Can you guess what these beauties are?

They are one of the most lovely things I have seen in my garden this autumn - bar the flowers and the pests I blogged on recently.

And they have made me very happy that I bought three Asclepias from the new garden centre I found earlier in the year.

Online details of the Asclepias plants (if you remember the labels were useless) promised me colourful flowers, seed pods and then seeds with 'parachutes'. And this is exactly what they have delivered. The individual flowers (above) are quite small but they have a large 'flower head' effect. I couldn’t imagine what the seed pods would be like.

It turns out that they are enormous, at least 4-5 cms long, almost as long as the leaves. The seed pods start green.

Then they harden, fade and the outer layer curls back to expose lots of brown seeds in what looks like the most intricate French plait every invented.

Then they mature, the wind blows and the seeds expose their electric filament-like parachutes which shimmer in the sunshine and will take them wherever. They are completely amazing to watch – best seen in the video at the top of the page.

They may, of course, cause me lots of problems if they “take” where they shouldn’t ie in the pink bed, but the prevailing winds have blown them towards the pond, greenhouse and not very fertile gravel paths. We’ll see next year and I have decided to harvest some and plant in the greenhouse because they are quite tender and so that I can recognise the seedlings as they grow. I'll have no idea what they’ll look like otherwise and they could easily be scooped up in general weeding.

These beautiful seeds have made me focus on other seed heads and my garden is full of them at this time of year. The rose hips are obvious and seldom create a new rose (though I have a small rose I didn’t plant in a pot by the house).

Nigella seed heads are everywhere, larger than their flowers and luckily are usually successful in self-seeding.

The Convolvulus seeds are much more ‘normal’ in relation to their flower size and are also very successful at creating new plants.

The large seed pods of the Wisteria seem sensible given the size of their flower clusters (I have never let them mature)….

… but the boomerang-shaped Tracleospermum jasminoides seed pods are far larger than the flowers they come from.

My new Solanum laciniatum has very large seed fruits too. They are changing colour from green to yellow - like plums.

And the Crocosmia Lucifer seeds are now about ready to burst from their pods... are those of the Ceratostigma...

..while the Agapanthus seeds have almost all already set flight.

But there is one plant that will keep me mesmerised by its seeds for a long while yet. That's the Miscanthus sinensus around the pond. Most of its heads are still in their early stages. This one below is opening to produce its seeds. And they look wonderful, whether the light is on them or through them. They are a perfect plant for the lower lights of autumn and winter.

So, which of this wonderful haul of seeds am I going to use?

Sadly, my garden and greenhouse are too small for me to need to propagate much - so bring on the gorgeous man with lots of acres and greenhouses that need looking after!

Most of these seeds will go to waste but I do propagate special plants and easy annuals including Begonia, Nicotiana of all sorts, and Cosmos. But mostly there isn't enough room to multiply what I already have.

Some years back I had some wonderful, exotic-looking, Begonias. I bought them from a specialist at The Malvern Show and they were in pots outside.  Each winter I took stem cuttings from them, ensuring I had leaf buds on two junctions, then simply stuck one end in jam jars of water and put them on a kitchen window sill over winter. They all sprouted new roots in the water within weeks and turned into new plants very easily, came true, and flourished. This went on for about seven years - until I got bored. One year I let the cuttings dry out. Inevitably they died. I really regret this lack of care because I miss them - and have not seen them since at flower shows.

I am not fond of the little, boring, yellow and red ones with dark green leaves that live in shade. Nor do I favour the huge, blousy, double ones in a range of garish colours. But I loved these little, tender ones, in pink and white which look like orchids.

They were great value because they flowered from mid Summer until the snows. I must seek them out again at the next Malvern show.

So, I shan’t be collecting or saving many of these seeds. I shall see where the wind blows them - and then probably do a lot of weeding next year!


