The garden has still got plenty of colour even though it’s the first day of October! These hardy fuchsias will flower until the first frosts. Such a worthwhile addition to any garden, they flower their hearts out all summer long with no attention whatsoever.

Hardy Fuchsia

Meet my topiary man, called Peregrine. He has just received his annual clip and has been given new eyes, nose and buttons made from dried seed heads.

It’s a good time to trim box hedges when the weather is dull and before the frosts begin.

Topiary box man

Leaf of Melianthus major, or Honey Bush. I grew this tender shrub from seed last year and because it has been so mild, it has survived the winter. Not only that but there is a flower bud! I have only seen the flower once before, on a previous plant I grew that didn’t survive several cold winters.

Leaf of Melianthus major

The flowers on this evergreen shrub are quite unspectacular and you could easily pass by without noticing them, if it wasn’t for the fragrance that fills the air. It is also known as Sweet box or Christmas box. They flower from December to February and are followed by shiny black fruit. Grow close to a path where you can appreciate the scent. An easy-to-grow shrub that likes shade and reaches about four feet in height. It spreads a little, but is not invasive – the new shoots are easy to pull up and you can give them away to your friends.

The flowers and fruit of Sarococca confusa

These raindrops glistening in the sunshine on the leaves of Melianthus Major caught my eye this morning; it looked as though it was covered in jewels. It was difficult to pick one image over the others, but I chose this one because of the reflections in the water drops.

Macro of raindrops on leaf

This lovely shrub has started flowering and is a valuable source of food for any bees still out and about.

Although a deciduous shrub, it flowers throughout the winter, producing fragrant pink blooms, set against cinnamon coloured bark. The leaves in spring are beautiful bronze, turning red in the autumn.

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This Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’ is in full bloom at the moment and it is positively hums all day long with bees visiting the flowers!

Ceanothus 'Yankee Point'

I would certainly recommend this shrub, commonly known as a Californian Lilac, if you are looking for a relatively quick growing evergreen shrub that is easy to look after. It likes a sunny, sheltered spot.

This Ceanothus covers an ugly, south-facing wall and every Spring is a mass of colour. It is self-supporting so doesn’t need wires. After flowering I prune it back to stop it getting top heavy, and restricting its width. It was labelled as growing to five feet in height, and eight feet wide, but it has reached around 15 feet high and wide and I keep it to this size by pruning.