Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 27th October 2018
It always reminds me of the old Indian purportedly saying, “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”
I might not love the clocks going back, but I do love the autumn colours. And there are some shrubs that will add a real wallop of colour to your garden at this time of year and not just with foliage.
Known as the ‘beauty berry’, Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ produces large clusters of stunning and unusual purple berries in mid-autumn, overlapping with the golden purple leaf tints and then hanging on after the leaves have fallen. Easier to grow than you might think, too.
Crab apples are amazing this autumn – trees are laden with the colourful little fruits. Malus ‘Evereste’ is flushed with red-flushed, orange-yellow fruits in autumn that complement the orange-yellow leaves. It is an excellent tree for smaller gardens, with a pleasant conical shape. The crab apples can also be used to make jelly, liqueur or bite size toffee apples.
One of my personal favourites, Nerine bowdenii, cheerfully add a lovely splash of colour to beds and borders – or even containers – at this time of year. They are quite architectural too; I adore them.
There is no ignoring the flush of vibrant red that clothes some houses, walls and sheds now. Parthenocissus henryana, Chinese Virginia creeper, is less vigorous than other varieties and can be useful for a north-facing wall in a small garden. Its foliage is more delicate as well, with a velvety texture and silvery-white veins; it turns a fiery crimson in autumn. Do take care with other varieties, as it will take over if you’re not careful!
And of course there are the autumn foliage shrubs and trees too. Cornus sp put on a spectacular show before their leaves fall to reveal colourful winter stems. Euonymus europaeus turns a spectacular shade of red before the leaves fall and Euonymus alatus also turns a beautiful crimson in autumn. Chrysanthemums flower well into autumn and are excellent for cutting too. Sedums will keep on giving colour and interest and last but not least of course, the spectacular Acers will reward you with the most amazing colours prior to letting go of their leaves.
Hug Your Head
I have a new favourite thing; my Hyggeband. During over 30 years of gardening and doing outdoorsy stuff, I have always tried to find a way of keeping my long hair out of my face. I think I am a bit like Samson, I fear if I have it cut that I would lose my strength, so that was never an option. And I always wondered how Charlie Dimmock never seemed bothered by her mane covering her face whenever she bent down or the wind blew! Anyway, I finally have the solution. A Hyggeband. Pronounced Hoo-gah, I must admit to calling them Huggy, but then learned that Hygge means to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, and good feelings – like a hug.
Designed by Hayley, a self-confessed fitness fanatic who also wanted to keep her hair out of her eyes whilst training, (mine doubles up from work to the gym too), they do the job fab’lussly and are available in gorgeous designs and colours. There are other bands that claim to do the same thing, and of course I have tried bandanas, but I have always found that they are too big, too uncomfortable and slip. The Hyggeband does indeed hug your head, is comfy and an unexpected plus is that it also keeps you really warm – as I found out last week. It is less restrictive than a hat but does actually keep you as warm as one. Magic!
Oh, and as you can see Yogi loves hers too and had loads of lovely comments when we went to Dinefwr last weekend. It is what all the best dressed girls are wearing this season, so get yourself hugged with a Hyggeband.