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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: October 2012 by Alan Oatway

So sometimes miracles do happen. Visitors who like walking in the hills coinciding with fine weather! Sunday October 7th was truly glorious and gardening was not on the agenda. Instead, the fells beckoned, and I begin with a shot on the approach to Sharp Edge, looking truly alpine.

Alpine magnificence, just missing the alpines! But the miracle was to persist, and after another fabulous walking day on the Monday, the sun was still out on the Tuesday, and the camera made its way to Holehird to back up last month's claim that the autumn Gentians would look good if the sun would oblige. And look good they did!

Showing behind the gentians is another autumn favourite - Saxifraga fortunei. As well as the species, many cultivars are grown at Holehird, with some of the pink and red varieties featuring on the rock garden and in the shady Magnolia Bed above. There are extensive plantings along the Lower Terrace, and also some by the Cascade, as shown in the following photograph. All seem to thrive in our Lakeland conditions.

Another handsome plant for autumn colour is Codonopsis forrestii. It is quite late flowering, and this year it has been later than ever. At home, I have it scrambling through Cornus kousa "Satomi", and the lateness of the Codonopsis has caused its blue flowers to be displayed against the redenning hues of the host plant. I can only hope the timing is repeated!  

This last photograph was taken this morning, actually the first of November, and an attractive bud is visible, still to open. The late flowering does make it difficult to collect seed - the capsules are often far too wet to mature properly. This means that I have so far been unsuccessful in propogating this lovely plant, and as yet, Holehird hasn't been the beneficiary of a donated offspring. For a garden of 17 acres, such donations are one of the ways in which the plantings develop and thrive, and in the case of the Codonopsis, I will keep trying!

I will close with a few images of autumn, and return in the spring. 

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