November was a lot of hard work as we cleared the borders in the flower garden, dug the weed, manured and planted the ready for spring.
Once the beds were neat and groomed, the beautiful views of the countryside and the azalea bank above took center stage.
Our native ling, Calluna vulgaris, has been flowering all autumn but as it finishes the mounds of dying flower heads look fabulous against grasses, evergreen rhododendron and lichen covered azalea.
As the ling finishes, in sweeps the winter flowering alpine heather, Erica carnea, which are covered in flower bud ready to bloom throughout winter.
The architectural blue green foliage of Euphobia characias also works really well within this kind of planting, contrasting with browns and deep greens of this time of year.
Autumn is often thought of as nature’s conclusion to the year but for gardeners it is the start of the new season and time to think about how we can best use our plants next season.
This sweet little bush is a cow berry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, is closely related to the Cranberry. It has pale pink bell shaped flowers in the spring and red fruit, which are a bit like a large sweet cranberry. I think its evergreen foliage could add an extra element to the azalea bank next year so a job this week is to find a pocket of ground which will suit them best. If we can grow the plant well enough we might even be able to get enough fruit to use in the restaurant.
Words by Tom Coward, photographs by Marin & Jimmy