A glorious week in late September set me off puzzling on the layout of the garden. There’s not much I can do about it now, unless the premium bond ticket comes up big time, but I was struck by how the sunniest spot in the garden is occupied by the garden shed. The border that leads away from the shed is the thin border, less than a metre in depth and the long borders at this time of year are shaded by the fig tree. The problem is the garden is south east facing and is laid out as if it were south facing. Maybe there is some tweaking that can be done but I mustn’t get distracted from the immediate task of thinning the garden of self seeders and digging out some poor performers. Here’s the six things that had my attention this week.
The fig tree has been winter pruned for the last two years. Only belatedly did I realise that summer pruning the new growth back after five leaves is also recommended. I haven’t summer pruned because I was wary of the sticky sap the leaks from the stems. As a consequence I now have an enormous tree that needs taking in hand. The non-gardener votes for taking the whole tree down. I am having one last go at containing the monster I have created but given the impact it has on the flower borders, balanced with the quantity of fruit we manage to harvest I think I am at the start of a slippery slope.
This is the last apple tree still bearing fruit and I think I am growing the smallest Braeburns ever. They have just started to drop a few windfalls which are miniature sized but very tasty. We will start picking a few next week.
Having spent a massive amount of time digging out and dividing a poorly flowering agapanthus, I planted a clematis. It is ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, one that has been on the wish list for some time and when I came across it at a local garden centre I could not resist. It looks a bit mildewy already!
I am ruthlessly pulling out the self-seeding astrantias, in particular astrantia major. I am trying hard not to pull out ‘Roma’ but it’s pot luck really. Here’s a. major in flower and for the moment staying in place.
The battle against the slugs continues and delving around in the borders revealed a multitude of them. Far too fat to squish and I’m too squeamish to resort to the secateurs. They go into the green bin where they can feast themselves silly before being transporting to a nice hot compost heap far away from here. This year I am trying out the Strulch mulch, mineralised wheat straw, which apparently lasts in the borders for two years and deters slugs and snails. I love that word: deters. I wonder if my slugs and snails will be deterred from munching through the garden?
Call me a liar. I did swear that I would not grow dahlias anymore because I didn’t really like them and of course they are a magnet for the slugs. But here I am tying a bit of twine around this dahlia in the cutting patch because I like the burnt orange colour and it might just possibly do well in a newly strulched border. Time will tell.
The Propagator invites us all to post each week and hosts all the links. Happy to oblige and happy to share in all the gardening news from around the world.
Some things on the gardener’s to do list are there for several weeks. My list has a few that have been hanging around for months. I am pleased and relieved to present the first of my Six on Saturday for this week. I have finally bought and planted out some onions.
Far from thoughtfully researching the most interesting, disease resistant and high yield bulbs I could find I simply bought what was in the nursery – radar, electric and jermor for the shallots. The wire mesh and freezer basket are in place to keep the birds off until the onions are fully rooted. I will leave these on for some months as I have learnt the lesson of taking them off too early.
Still on the to do list is cleaning the inside of the greenhouse. I promise you the outside did look wonderful about a month ago. The ghostly apparition seen here is the lemon tree. Having bought myself a min max thermometer – another one crossed off – I could not avoid seeing the inside temperature fall to zero. So I wrapped the lemon tree in 17gsm fleece. The top section has two layers of fleece and I have my fingers crossed. Underneath the fleece I have decorated the tree with sachets of Amblyseius californicus mite. These are a preventative control against spider mite. And washing down the inside will also go some way towards eradicating those pests.
The leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis are looking fine at the moment. This was a plant share and I am promised that the slugs avoid this one. It has really bulked up from the tiny divisions planted earlier in the year. You can also just spot a bit of new mulch. Mulching is not complete yet but a start has been made.
There is often a surprise to be found when looking for the six and this week it was finding a new flower on the hydrangea. What a contrast the white makes with the pink of the autumn colouring
Boxes of tulips arrived a while ago and planting up the borders has begun. These Violet Beauty are joining Queen of Night, Barcelona and Shirley to form a line either side a path that runs through the border. This border was first planted from about this time last year and it’s on the to do list to write up the story of its development. I will. I will.
There is one last shout of colour in the garden. The container pelargoniums are stubbornly hanging on. Cold weather is forecast for this weekend so its seems right to give them their five minutes of fame now.
Looking forward to seeing what’s going on in your garden. Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession
There are some lovely bonuses to this meme. Shared knowledge from around the world and the weekly deadline sends me out into the garden nosing around in every corner to find out what is new for this week’s post. This also means I can’t avoid seeing the pests and diseases to be tackled and the jobs that really must be done! Here’s the six.
The first flowers on the viburnum have opened. The poor tree is riddled with viburnum beetle but it doesn’t seem to affect the flowering. Can anyone give a more specific identification on the variety?
I was also very pleased to spot this first hellebore bud. It is Pretty Ellen Red which should begin flowering in February, so this is an unexpected early start. I have planted a small group of these in a shady corner at the back of the garden. The new growth is clearly providing a food source for the slugs. Just wish something would eat the slugs. Job for the weekend: cut back the old foliage – looks like hellebore leaf spot has a hold.
This is in its second flush of flowering, it’s a common border plant but I just don’t know its name. It sprawls down a low wall. Can someone put me out of my misery?
Apologies for the bright blue background. I was using a plastic trug to collect any spilt compost as I potted up these tulips. This year was the first time I have ever lifted and stored tulips. These were grown in a pot, stored in the shed over summer and I have just spotted that they had begun to sprout. Quick action required: out of shed and into pots immediately. Last year I used compost, this year it’s a mix of grit and compost. This year’s new tulips for the borders will be planted out in the coming weeks.
The mulch has arrived. Mulched borders are so lovely. It’s like mowing and edging the grass. Suddenly the garden looks tidier and healthier. Some of this mulch is for the newly dug out border and the rest will gradually go to the other borders and the veg patch.
Speaking of vegetables, here is my last productive strip in the veg patch. The parsnips. I grew Tender and True, sown in May. The weather is telling me that it is parsnip time and I’m looking forward to pulling up and roasting some of these soon.
I hope the weather is good to you and that there is some time, no matter how brief, for you to enjoy your garden this weekend. Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession