What have we got to look forward to?
We've not had an Indian summer this year and the rapid onset of autumn hardly fills me with delight. As someone who loves to be outside as many hours in the day as possible, the impending dark evenings fill me with despair! However, I must not be fooled into thinking that it's all over till next spring and as we well know the Cornish winters are hardly severe; the ground does not freeze over for months on end; in fact, it's quite the opposite.
Let me start with the Hydrangeas - in February this year the gardeners commenced their annual pruning and were cutting off not just the old faded flower heads but fresh new flowers, so they will keep blooming virtually all winter provided it doesn't drop below zero.
Our first Camellia (C. sasanqua 'Crimson King') will come into bloom as early as November, heralding in seven months of Camellia flowers. Many of the southern hemisphere plants in the garden flower through the winter; Correa (Australian Fuchsia), Grevillea and Acacia in its various forms.
The diminutive Cyclamen coum from the mountains of Turkey has brightness of colour on the drabbest of days from late December through to March.
Many of the winter flowering plants at Trebah have their origins in woodland habitats and possibly the reason they flower when the deciduous trees are leafless is so their blooms are more visible to pollinators. Whatever the reason, the delicate perfume of Sweet Box in January or the twisted yellow ribbon-type flowers of Witch hazel in February can only help to lift the spirits!
We are in the process of planting scores of Daffodils in the garden to add to the existing collection, and as we all know, bulbs have to flower before new leaves shade the forest floor, so these too will come before spring.
What I'm trying to put across is that the garden never comes to a full-stop at the end of summer and the beauty of the autumn and winter-flowering plants will lead us through the coming seasons.