Two great new annuals
Black Plants - all the books reviewed

Just look out of the window

Over on the Whole Life Gardening blog C. L. Fornari was been musing about the discipline of writing for a blog every single day, and finding things to write about.

EucomisOakhurst4bTerraNova People sometimes ask me if I run out of things to write about. The answer is never – I can always just look out of the window. Although, I have to say, everyone can look out of the window but not everyone sees what’s there. When I was commissioning editor of a monthly garden magazine one famous British TV gardener – who had a monthly slot – would call up and ask: “Got any ideas on what I should write about this month?” Which I always thought was a bit pathetic: what I wanted was three or four of her ideas for me to choose from.

So this morning I thought I’d write about the first things that caught my attention as I looked out of the window. In fact, the ideas started to come while I was still in my PJs.

1. Walking through the kitchen to put the coffee on – still pitch black outside – the eucomis stem in a vase on the kitchen table caught my eye. It snapped off when I moved its heavy pot into a sheltered place about three weeks ago but the seed head still looks great with its fat dark green pods. Lots to say about that. Not to mention the purple-leaved ones like ‘Oakhurst’ (above, click to enlarge).

2. My wife’s new orchid book, a box of which arrived yesterday, was on the counter. Gotta write a proper review.

3. As dawn broke through, I put out the new squirrel proof bird feeder I have on test. So far, the squirrels have eyed it cautiously but not yet even tried to get into to it. More on that will be coming after squirrels have made a few serious attempts.

4. Now it’s light – and it strikes me that while the wisteria leaves look ghastly after the 25F/-4C frost of last week – green and shrivelled and still unhelpfully clinging to the stems – while the leaves on the native elder bushes look amazingly fresh and green and are suddenly valuable when for the rest of the year I always think they’re rather dull.

5. Ah, Physocarpus again. The leaves on Summer Wine have all dropped but those on Coppertina are becoming less purple and more red and still look superb.

ChrysWillsWonderful500 6.Still pink and white flowers on the lovely old ‘Country Girl’ hardy chrysanthemum - but ‘Will’s Wonderful’, which is the latest of all, seems to have been completely killed by last winter which was the coldest in ten years.

7. Just heard Douglas Tallamy interviewed on the Timber Press podcast about his book Bringing Nature Home. He mentions that Colorado blue spruce – which comes, of course, from Colorado where it fits well into the natural web of nature. He points out that here in the north east it only grows when planted by us, and none of the wildlife has a clue what to do with it. (Although I have to say the deer have eaten some those we inherited here).

8. What else? Just looking from the chair at my desk – the eupatoriums (Joe Pye weed) need cutting down now, they’re looking pretty ragged. Which perennials are best cut down in the fall, which are best left for their winter presence? Plenty to say about that.

9. Lia Leendertz of Britain’s Guardian newspaper tweets with a link to a folk song on YouTube. It’s Kate Rusby! Reminds me to mention that I’m hosting a folk music show on WJFF at 11am on Saturday. (That’s my other life – music DJ!) All Irish music. Gotta finish planning it today. Here's the Kate Rusby video.

10. I know – I could write a blog post about all the things I could blog about today!

8.37am – ten blog ideas. Now: I just need pictures… links… 45 minuts later - Sorry, got distracted by the coffee machine again...