My Autumnal Alternaltive to Jpegs

posted in: Gardening | 18

Hmmmm what a title  ‘autumnal alternative to jpegs’– did it make you click to find out more? Well you’ll soon find out what I mean as you scroll down the page.Do you want to know what my one big regret is with my back garden? Autumn flowers excite me but over the years its not half as much as foliage colours and texture.  Fifteen years ago Japanese gardens were quite popular here in the UK and  regularly featured in the Chelsea show gardens but by the time I started to design ours over 10 years ago that trend was waning in popularity and I wanted to do something different. As I look back many a time I ask myself why I didn’t  just plant it with a Japanese style  from the very beginning as it had been one of the original designs to choose from.

By the way here’s the illustration of my title – meet the Leafpegs – my autumnal alternative to jpegs!  I think my husband thought I was crazy on Sunday as he watched me setting up this shot for a photographic assignment.
Foliage leaves
September 2011

The closest thing I have to any type of Japanese style is along the little strip of garden that separates our property from the neighbours.   It’s nothing like the famous Portland Japanese Garden. Such beauty in that place…………………sigh.


The Rock
standing stone
August 2011

We all find our inspiration in many different ways and for this  part of the garden it was finding an enormous rock embedded in the lawn in 2007.  We kept wondering why one part of the grass always seemed to die off so we decided to dig as I was sure it was just a small piece of rock.  Well we dug and dug………..and dug and it took one whole day to dig it out.  My youngest was convinced we had a gravestone in the lawn!
It then took two of us to roll it from the lawn to the side garden being careful not to break the patio pavers every time we rolled it over.  What were we going to do with this enormous piece of rock – sell it on ebay?……………….. can you imagine the postage?   and so began our little Japanese theme………….. well that is after we extended the other flowerbed as we had wrecked that part of the lawn.


Spring 2008
leavesnbloom Japanese garden
The Pieris died during 2010 winter and the Fatsia struggles now with our winters and it has never been this size since 2008.

I already had the wind chimes so all we needed were a  few rolls of bamboo edging, cobbles, river pebbles and white gravel (though not so white now!). Ideally it should have been sand so that I could rake some shapes into it – but the neighbourhood cats would have used it as an outdoor litter tray…………….. no thank you!

I bought a couple of packets of bamboo canes from the garden centre and made two pieces of bamboo trellis.  I laid out the design on the floor and cut the pieces and then wired them together with florists wire.  Then I covered the wire with raffia knotted in  a Japanese style though damp twine would have been better.  (How to tie Japanese knots, make bamboo fences and trellis).


July 2011
leavesnbloom Japanese garden

I planted it with

  • Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Garnet’
  • Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ – Japanese Forest Grass
  • a small standard cherry tree (lost label)
  • Cyrtomium falcatum – Japanese holly fern
  •  Phyllostachys aurea – Golden bamboo
  • Rhodendron (lost label)
  • Azalea (lost label)
  • 1 x Conifer (lost label)
  • Fatsia japonica ( it never gets big due to our recent harsh winters)
  • Athyrium niponicum var Pictum – Japanese painted lady fern
  • Malus ‘Evereste’ bonsai tree in pot – though this year hardly a crab apple on any of these trees.
  • Malus ‘Gorgeous’ bonsai tree in pot
  • Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ bonsai tree in pot  – I’ve the wood in the garage to make the monkey poles for the 3 bonsai trees to sit on but so far I’ve never managed to make them this year.
  • I also used to have a beautiful 3 foot tall Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ until it succumbed to our first harsh winter a few years ago.
Astrantia white flowers
August 2011 – the Astrantia selfseeded from the garden next door

Some other plants grow in the same strip though  they’re not strictly Japanese style plants but I grow them for colour and texture like ferns,  AstilbeAstrantia, Chaenomeles japonica (as a climber), Dicentra, Pulmonaria, Philadelpus corona aurea and Potentilla fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’ just as you enter the area.

Blank canvas of a garden in 2001
My blank canvas Autumn 2001

I would love a blank canvas again to do something on a much larger scale in the back garden – but that’s never going to happen as it would be too painful to get it back to that blank canvas on my heartstrings never mind the bank account!

So I’ll just have to be content and enjoy the little bit that I have especially at this time of year. I can just imagine what it would be like on a grand scale – at least that’s free and effortless.

Autumn colours of foliage in the Japanese garden
photo taken last weekend

Here’s a last look at my alternative autumnal jpegs and the only edited photo in the post  (everything else sooc just incase some of my photographer bloggers are reading this – I don’t normally show my creativity on this blog but this is a sneak preview of my assignment shhhhhhh don’t tell).  Aren’t these autumnal leaves just so colourful.


