The hedgerow around our house has a splendid selection of native plants. It really pays to look closely at the different times of year. Autumn can be particularly rewarding with a rich variety of flowers, fruits and colours.
|Left: Holly is probably one of
the best known Autumn berries. Sadly, even though we have plenty of
holy to decorate the house at Christmas, the berries never last that
long - the birds have their own Christmas feast first.
|Right: Ivy is also used for decoration in winter - but traditionally only the leaves are used. This picture shows that mature plants produce a very architectural pale yellow flower in autumn.|
|Left: The Larch tree proves that not all conifers are evergreen. In May, it has separate male and female flowers shown here. The downward facing male produces pollen which fertilises the larger female. This then ripens to produce cones. The newly emerging needles (very soft to the touch) can also be seen.|
|Right: In autumn, the needles turn orange before dropping. The effect against a rich blue November sky is stunning. (Click the picture for a larger image.)|
|Left: Hawthorne is best known for its dense white blossom in late-spring - hence its popular alternative name: "May Tree". By autumn, large numbers of those flowers have developed into a rich red berry shown here.|
|Right: Stinking Iris (Iris Foetedissima) has an easy-to-miss cream-coloured flower that is never going to earn it a place in a cultivated border. However, in autumn, all changes and it is easy to spot the bright red fruits exposed as the seed pods burst open. Unlike most Iris, it does not mind dry conditions and therefore lives quite happily at the foot of our Hazels.|
|Brambles are highly invasive and a real problem for walkers and gardeners. However, in late summer they are almost forgiven. The blackberry fruit from the wild plants is much better tasting than from cultivated varieties - ours is partly made into a rich bramble jelly and partly frozen for winter blackberry and apple tarts. Later, when the fruit is over, the leaves turn this stunning purple colour that contrasts beautifully with the Hawthorne through which it is growing.|
|Left: Hazel also has separate male and female flowers. The catkins shown here are the male flowers that develop in Autumn but have to wait for spring before the female flowers appear. If fertilised, the female flower then develops into an edible cobnut - if the grey squirrels don't eat them first.|
|Right: This is the fruit of the Spindle tree. The tree gained its name because, when wood was the main engineering material, this tree was used to produce hard wearing parts such as spindles and bearings.|
|Left: Dog Roses grow readily in this area. One of ours climbs some 30ft inside a holly tree before cascading out. The flowers in late May and June are a simple shape compared with cultivated roses but can be stunning colours such as the pink shown here.|
|Right: The delicate single roses eventually turn into these delightful rose-hips that provide bright spots of colour in the autumn hedgerow.|
All photographs taken on a Nikon 5700 digital camera. Original resolution reduced for the web and compressed using Adobe Photoshop Elements.