It has been a mixed week weatherwise, but although windy at times it has not been too bad and certainly not bad enough to prevent gardening; nevertheless, I seem to have flitted about and not done a lot outside, probably subconsciously putting off fitting the new liner to the stream reservoir. It won’t install itself though, so shouldn’t really be put off much longer…
However, I am not the only one to have been flitting about, as the butterfly above kept on returning to this aster, Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’; no matter how many times I tried, I could not get a picture with its wings fully outstretched as it kept flitting off again, but I think it’s a small tortoiseshell.
I did manage to make a start on pulling Herb Robert out of the woodland, not a difficult task as the roots are easily pulled out of the soft leaf litter if the plant is firmly held at the centre. Rain stopped this task, sadly, once it was heavy enough to penetrate the light cover of the woodland canopy, but I am about a third of the way down the main path so feel I have achieved at least something this week.
Last Saturday I shared the pleasing result of a relocated Carex ‘Everillo’ in one of the lead-effect planters and, true to my word, I have begun replacing the annuals in the others in the adjacent area. The two below replaced annual verbena which was pretty when it flowered but needed regular deadheading, a process complicated by the difficulty in distinguishing between spent blooms and new buds. Two more carex are waiting for the demise of gloriously fragrant Nemesia ‘Wisley Vanilla’ before they can be planted up.
With a constant supply of tomatoes since June, I have been able to make two more batches of my very favourite tomato chutney this week,
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I seem to have been a little lax in the garden of late, the result of weather or other commitments rather than general sloth, but seem to have made up for it this week by ticking off many and varied jobs on my mental ‘to do’ list. Ridding the garden of excess ivy is not one of those and is unlikely ever to be so, but I was pleased to remove this admittedly very attractive arrangement of ivy from the wall near the bottom of the garden. It began as a single stem snaking its way vertically upwards before branching out over the years into this neat fan shape – a very satisfactory result if this was a fruit tree or other decorative shrub. Sadly, it isn’t, but I was pleasantly surprised that with a chisel and wooden mallet it came off the wall quite quickly in large pieces of matted root; even digging the main root out of the cutting bed wasn’t as onerous as it might have been, although there may still be small sections of root making their way across the bed out of sight.
The garden may be in the thrall of autumn, but there is still a fair bit of colour around in patches, with the promise of more to come. Colour is concentrated most in the dahlia beds, where the blooms show little sign of stopping – we, and Jack Frost, know better! There are still roses in bloom, with ‘Strawberry Hill’ the main contender, continuing to delight:
If your garden in spring has the welcome sight of loud and colourful tulips brightening the place up, then it can feel like an exciting place to be again after the inevitable dull, wet moments of winter. For me, the main feeling is relief. Relief that I actually remembered to plant some. Bulb planting in autumn is one of those jobs that we can have in our minds to do, then before you know it it’s a last minute scramble to find the last bag in the shop, hidden away in a corner to make way for inflatable snowmen and reindeer stuffed to the gunnels with LEDs.
Busy Lizzies continue to amaze me every year with their flower power – those above have been flowering since the beginning of June and show no sign of stopping, despite a large degree of neglect by the gardener; however, a dose of frost would quickly send them packing.
From squiggly furniture to blob-shaped rugs, it’s clear that curves are making a comeback in design. Bubble houses in particular have been, and continue to be, a fascination when it comes to architecture.
A couple of those commenting on this blog recently have expressed surprise at how ‘tidy’ the greenhouse was, so this post is designed to shatter that misguided illusion. Firstly, I want to make it clear that what is shown above is not ‘the greenhouse’, but the Coop. Attached to the house, but only accessible from outside, it is more of a conservatory than a greenhouse and hosts a range of tender plants and bulbs, all in terracotta pots. No potting up, planting or propagation takes place here, so there is little excuse for untidiness although the wind blows leaves in, spiders weave their webs there and I splash water and grit around. The working greenhouse at the bottom of the garden, however, is exactly that, a working greenhouse:
The humble apple tree is one of the highlights of autumn in the garden. Twisting a ripe fruit away from a branch on a misty morning, surrounded by the faded glory of the summer flowers in your garden still gamely hanging on, is a beautiful moment. Apples are perhaps the most complex of garden fruits, with a mouthwatering array of flavours and textures that can be enjoyed if you grow your own.
Every year Colchicum ‘Water Lily’ jumps out at me with a resounding ‘boo!’ I know it usually appears around this time, and even cast an eye over its usual spot just a few days ago, but nevertheless it has caught me out again. I am guessing it was in flower before Wednesday because we had a good shower that morning, which would have immediately sullied the presumably once perfect blooms, suggesting that the exceedingly double blooms might be an inherent design fault for a plant that blooms at such a variable time of year.
I gave up being sensitive about my lack of height many years ago, but still feel rather intimidated by tall plants in the garden; actually, intimidated is not the word, perhaps it’s more a case of being a little uncomfortable about their presence, particularly in a smaller border. For that reason, I tend to avoid adding plants that are listed as being above a certain height, perhaps 1.5m (5 feet) or so, but even that is pushing it a bit. Sadly, that doesn’t allow for plants that grow beyond their supposed height (David Austin roses are particularly skilled in this deception). This week, for example, I read an article suggesting Dahlia ‘David Howard’, at 0.7m, was a good choice for a front-of-border position – someone is having a larf, as mine (the orange one at the back in the above picture) towers above me at well over 2m tall (around 7 feet), and always has done.
Phragmites or common reeds include native as well as introduced species of grasses. The non-native phragmites are outcompeting native vegetation and pushing out the native phragmites. Learn more about the differences between native and non-native phragmites.
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