End of Month – October 2011

The garden is looking shabby and unloved at the end of this month and my excuse is that it is autumn but if I am honest it has looked a bit like this  for most of the year.  However, the tide of indecision is  turning as I  am slowly but surely moving forward with my plans.  Although  this has resulted in some lost sleep as I wake up in the early hours and then can’t get to sleep as I am mentally moving plants around.

Above is what I call the gravel border and I said in last month’s post that I was going to put the new pond here.  Change of plan – keeping the border and we are going to create a seating area.  This will mean that there will be no pond in the garden as I am filling the existing pond in to make a bog garden.  However, it turns out  that the rescue cat I got 6 months ago is a real hunter and I can’t bear seeing her walking along with a frog hanging out of her mouth so if I whilst I am removing a habitat I feel that I am also encouraging the frogs to use  neighbours pond and avoid my cat.

As you can see I have made no progress in the last week with sorting out the old pond but I haven’t been lazy.  I have been working hard at the allotment tidying up ready for the winter and I have been working on sorting out the new cottage garden border.   There has been much plant moving and although the border (below) look quite bare at the moment there is a lot  in there but it is all cut back and tidied.  Now we have had  some good rain I will give it a good autumn mulch and then sit back and hope the tulip and allium bulbs I have planted look fab in the summer.

I have some apple trees on order to use for step over apples along the wall edge as I think this will add some much-needed structure.  It may be that I widen this border but I will wait a year before doing so so I can concentrate and complete all the other projects.

I’ve planted lots of Erythroniums and dwarf Narcissus in the woodland border  so again fingers crossed that something resembling the pictures in my head will appear in the spring.

I am though pleased with the top of the garden.  I have finally turned the corner here and although it looks quite bare at the moment it is very full but the plants are quite small.  The three bamboos I planted in the spring have started to send up new shoots and hopefully next year will be tall enough to screen my neighbours.  In front of them is a mixture of shrubs to add some depth and, along with the vine and flowering quince, and to break up the bleakness of the fence.  While I wait for the shrubs to fill out I have filled the gaps with blood-red wallflowers and a mixture of red tulips kept over from last year.  The border gets a lot of sun so I have also added an edging of bearded irises.  Again it looks wonderful in my imagination!

Having avoided the pond by doing the cottage border I am now distracted by the potential of a new area my eldest son has cleared for me.  The top corner was full of branches and other twigs etc collected over the last six years.  My son has taken all this to the scout hut where he is a leader ready for bonfire night.  He and his friend have also cut down some of the lower branches of the trees and tidied up the stumps where my neighbour has butchered the tree from his side.  Now hopefully there are no more branches overhanging the fence which he can reach.  The ground slopes a lot in this corner so we are going to put across a raised bed, as we did across the other side of the back of the garden.  I am then going to plant it up with Hydrangeas and some form of large, tall grass to give some privacy and height and movement.  I can then use the stones from around the old pond to finish off the border in front of the tree and sort out the planting here with more woodland plants.

A final  view of my cottage border.  I have moved an Abelia from the front garden to add some substance to the corner of the border.  I am really glad I did this especially as I dithered about it for ages but my instinct kept telling me that this was what was needed and I  think it was right.

So I have been busy but I have such ambitious and multiple projects that I suppose to me it doesn’t look like I have made much progress but writing this post as showed me that I have.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

20 thoughts on “End of Month – October 2011”

  1. You are wrong Helen – it looks like there has been a lot of progress and also you seem very clear in the way that you are going to carry your garden plans forward, well done.

    Love the sound of the tulips and wallflowers as a filler while the Shrubs fill out – I am looking forward to seeing that in the Spring.

  2. I know that feeling of moving plants in your sleep all night! And it looks like you’ve been moving plants in the garden, too. I know it will turn out just as it is in your imagination. And the decisions you make now are the important ones! It will be fabulous in the spring when the bulbs emerge.

  3. Lots of work done already, I’m really enjoying watching your plans take shape. I’ve had nights of plant-moving in my sleep too, seems to have abated now that most things are planted out into the garden at last! I also have blood-red wallflowers that I grew from seed, and have planted our first allium bulbs to hopefully explode into colour next summer, along with all the spring colour I am anticipating (there has to be something after planting 200+ bulbs over the space of a couple of weeks, right?!). Shall do my end of month review tonight, hopefully.

