My garden this weekend – 8th September 2013


I mentioned in the End of Month View post that I wasn’t at all keen on the row of Deschampsia at the end of the front lawn.  However, I discovered a view yesterday where I thought they looked great (above).  It was early morning, the dew had not burned off and the sun was shining.  The view was from the end of my driveway peering over the laurel hedge a view I rarely bother to consider but one that visitors may see.  This hasn’t dissuaded me from moving the grasses but I think it has confirmed my feeling that they need to be amongst other plants rather in a straight line.


It already feels as though Autumn is about to be upon us and I have noticed the nights getting distinctly cooler.  This has prompted me to sort out the greenhouse: removing the cucumbers, having a good tidy up and making space for the tender succulents to take up their winter accommodation.  I hadn’t realised that I had acquired so many more over the last year and this year I have tried to display them attractively in the greenhouse rather than my usual putting them in higgeldy piggedly.


On the other side of the greenhouse are the pelargoniums, generally species at the moment as I am leaving the scented leaved ones out as long as possible.  There are also some seedlings of various South Hemisphere plants I have taken to over the last year.

I need to make some decisions about the greenhouse and how I am going to use in the next year or so.  My interests and focus have changed somewhat since I first got it.  I am more interested in growing alpines and hardy perennials from seed and these don’t need greenhouse space.  However, I have a new interest in bulbs, and especially miniature ones for showing, so I am toying with the idea of a bulb frame where I can plunge the pots of bulbs in sand.  I will also have space shortly in our garage now that my eldest son has moved all his woodworking equipment out.  Progress  has started on converting the space into a sort of potting room for me and also somewhere to overwinter dahlia tubers, other succulents and tender perennials.


Outside I was dismayed to discover all the flowers, bar one, munched off the Colchicums.  I  have two small clumps and this one I only acquired last year in a raffle so I have been looking forward to the flowers appearing.  I think the culprit must be slugs but there was little evidence.  I have put slug pellets down in the hope of protecting the remaining flower and maybe any further ones which might appear and there is now a horrid slimy trail around the plant so either they are attracted to the pellets or the flowers!


I  have also done some planting this week.  We have had a good rainfall which has made the ground workable and the reduction in the temperatures mean this is good planting weather.  At last I can start freeing up some space on the patio.  I have planted out a Clematis bonstedtii, which is a herbaceous variety, and some Delphinium requienii.  I think the blue flowers on the Clematis work well with the Melianthus and also the white/blue flowers of Geranium ‘Splish Splash’ just beyond it.


Finally today I emptied out the summer hanging baskets and window box and started planting up the Autumn/Winter displays.  I have added some ornamental cabbages to the Cyclamen and Violas I reviewed for Plant Me Now.

Back to work tomorrow so my gardening exploits will be curtailed to weekends and a few more evenings before the nights completely close in.


17 Comments Add yours

  1. I have also noticed the nights are getting colder and I am starting to think through preparations for the changing of seasons. It is wonderful that you have access to more space for plant propagation. I really enjoyed your photos.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Charlie
      it is amazing how you can find more space even when you think yo have used it all up!

  2. Cathy says:

    If it wasn’t raining I would have gone out straight away and looked for evidence of my colchicums after reading this. Your fortnight at home has given you an opportunity to review lots of things in the garden – realising how your focus and gardening interests have changed is an important step, isn’t it?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      You are right you need more time than a weekend to really see things and make informed decisions

  3. Ricki Grady says:

    After a long, hot summer, autumn is always a time for renewed enthusiasm for planting and planning.Speaking of which, I’d best get out there. It’s a beautiful day after a rainy week: perfect.

  4. Your colchicums are ahead of mine! I will dash out tomorrow and put grit around mine. Lucky I spotted your piece, as I’ve waited a whole year to see my white ones come into flower! Also loved your collection of succulents. Must make more effort to display Mine. Thanks for the inspiration, Helen.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Karen
      I was surprised to see it in flower as I am sure when I got it was around November and it was in flower

  5. Pauline says:

    What a beautifully tidy greenhouse, you put me to shame, must go and start clearing mine, also my succulents need sorting out as they are growing out of their pots with bare middles. Like everyone else, I haven’t seen any sign of colchicum flowers yet, must go and have a look.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Pauline I was surprised to see what was left of the Colchicum flower.

  6. Aemie E. says:

    Amazing photos, you really are a patient gardener. I love the cacti, all of them. 🙂

  7. hillwards says:

    A magical shot of the Deschampsia in the sun, behind the glowing red berries. I too prefer grasses wandering through other plants – although they can make a dramatic screen in a larger space.

  8. annannstar says:

    Hi Helen, it’s a good read, I enjoy following your progress. Can I ask about the Melianthus, I love the smell of peas on the leaves …. it needs a reasonable amount of light? but not all day sun? and do you leave it out over winter; do you give it any extra protection, mulch or straw? I was thinking of treating it like a pelargonium until I saw yours… the worst we have had is -14C. All info gratefully ….

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      I grew melianthus from seed three years ago. They spent the first year in pots, were planted out last spring and left in the ground. For some reason I thought they needed shade and damp and two were planted in shady and dampish situations. The third was planted in a sunny location as I had run out of room. The third one thrived better than the other two. I covered them in straw over winter and they were fine although cut back to the ground and have all reshooted. However, the growth has been slow this year and I wonder if it has been too dry for them. I did see a presentation a while ago and the speaker had Melianthus growing in a gravel bed in Oxford and it looked great. I had looked at the conditions it grew in naturally which was boggy ditches but of course that was somewhere like Mexico so you have to take the change of temperature into account. All very confusing. I’m not sure they would have survived outside a couple of winters ago but they are easy from seed so I might sow a few each year as back up

      Hope that helps


  9. Lovely pictures, how are you keeping your plants so fresh looking.? are you getting much rain.? and you have a lovely tidy, organised Greenhouse, unlike mine. Job for the weekend. :-/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi CG
      We have had quite a bit of rain recently mainly at night which has made all the difference. I am pleased with the greenhouse but then its where I have been focussing my attentions recently as the ground was so hard in the garden before it rained

  10. annannstar says:

    really useful, thks for all the detail Helen

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