Harvested apples (c) Rianne Mason

October garden joural

I get a rare glimpse of an urban fox, thank nature for its many gifts and appreciate the blooms of my house plants.

Meeting a poorly fox

I was a bit heart-broken seeing this injured fox coming into the garden in the middle of the day. It took a drink and later re-visited to get some food. We have plenty of places for a fox to hide nearby, so I’m hoping it was able to recuperate in peace.

Saving sweet pea seeds

Sweet pea seeds (c) Rianne Mason
Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) seeds (c) Rianne Mason

Yes! Saving seeds has to be one of my favourite parts of gardening. I think it’s because I get to really see the biology of the plant and how it has developed to have the best chance of surviving. Take a look at these twisted pods – apparently it’s what the plant does to help the seeds pop out.

Saving seeds is also a great reminder that nature provides us with what we need to keep growing – thanks plants!

Harvesting the apples

Harvested apples (c) Rianne Mason
Harvested apples (c) Rianne Mason

Some plants give us their seed wrapped up in a delicious fruit! Again, I’d like to just take a minute to appreciate these wonderful gifts, and they can store for months in the right conditions.

Remember to only store the good ones (eat the other straight away) and wrap them up individually in case they do get bad to prevent the rot from spreading to other apples.

Sowing mustard as green manure

Mustard seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Mustard seedlings as green manure (c) Rianne Mason

Other plants provide us with a less tasty, but equally valuable, gift. I’ve been sowing mustard seed for its nutrients in the soil, rather than for eating.

How does green manure work?

In this case the mustard seed grows quickly as a cover crop for bare soil, with the above ground foliage acting as a mulch over winter. Other green manures include legumes (which help to fix nitrogen in summer) and winter grazing rye (which grows all winter ready to be incorporated into the soil in spring).

All green manures help to protect the soil structure and mop up nutrients that could otherwise get washed away. This is why nothing hurts my eyes more than big patches of bare soil – soil needs plants! Read more about Green manures by the RHS.

Admiring a rare succulent flower

String of Pearls flower (c) Rianne Mason
Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls) flowers (c) Rianne Mason

Just as all the blooms of summer melt away you might find your house plant surprises you with a little gem. This is a flower head of the string of pearls succulent I have hanging in my bedroom. You can see it’s actually a collection of lots of tiny flowers and extended anthers full of pollen.

This must mean that it’s a happy plant, despite all of the mealy bug I keep brushing off!

Being amazed at this lace fern

Asparagus fern (c) Rianne Mason
Me pointing at the new growth of Asparagus setaceus (lace fern) (c) Rianne Mason

I couldn’t end without a mention of another happy house plant of mine – this lace fern. It has at least doubled in growth since I bought it in July and I love its soft, feathery form. It sends out these huge antennas of new shoots that always make me smile.

It’s now grown tall enough for me to look underneath the foliage as I work from my desk, so for a brief moment I can pretend I’m in an overgrown forest whilst editing spreadsheets.

That’s all for October, happy leaf crunching everyone!

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