  4. Its amazing how much redesign we are prepared to put into our house and garden to accommodate the behaviour of the cat! In his old age Binki used to like to sleep in the middle of my raised herb bed crushing the herbs into a nice little bed. So the next year I replanted it with him in mind and left a cat-sized space in the middle. He immediately moved to the scented bed.
    Maisie will no doubt make up for the shortfall of frogs in your garden by bringing them back from the neighbours ponds for you.

  5. I think that waking up in the early hours and failing to return to sleep due to the mental plant moving is an all too common phenomena! I think it is really impressive the way that you are have moved your garden on this year, you have reclaimed it and evolved some great ideas. I like the step over apples as added structure. In theory I have a wallflowers plus tulips combination to fill space. In practice said space is still full of dahlias and I have lots of middle of the night mental plant moving to do before I can put them in the ground… Anyway, good luck turning those mental pictures into physical reality, I always think it is the most exciting and the most nerve-wracking bit of gardening. My own EOMV post is now up, thanks for hosting again.

  6. You certainly seem to have a definite action plan in mind Helen which is what I am in serious need of. I chuckled at the idea of your night time mental planting and had visions of you out there in your nightie, trowel in hand. Looking forward to seeing your woodland area in spring and what progress you have made with the top of the garden. A new area to plant up too – oh how so exciting 🙂 Not much to tell but my EOMV post is up now here ~ http://greentapestry.blogspot.com/2011/10/end-of-month-view-october-2011.html

  7. This time of year is so good for planning and considering the next year. Love the idea of the step-over apples near the wall – I think it will look great. I understand your concerns about frogs and cats, thankfully as yet I have not suffered from that yet, from previous experience of cats and frogs I think frogs do not taste nice, though that does not stop cats from tormenting them. Thanks as ever for hosting this meme – my EoMR is here: http://ozhene.blogspot.com/2011/10/end-of-month-review-october.html

  8. I do like the top of your garden and the planting combinations will look fantastic as it matures (as well as screening out the neighbours). All the bulb planting will pay dividends next spring. Apart from planting a few tulips in pots and a bit of a tidy-up I’m not that organised. I’m looking forward to seeing your plans coming to fruition. I’ve done a review for October and it proved to be a useful exercise…

  9. Wow you are working hard…Its great to put work in now ready for next year. I love the Autumn..and have been cutting back and pruning and thinning. I always think of gardening as sculpting or painting. I am not good with colour though..apart from subtle colours and greens. Perhaps I am a coward. Can’t wait to see the bearded Iris in flower at the top of your garden.

  10. gosh Helen I think you have accomplished a lot and the allotment too! lots to look forward to next spring which is nice and forward moving, as for mental plant moving it is all I have been able to do as October has been one long gale so I have nothing to join in with this month, I’m hoping November will have some weather where I can get into the garden as I’m starting to feel it’s all a lost cause, Frances

  11. I think you have done well to make so many changes, especially when you have the allotment to do as well.
    Luckily my cats have never cared for catching frogs so I have kept my pond. Personally I think it is hard for the garden not to look shabby at this time of year and frankly we could all do with a rest this far into the season. A good time to think and plan instead of doing 🙂
    My End of the Month Post is now up too.

  12. I don’t know how you manage the garden, your allotment and work too, especially if you are waking in the night thinking about the garden. Trouble with this time of the year, leaves are dropping and making the lawn look a mess and as Easy Gardener says the garden can start to look shabby. I find the Winter is a great time just to get a clearer view of what should go where. It must be tough and hard work gardening on a slope but it looks as though you are really making the most of what you have got.

  13. A wonderful review. You certainly have worked hard this month! I look forward to seeing the results in the spring/summer.

    I lose as much sleep when I am planning/planting a new garden as when I have a new baby, I think. It is the vision that drives us on.

    No post to offer, but I do hope I can get things together around here sometime to do one. It must add to your sense of accomplishment to see it all the advances written up together.

    Thanks for sharing yours,

  14. I’m late, but here’s my EOMV: http://beangenie.wordpress.com/

    I think one of the best reasons for garden blogging is the one you summarise at the end – and it’s particularly true for the EOMV (thanks for hosting once again!). It makes you stop and take stock and realise just what you have done!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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