End of Month View – September 2013


It’s the end of September and Autumn is definitely upon us although it’s not that obvious from the photograph above.  Whilst we have been blessed with a sunny warm weekend there was a strong wind first thing on Sunday and a distinct nip in the air with the start of that damp smell I associate with Autumn.


I think the photograph above demonstrates the messiness of the row of Descampsia and why I’m not happy with the idea of planting a row of them.  I have a row of grasses in the main garden but they are behind other plants and the Calamagrostis are neater plants.  The Descampsia are going to be rejigged so that they provide an interesting background to the plants they are currently hiding, such as the Salvia  above.


The real problem though isn’t the grasses and a closer look at the front of the garden shows why I dislike working in the front garden – the weeds and in particular what I think is an alpine strawberry or a relative of it.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much I did it up it still comes back.  I have to confess to not keeping on top of the problem but it is on my list of jobs to tackle  in the coming weeks.  Once I have weeded and re-jigged the planting I am going to top dress with mulch in the hope that this covering will stop the weeds coming back.


Next year the planting above should be reversed so the grass provides a backdrop to the Salvia rather than masking it completely.


The driveway border has been replanted and more irises added along with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and some small Nepeta which the grasses were dwarfing at the front.  I think this looks better but we shall see how it goes next year.

So that is my Front Garden at the end of September.  If you would like to join in with the End of Month View you are very welcome and you can use  it however you wish.  However, please leave a link to your post in the comments box below and also a link to this post in your post – that way we can all find each other and have a good  nose at each others gardens.





27 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathy says:

    Hi Helen – I suspect your decision to moderate all comments means you have been getting a lot of spam. What a nuisance for you. You have many loyal followers and even if they don’t always comment I’m sure they always respect your honesty and what you have to say – you are not on your own! This is a good time of year for reassessment, isn’t it? Other bloggers have shown lovely swathes of grasses but they do take time to make an impact so next year it will be different again in your front garden. Hope you can sort out your alpine strawberry cousin – they do seem to pop up randomly, sometimes after a year or two’s absence. Thanks for hosting EOMV – my post is http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/end-of-month-view-the-long-haul/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy WordPress is pretty good at catching the real spam but I have had lots of annoying emails about adverts, guest poster etc etc despite it clearly saying in two places on my blog I don’t host them. So I have removed my contact details from the blog and that means if anyone wants to contact me they will have to do it via comments so I wanted to moderate them.

      I agree with you about how long grasses take to establish and make an impact I just think the grass I have used is wrong for how I have used it. Thanks for joining in this month, off to have a nose around your garden

  2. Hi Helen, thank you for sharing your front garden and hosting the EOMV. Here is my pathetic review for September http://wp.me/p1jkAI-2pF

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ronnie, thanks for participating again this month, off to have a nose around your garden

  3. Alison says:

    Its amazing how quickly it suddenly becomes Autumn. I also have that wild-strawberry-weed-thing, its a devil to get rid of in my garden. I really like your red salvia, superb colour.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2013/09/end-of-month-review-september-2013.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison thanks for joining in again this month. The salvia is a shrub one which I have to cut back in early spring if I remember correctly and is stunning once you fight through the grass to find it!

  4. I see what you mean about the grass Helen and that salvia is lovely, too nice to hide, I should think the grass will make a nice background for it, the drive way border is looking good too, nice dots of colour and the reds are echoed in the berries on the rowan,

    mine is posted, thanks for hosting EoMV, Frances

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Frances, well it’s nice to see that someone understand what I am whittering about! Just been for a nose over to yours. thanks for joining in again this month

  5. Thanks for hosting this. If you can manage it, I suggest a layer of newspaper on top of the weeds and under the mulch to help keep the weeds at bay! Those alpine strawberries are a royal pain! The red salvia is pretty, but I see what you mean about the grass in front of it spoiling the view.