Meet the leaf pegs autumnal foliage leaf


Do you ever wish you could start your garden from scratch again?  What changes would you make big or small?

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Rosie is a passionate wildlife gardener in Scotland, a Perthshire / Tayside flower and garden photographer and writer. She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that buzzes, creeps, crawls or flutters. She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography.

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18 Responses

  1. I think your garden must be stunning, my garden however is not. We haven't got much room to plant anything. My daughter Karen is very keen on plants and bonsai so she has sort of taken over my decking with her plants.
    I'd love to have lots of flowers and trees though. I'll just have to dream lol.

  2. Yes, Yes, Yes! But in a way I begin my garden again each year on a smaller scale. I am not above pulling things out that don't work for me giving them away or even throwing them away if no one wants them.

    We can all start over again in small sections and then eventually it is the way we want it, for a while!


  3. Wow, I love your lovely, serene garden. You've done a wonderful job with your space, creating a haven of beauty.

    You have inspired me to keep on working in my own gardens.


  4. Well I think you could start a trend there…at least I'm going to do it ….So thankyou for this lovely idea. We have a stone which I think of more as a standing stone…we found it in the back field when we were starting to make the garden and have put it in to say…we were here…even when we are gone!
    Any way your garden is beautiful!

  5. Your garden looks so wonderful and neat. THe edging is so nice. Makes me cringe at mine. LOL! I love the reds of the Acer. So beautiful. Gorgeous Pictures.

  6. Such an interesting assignment… I'm curious to know more. Love that rock and it sits so gloriously in its new spot.

  7. Such a beautiful garden…I love the colorful leaves pinned to the bamboo!

    Thank you for visiting my blog! Blessings!

  8. How beautiful. Love, love, love the stone. And yes, every once in a while I want to rip it all out and start over. And I do move things around a bit, so it's almost like a mini do-over every year!

  9. What a wonderful garden and such a fantastic idea to pin up the leaves…
    You are very creative with your garden and your photos. Amazing !

  10. As our current situation is not our permanent home (we live/garden an investment rental house we own), I have always know that I would someday need to move on. So the design of the gardens beds has been more important than the plantings, though I have enjoyed them plenty! I actually really look forward to seeing the next phase of our garden in a few years, striped of perennial fluff and filled with green ground cover. Then the design with be appreciated all the more.

    Beautiful garden! I hope you get to spend a few evenings enjoying the sunset with all of those warm hues.

  11. Our first garden trended toward more of a Japanese theme. It was very shady, and number of plants popular in Japanese gardens seemed to do very well, including the maples, Camellias, Pieris, and alike. I still miss that garden. All year I could depend on foliage for interest, and had to, as not much would bloom in so much shade. I think your garden is lovely, and I love the fall colors of the leaves.

    I do often wish I could start from a blank canvas here, although it would never be appropriate. It can be easier to realize a vision though when not having to work with existing garden structure. Instead, here, I accept it's a challenge, and as the garden evolves, as your garden evolves, I'm sure we'll both come closer to our vision of our ideal.

  12. Now the comment form is working. Not sure what is different. Maybe it was the Jpegs? g

  13. Hi Rosie, haven't heard from you in a little while. Just like Greggo, i can't open your comment window in Blotanical, so came direct instead, just was able to put the picks. I thought you will be saying your alternative is RAW but instead that, haha! Your new garden look is amazing, very beautiful. But those autumn leaves hanging with pegs are a bit naughty, but definitely lovely. How are you?

  14. Rosie, your garden is sensational. Yes I remember when the Japanese thing was all the rage, we just made our own adaptation. I would like to start all over again, I would have more meandering paths, have less grass making room for more and more plants. Don't have the energy though.

  15. Your title reminded me of a tongue twister that's why I clicked on it:) I love the way you interpreted your assignment. I think your Japanese garden is awesome. I love that you have lost the tag to many of the plants. Many of my plants are tagless too.

  16. Looking at your stunning pictures I wish I had more space to create areas like yours. Absolutely beautiful!!

  17. I guess I like the fact that a Japanese section did evolve despite your not having planned it originally. If you had designed a Japanese foliage garden you may have put in a little section for flowers by now. If I was starting again I might have a veggie garden … but I never would have the energy to make such radical changes again. Love the quirky and punny Jpegs.

  18. If only I had time to garden! I think yours looks beautiful 🙂

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