Autumn Spice


The problem with owning a garden dominated by evergreens and tropicals is that I don’t really get to experience autumn colour at home. My garden morphs quickly from fabulous full summer to winter green, pretty much when I get around making it happen. This year, during one of many moments of impulse, I purchased a columnar Liquidambar named ‘Slender Silhouette’. The tree was already a decent size and has been challenging to grow in a pot. All through summer, despite being potted on twice, my Liquidambar demanded a huge amount of watering effort, not a task I wish to repeat next year. Note to self: trees are meant to grow in the ground.

I was recommended an ericaceous (acidic) compost to enhance my Liquidambar’s autumn colouration but was rewarded only with a good, strong yellow for a couple of days before the leaves fell. Since I was at work, I witnessed both events in the dark.

I stashed my newer and younger gingers in the workshop last weekend, leaving larger tubs of H. ‘Sorung’ and H. ‘Stephen’ outside. Cold weather prompts the stems to sever themselves from the rhizomes that fuelled their growth through summer. When they are ready, and not before, they snap off neatly, emitting a crisp-yet-spicy fragrance.

I am away in Cornwall this weekend so I photographed my gingers earlier this week, just as they were starting to turn yellow. They’ve never looked this good before, but therein lies the benefit of growing any plant en masse. I have stopped watering my gingers now since they are naturally going into hibernation. Next weekend I shall pop the tops off and store the rhizome-packed pots at the back of the workshop, where they will be cool and dry until April.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. TFG.