    Here is the link to my End of Month View: http://cosmosandcleome.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/end-of-month-view-september-2013/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi CC
      Not sure I could cope with the cardboard idea, I’m too much of a neat freak! Thank you for joining in this month, I will pop over to have a nose at your garden

  6. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Looking good – yes I think a few more irises would be nice – I love irises. I had a big clump o Dutch irises that I dug out from my Mt Eden garden. No 3 daughter has benefited and some flowered – mine in pots brought to my tropical pad in the B&B and not many flowere boo hoo. Flag irises have such gorgeous colours I have only one – again at daughter no 3’s is mainly white but nice. I love looking as photos of the amazing colours. Been a stormy windy spring so far. The hawthorne (don’t know correct name0 a white one and a pink one that grows to a metre is in full bloom. Great plant – tuff as old boots, thick growth for shelter,clusters of pretty scented flowers then in autumn black berries that my dog ate with no ill effects and the birds loved.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      I love irises too and have all sorts but i think the flag irses remain my favourites, they are so elegant.

  7. Lea says:

    I like those splashes of red throughout your front garden. Thanks for hosting the End of Month View. Here is mine:
    Lea’s Menagerie

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Lea
      I’m glad you like the red splashes, I was trying to get some sort of cohesion! Thanks for joining in this month.

  8. What a gorgeous colour that salvia is, it definitely deserves to be at the front, and as Frances said I really like the way you have the red tones dotted through the garden, it really pulls things together. I sympathise with the Descampsia issue, it seems to quite a difficult grass to make work well, though show gardens always make it look wonderful, my sil had the same problem, and I had something similar with Molinia ‘Transparent’. As for weeds, hey, at least the strawberries aren’t bright orange like the crocosmia that keeps trying to worm it’s way back in to the middle of a border intended to be all blue, purple and white! Thanks for hosting, yet again it has got me out of my blogging slump, my post is now up.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Janet
      I did laugh at your comment about crocosmia as I have been planting them in the front garden too! The dotting of red flowers around the front garden is intentional so I am glad you like it and even spotted it!! Thanks for joining in again this month.

  9. Anna says:

    I understand what you mean about the grasses Helen as my eyes are drawn straight to them – maybe some gentle weaving and interplanting will do the trick. The salvia provides a most vivid splash of colour. Good luck with the weed battle – it does get disheartening at times 😦 Autumn is definitely in the air here this morning – have just gone out to the greenhouse and have come straight back in for another cuppa and another layer of clothing before I get back out there.
    My post is now up at :

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      Weaving and interplanting is what I meant to say but I suspect the reality will be plonking and finger crossing!! I have given up on evening gardening as there isnt much time before it gets dark and it is just too cool for it to be particularly enjoyable. Thanks for joining in again this month.

  10. rusty duck says:

    I have that alpine strawberry thing too, thank you for confirming that it is indeed a weed. The only thing I can think of in its favour is that it isn’t ground elder, which I also have to battle with elsewhere!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      I am sure there are some that wouldnt consider the alpine strawberry thingy a weed but then they say a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. Luckily I dont seem to have ground elder but I do sympathise

  11. Donna says:

    I’ve always really liked the look of your drive-side border Helen; it just works for me in an open, welcoming but also interesting all at-the-same-time sort of way 🙂
    PS what a pain to have to go through every single comment checking for spam/adverts and such like – I just don’t get people who insist on sending unwanted and unsolicited junk! Total waste of time and energy for both sender and receiver imo and to what end?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Donna I am glad you like the drive border, I have had a love/hate relationship with it over the years but I think it is coming into its own now.
      Wordpress does catch the spam but I want to be a little more in control of comments plus I am hoping it will make me better at replying to them which I have been very bad at recently

  12. Hannah says:

    I find siting plants to be a difficult thing, it’s hard to imagine what they will look like when mature. I just bought some grasses so I will have to be careful where I put them. Your Salvia and other red flowers look good together.

  13. bittster says:

    I think I’m too late for the EOMV, and too disorganized to participate on a regular basis, but just wanted to say I like the front driveway border! I think it has a lot of interest and color for a perennial border this late in the season (but I do like the dahlias and castor bean of your back border more!) Have you considered cutting the descampsia down and being done with it for the season? It’s a shame the salvia are blocked at this time of year.

  14. Alison says:

    Well, I certainly took my time. I finally have an End of the Month View post up, here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2013/10/end-of-month-view-stream-and-bed-around.html Like you, I planted grasses and lots of other things in the wrong place.

  15. Once again thanks for hosting. I am rather late joining in. Love the long view of your autumn front garden especially the left side.


  16. Hi helen, Great going with your blog.
    I am a new gardner and a new blogger myself, pls check it out. Your sugeestions and feedbacks are most welcome.


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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