I have to admit that some of my gardening this weekend was down to sheer contrariness. The weather on Saturday was showery and blustery and not particularly warm and needless to say as soon as I had finished my chores the sun went in. However, being of a contrary nature I was not to be deterred, especially, as I am away next weekend and I really needed to get the last of the bulbs in the borders.
The focus of the hour I stole on Saturday was more work on the lower back slope. It is sheltered here so I wasn’t blown over by the gusts of wind which were getting stronger and stronger. More of the old crocosmia were dug up and the ferns re-distributed. I also added a swath of Corydalia solida. I haven’t grown this before I have seen it in many woodland gardens; I am hoping that the foliage will provide a nice contrast to the upright leaves of the various bulbs in this bit of border.
Needless to say I ended up retreated to the garage and my new potting area. Some species tulips and Iris ‘Cantab’ were planted up with the intention of possibly showing them in the new year.
The gusts yesterday afternoon were a precursor to much stronger winds overnight. I think we caught the tail end of the storm which affected Wales and this morning the litter of twigs and small branches from the willow tree spoke of the strength of the wind. I have to admit though that there seems to be a never ending amount of twigs coming off the willow all year round and I find myself often wondering how there is so much left on the tree given the amount I clear up.
I woke to sunshine so I was up and out in the garden by 9:30am. First up was to get the rest of the bulbs in the front garden. I have extended the planting of Tulipa Ballerina and Allium sphaerocephlan across the end of the lawn but I have got as far as carrying it up the other side of the lawn in front of the beech hedge – mainly because the soil gets very wet and heavy here and I’m not convinced the tulips and alliums will do well in this environment.
Bulb planting nearly complete I moved to the back garden and cleared the Big Border of all the tender perennials and the leaves that have fallen to date. The dahlias were all lifted and have been set upside down in trays in the garage so they dry out a little before I store them for the winter. I don’t leave them in the ground in this garden as it is very clay based and gets sodden in the winter in places which really isn’t the right environment for the dahlia tubers to overwinter in. I also lifted the Salvia involucrata boutin and managed to squeeze it into the largest pot I have before store it in the garage for the winter. I have been told it is borderline hardy but I just know if I leave it out, even with a protective mulch, it will be a very cold winter and I will lose the plant.
The border looks incredibly bare now but this is fine as I really need to add some organic matter to it since it was created in a rush back in April and planted up quickly to clear the area for the new workshop. I want to think about this border over the winter and decide how it should be developed. I have noticed this summer that there is a distinct line going diagonally across the back garden which separates the sunny and shady areas and the Big Border is cut in half. So I need to come up with a planting scheme that combines both sun lover and shade lovers but without a clear demarkation. In the meantime I have added some Ornithogalum umbellatum in a drift near the Stipa gigantea which hopefully will look good.
My son came and helped me move the large pots of Agapanthus and Echium under cover and we cleared the first crop of fallen leaves from the patio. It looks so bare and tidy now which made me feel a little sad but then I spotted that the winter jasmine along the patio wall had started to flower. Not only had the flowers started to appear but there were far more buds than I have ever seen on it before and I am sure that this is partly due to me removing some of the competition from the wall earlier this year and giving it a bit of space.
I have more tidying to do particularly in the areas where there are lots of spring bulbs and also some tulips to plant up in pots but generally if the weather was to change suddenly it wouldn’t mean that essential jobs hadn’t been done which is a good feeling. Everything I do now before winter really gets a grip on the garden will be a bonus.