Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jack Ogg
Gardening Correspondent
1:00 AM 4th November 2023

The Weather Is Feeling Autumnal At York Gate

Euonymus alatus
Euonymus alatus
The leaves are turning to wonderful hues of red, yellows and oranges throughout the garden. Some of the plants the other real showstoppers at this time of year are the Euonymus alatus and maples. One of the plants that has been a bit of a surprise to me with its wonderful autumn colours is the huge leaved Magnolia that we planted in the Dell two years ago. Magnolia macrophylla is native to southeastern United States and has leaves that reportedly can reach 110cm in length - though ours hasn’t made any that big yet with its biggest leaf this year being 65cm but still very impressive. It will eventually produce one of the largest temperate (non-tropical) flowers in the world, reaching up to 45cm across.

Plectranthus barbatus
Plectranthus barbatus
We have moved all the tender plants into the greenhouses; the cactus and succulents have all been jammed into the succulent house in the paved garden and our larger aeoniums get planted in the thin flower bed within the greenhouse. We have found you can fit many more plants in if they are planted in the bed rather than all individually potted. All the rest of the succulent plants get potted up into terracotta and fill up the bench and floor space. It mean that you don’t have any room to move but all the plants are safe!

We then moved on to Sybils garden to move all the tender plants. Luckily, we had taken cuttings just in time before the cold weather set in, especially given that on the second to last Monday of the month we got minus temperatures that hit the remaining plants. Our plectranthus barbatus (now coleus) went from looking wonderful to what can only be described as grey slop in just one night. The Ensetes (Ethiopian bananas) were also lifted, tidied and potted up plus we moved on to the tender salvias and unusual tender Solanum too.

As we have almost finished all of the hedges in the garden the next thing to do for us is to get on with planting all of the bulbs that we have bought for all of the different rooms of York Gate. I'm really pleased this year that I've managed to get hold of some more of one of my favourite bulbs of all time the dragon arum, Dracuculus vulgaris. This tall growing aroid hails from the Mediterranean with its native home being parts of Greece and Crete. It has tall snakeskin mottled stems and unusual whorled leaves with its crowning glory being a two foot deep purple flower that actually has a horrible odour. I am determined to find the right place for this plant and I have grown it for years at home very successfully but it doesn't seem to like York Gate for some reason.

Magnolia Leaf
Magnolia Leaf
I've tried it at the back of the rock garden and it's faded away. Thinking of its native habitat I also tried it in our pure sand garden but this has just about disappeared too.

So, this is my last chance. I have planted five bulbs (technically tubers) in between a couple of large sandstone boulders in the wetter side of the new sand garden. We’ll have to wait and see.

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