Saturday, 12 November 2011

What's red and grows out of Oak Trees..?

 It came from outer space..!

A very strange fungus growing out of one of our Oak trees
Well maybe not from outer space but one thing that has intrigued us this past week is this very strange fungi that has appeared from one of the oak trees in the garden.
The fungi has slowly appeared from an old pruning cut and it has a very strange appearance and when you touch it is oozes a sticky liquid. This is something that has us all a bit puzzled so we are going to do our best to identify it and see what damage, if any, it will do the the tree. We will let you know what it is as soon as we find out.

The Grass is growing

What a relief, grass is starting to appear!
I am relieved to see the wild grass seed that was sown a few weeks ago where the Larch Bed used to be has taken and is starting to germinate. 

I was a little worried that we had left it too late in the season too start sowing seed but I think the mild and damp weather has been on our side and has helped the seed to get established. 

I am hoping that we have sown enough seed to cover this area and that it will all germinate, if not then we will sow some more seed in the spring next year. This wild grassed area should give us a new area of the garden that we can manage for wildilfe and hopefully bring us greater diversity within the garden, even if some of mix contained dandelions!

Saturday morning stroll

One of my favourite views at Scotney
Before opening the garden this morning I went for a walk around to check all was okay and to see what changes there have been over the past few days. Most of the autumn colour has now gone, a combination of the wind and rain has cause it to fall to the ground which not only forms a beautiful colourful carpet underneath the trees and shrubs but also means that new views are opened up around the garden which have previously been hidden by the leaves. 

One view that I particularly like is of the Old Castle from the southern end of the garden where we put in the wood chip path last winter. 
From here you get a lovely view through the Rhododendrons and over the Chinese bridge and you get the Castle reflected in the water.  They certainly knew what they were doing when they started to lay the garden out in the 1840's!

This is also an excellent spot to watch the birds flying around and feeding and this morning I was lucky to spot our resident Kingfisher sat on the edge of the path.

Autumn Interest
There is still plenty to see around the garden at this time of year, some of the more interesting shrubs that were flowering this moring include this beautiful Euonymus alatus,which we have growing along the Top Walk towards the Ice House.

This is a deciduous shrub with striking red leaves in the autumn and produces reddish purple fruits but it is more comomonly identified by it's very unusual shoots which have corky ridges running along them, hence the common name, Winged Spindle. The latin word alatus also means winged.
Euonymus alatus, or Winged Spindle.

Another interesting shrub for autum interest is the Cotinus coggygria, also known as the Smoke Bush or the Venetian Sumach. These produce green leaves during the summer months and turn a beautiful dark crimson red in the autumn. and the flowers are clustered in a large open terminal panicles 15-30 cm long with a fluffy grayish-buff appearance resembling a cloud of smoke over the plant, from which the name derives.

Cotinus coggygria leaves
Cotinus goggygria is part of our Red Border

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