oxalis palmifrons succulent plant with white flowers.

Beginning of October in the garden.

I know that I am forever going on about the weather but we have been having quite a bit of rain just now and all my small plants in small pots are waterlogged.  I have been trying to keep them under the table during the worst of the rain but then we had the strong winds so I had to turn the plastic table upside down so it wouldn’t blow away.  Then I put them under the bench with a sheet of black plastic over the bench, with large stones holding it in place, and that helped a bit.  They are still waterlogged so I really want some nice sunshine and gentle breeze to help dry them out.

I do like how the garden looks after a rain shower though and there is still plenty of colour around.  We did get a few nuts from the tortured hazel tree (corylus avellena contorta), the squirrels missed a few, and there were plenty berries on the elder (sambucus nigra ‘Black lace’).  The newly planted crab apple (malus sylvestris ‘Evereste’) has a few tiny, orange crab apples on it,  the rowan (sorbus hupehensis ‘Pink pagoda’) has loads of deep pink berries and the variegated holly ( ilex aquifolium ‘ variegata’) has a few berries too.  We trim the holly to keep it in shape so we can get past it without being jagged, but that can mean we don’t get many berries.  We tend to leave them all for the wildlife.  You can tell it is autumn by the huge number of spider’s webs about that catch the mist and look fabulous.

rowan berries with spider's web
Deep pink rowan berries with spider’s web
hazelnuts from contorted hazel tree
hazelnuts from corylus contorta (contorted hazel)

The astrantias are still looking good in pots on the patio although the dark red one is turning purple as it is going over.  The pink one is a seedling from a white variety ‘shaggy’ and it is quite a lovely pink shade.

dainty pink astrantia flowers
Dainty pink astrantia flowers.

After the rain the view from the patio is quite nice.  I don’t like the very white garage so I cropped it out, maybe one day we will get it painted  a nicer colour (except the house is also bright white so maybe not).

view of the left of the garden from the patio
View of the left of the garden from the patio.
view of the right side of garden from the patio.
View of the right side of garden from the patio.
view of the garden from the patio.
View of the garden from the patio.

In the conservatory I have planted a few purple crocus and some tiny narcissi for some colour in late winter.  My cyclamen have had their summer rest and are staring to flower now.  one in particular is in full bloom while the others have yet to catch-up.  The oxalis palmifrons is looking lovely just now.  The little bulbs were planted just a few weeks ago and they are flowering now.  I love how the flowers untwist.

Single white oxalis palmifrons flower
Single white oxalis palmifrons flower.
oxalis palmifrons succulent plant with white flowers.
Oxalis palmifrons

The small unnamed cactus has had a few fluffy buds on it for the last few months and despite food and water they have failed to open.  It did have a few that opened into fabulous large white flowers that smell divine earlier in the year but not these ones.  I will leave them on and see if they do something next year.

Fluffy buds on a small cactus.
Fluffy buds on the small cactus.

I found some damage on a couple of plants during my checking and watering of the plants.  It is good to catch things early so any diseases don’t get passed onto other plants.  One poor little lithops has damage at the base of a leaf but I don’t know if it is slug damage or perhaps there was a bit of water sitting there.  I probably don’t need to worry about that as these leaves will wither and it will produce new leaves after that.

Lithops damage caused possibly by slugs.
Lithops slug damage?

There is something on one of my Christmas cactus cuttings that I think might be botryosphaera dothidea that causes a kind of canker.  Just in case it is that I binned the plant, washed my hands, then checked all the other seedlings and plants in the conservatory.  The good news it that it was only one plant that had it.

possible botryosphaera dothidea infection on Christmas cactus
botryosphaera dothidea ? on Christmas cactus

The conservatory attracts many pollinators into it but sadly some of them can’t find their way back out again.  I have seen loads of different hover flies, bees, wasps and other insects happily buzzing around the flowers but this  male (I think) twin-spot centurion fly (Sargus bipunctatus) caught my eye with its metallic colours.  It has gorgeous metallic  green, copper and blue on its body and iridescent wings.  In the first photo I was trying to capture the colours in its wings.  The second photo it had sadly died and the wings were apart revealing the beautiful colours on its body.

Sargus bipunctaus fly iridescent wings
iridescent wings on Sargus bipunctatus.
Sargus bipunctatus metallic green, copper and blue colours on body
Metallic colours on the Sargus bipunctatus.

It is now getting colder so we are getting fewer insects in the conservatory, although it wasn’t plagued by the usual greenfly this year.  I have to remember to water more sparingly now and I still need to check the plants daily for any signs of disease.  Slugs are still coming in so I also need to check underneath the plants.

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