October is a mellow month in my garden – the roses are gently repeating, some Clematis, Alstromeria and Geraniums are too. Everything is looking large and green after the rains and much will be cut back soon. The Dahlias are at their best, as are the Cosmos and Abutilons. My A. ‘Kentish Belle’ grows through my now overgrown ball of Pittosporum ‘Tandara Gold’ making it look like a Christmas tree hung with colourful knickerbockers. The Camelias, Daphnes and Viburnums are in bud getting ready for winter and spring and the weather is still warmish at 10 degrees C, but we’ve more rain and chiller winds.

My herbs continue to provide taste in the cooking pot, despite looking a bit straggly but they are not the only tasty things in the garden. This is also the perfect month for me to indulge in what was, up ‘til now, my very secret pleasure – drinking my scented roses.

After it has rained I urge you to wander into your garden and drink the rainwater off your roses. It tastes sublime. Only when you have done this can you really appreciate why all the insects are intoxicated by flowers. I know taste is 70-80% smell but who cares? Rainwater sucked off the petals of roses tastes like their scent, even if you hold your nose while doing it. It is just another way to fully appreciate the wonder of their perfume and to commune with your garden. 

If you are not sure how to do this, watch the very short video. And I promise you, each rose type tastes different, in the same way they smell different. You’ll be amazed. So please, take this opportunity to really taste your roses  - and enjoy! I promise you it is worth it. Just don’t tell anyone, or they’ll think you’re a little nuts. You can tell me of course. Just add a comment to the blog to let me know how it was for you.

Hi, I’m Rosie and I’m passionate about my garden, plants generally and about garden design/creation.

rosieI am less passionate about this photo of me but my brother Henry, who has built this site, thinks it is fun, so I am going with him. My hair seldom looks that “coiffured” but I had just returned from the hairdresser when I was cutting irises in the pond and dropped my very expensive Felco No 2 secateurs into the depths. I tried everything – my long arm waterproof pond gloves and the pond net but it’s very deep. I knew I needed to take more serious action. I bought the waders from Amazon and they arrived the next day, when I retrieved the secateurs and this is the resulting photo.

I have considered myself a trainee gardener/ gardener since 2000 when, on returning from working and living for five years in Mumbai, India, I bought my first house with a garden, in London. The garden was very small (7 x 7 metres), but I wanted to make it lovely.

I threw myself into plant books, notably the A-Z Encyclopaedia of Plants and marked up all those I wanted to grow, based on the pictures, only to discover they were all tropical or tender. Shocked into reality about what I discovered I “shouldn’t” try to grow, I re-read the entire book marking those with at least two to four frost stars – and started studying in more depth - and planting.

As a result, almost my entire vocabulary of plants started in Latin, a subject I studied with mixed results up to O’Level (Grade B). And because I never listened enough to my parents as we walked through the countryside all over England in my childhood, I am still pretty bad at the common English names of many plants and trees. But I am working on it.

My mother is a fantastic gardener, plant grower and flower arranger and I still bow to her superior knowledge, ring her all the time for advice and visit the major shows (Malvern, Hampton Court) with her. She also has a much larger garden to work in, in the wonderful Worcestershire soil, which I am very jealous of. My father, apart from having been a fiendish wielder of the chain saw and thus severe pruner, has become a vegetable gardener in his later life and we still compare notes regularly on tomatoes and similar.

I am the eldest of five – with four younger brothers. I now have almost countless nieces and nephews and even more godchildren.

I have an MA in Geography from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford and, while there, I also worked for BBC Pebble Mill as a researcher and producer of docs and features for Radio 4. After University I came to work in London, in advertising, graphic design, financial PR and, since returning from India, corporate video online. So I am quite video online “techie” too now and am doing my own filming and editing of the videos in the blogs.

My life is now filled with my family, Pickle and Lottie (my two small dogs), and my friends, work, gardening, cooking, opera, theatre, movies, travel, The Times’ crossword daily - and now this site and blog.

I hope you enjoy my musings on the garden and that you will contribute with your comments, questions and observations.

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