in fact (say it quietly) I heaved a load of (perfectly healthy) strawberry plants onto the compost yesterday!
      The course is a bit of both: a day in the week just for me, doing something I enjoy and, if all goes well, progression to the diploma at the end of the year and from there... who knows? It's certainly something to work towards but, as ever, bills have to be paid!

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  9. ENJOY your course at Capel Manor and may I just say what lovely Autumnal photos those are too....my raspberries are still fruiting, and I see jam coming up again soon! Looking forward to reading about your course! Karen :-)

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    1. Thank you, Karen, I love to take photos as a record of what's done well - they're often the basis for a post forming in my mind! I look forward to reading about your jam making - and thank you for the recipe for oat pancakes, just the thing for a 'grab and go' breakfast!

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Caro x

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