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Surprises in the garden

Surprises in the garden

You are probably wondering what I'm going to tell you? Having experienced a number of surprises in my garden and parklands and shared them with my friends and acquaintances, I have decided to put some of my thoughts down on paper. The surprises that I come across are not always welcome. First, I must say that I actually find my garden to be quite a surprising place at all times of the year. However, now that the gardening year is slowly coming to a close, there have been a lot of really nice surprises in store.

The last rhododendron blossom in November is certainly one of these. This provides fascination every year. Roses and rose buds that seem to blossom irrespective of the season put you in a good mood, particularly in late autumn. For me, there is nothing to beat the bright reds of Virginia creeper or sumac. We all know the glorious array of colours that many gardens can produce at this time of year and I receive a lot of images filled with the golden shades of autumn taken by nature-lovers on their mobile phones. In my own gardens, I am particularly fond of the autumnal colours of the Japanese maples as the sun shines through the leaves, creating a light effect that knows no equal. However, in my opinion, the intense red of the Virginia creeper still wins out over this colourful display.

I can also be surprised by the beauty of the hoarfrost on the leaves in the morning. Take a little time for a closer look at a particular area of your garden. Naturally, gardens can be a popular spot for migrating birds in the late autumn. The lime trees in our courtyard provide a welcome roost for starlings, who seem to enjoy practising their flight formations and the opportunity for some lively debate.

If I think beyond the winter months, then my mind immediately turns to scilla flowers and snowdrops. I love it when these flowers are allowed to run wild. I am often surprised by unexpected encounters with these plants. This is often the work of voles, who are usually unwelcome visitors to my garden, but in this instance they do some good. Other less pleasant surprises are the various molehills that appear in the lawn, which are perfectly suitable for tripping over. Then of course there are the deep holes dug by dogs in search of the elusive moles…

Finally a few words about foliage: Leaves, leaves and again, leaves! Even if it is no surprise to find leaves falling from the trees, the quantities never cease to amaze me every year. I imagine many readers will agree with me.

VIKING garden expert
Baron Robert von Süsskind