Sunday, 17 November 2013

Birth flowers and trees in November

My birthday has come and gone this month, and one of my gifts was a handtied from an old friend. I don't think I've received anything other than petrol station flowers for my birthday before, so it was a lovely surprise. There were beautiful anemones, lemony waxflower, and a big, marshmallowey chrysanthemum bloom in the centre. Chrysanthemums are the birth flower for November and I've never been keen on them, associating them with the petrol station spray flowers that I've been given in the past, but of course there are so many types of chrysanthemums, and blooms are brilliant.

As there have been some lovely clear days in the last week, I decided to make the most of my RHS membership and visit Wisley, to see how it looks in autumn. It's beautiful!

There are autumn leaves, of course, with acers aplenty. And there are pretty berries like cotoneaster. Below are Acer palmatum 'Inaba-shidare', Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum', and Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'.

Everywhere you turn, there are beautiful grasses, including miscanthus and stipa. In the language of flowers, grasses are the symbol of homosexual love.

But there are flowers, too. There were stunning pink nerines in the gardens, with many more on display in the glasshouse. The glasshouse also had a display of chrysanthemums. Begone, petrol station memories!

And walking around the gardens, there were lots of Eryngium 'Silver Ghost', dancing Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies', and late roses (in order of appearance below: Lucky, You're Beautiful, and Crocus Rose).

There were other late-flowering gems to be found, such as Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and Achillea 'Credo', and autumn treasures like red-stemmed dogwood. Gardens don't shut up shop at the end of the summer; there is beauty to be found all year round!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Sunday in London

This year, my dad wanted to go to the Remembrance Sunday service in London, so I went with him. There were thousands of people lining Whitehall, and we stood in the cold, autumn sunshine with people of all ages, a few in military uniform, watching the service as it was shown on a huge TV screen for those of us further away. We felt the intensity of the two minutes' silence that began and ended with the sound of a World War One gun being fired; I have rarely known London to be so quiet, especially when it is so crowded.

We walked around, saw the police memorial, went through St James's Park, and watched the march as it went along Horse Guards Road. There were many young schoolchildren who waved at the veterans and civilians marching past, and many veterans waved back. The atmosphere was warm and respectful.