Autumn and the season of bounty is definitely upon us. My step over apples have generous crops of apples considering how small the trees are; not bad for their third year.
I finished off my period of annual leave by replanting the Cottage Border along the top of the wall. Last weekend I lifted everything aside from the roses and sage, potted it up although I threw a few plants. Then I set out off the plants I had accumulated over the past couple of weeks along with the plants that were going back in the border. I have adopted a pink, grey, burgundy/purple theme for the border with the grey and burgundy coming primarily from foliage. The colour palette comes from the spring blossom of the step over apples which back the border and the flowers of the Abelia at the beginning of the border which is a key view of the border.
I struggle with getting the maximum impact from my borders and have taken various approaches over the years including mixed season interest and a key season of interest. Neither approach has really worked as the borders have looked dull for too much of the year. Therefore I am trying a different approach influenced from reading Christopher Lloyd and Margery Fish. I am trying to have good structure with foliage interest and then having flowers to supplement this with hopefully interest at different times of the year. I probably haven’t explained myself very well but I feel I have a plan in my head! The border planting is fairly restricted too, another part of the plan, and features sedums, stachys, roses, aquilegia, pink Japanese anemones, and geraniums. One of my sons has suggested that I add some alliums to continue the purple theme in late spring and I think this is a good idea.
Pleased with how the Cottage Border, which I am renaming the Rose Border due to the number of roses included, has gone I have moved on to the Big Border.
The Big Border has always meant to have a late summer season of interest but is somewhat lacking at the moment. There are a number of asters in the border which are still in tight bud so I am probably being unfair but I have felt that it needed zinging up and in particular the area nearest the steps. As this is a particularly sunny spot of the garden I have planted quite a few bulbous summer plants here and the foliage has become very samey. So this weekend I have really weeded this end of the border, removed a couple of poor kniphofia and a horrid pink sanguisorba – you can see how much space has been freed up. To this and along the far side of the border I have planted out the asters I bought from Pictons. Anna asked which asters I bought from Pictons so just for her here is a list of my purchases:
Aster ericodes f. prostrate ‘Snow Flurry’
Aster trinervius ‘Stardust’
Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis ‘Prince’
Aster pringeli ‘Monte Cassino’
Aster x frikartii ‘Wunder von Staffa’
I’m also really pleased with this combination – Crocosmia ‘Emily Mackenzie’ alongside the autumn foliage of Hamamelis mollis ‘Arnold Promise’; there is also an orange flowered Geum tucked in further back in this border which I hope will bulk up and add to the colour. This combination is at the end of the path which goes in front of the Rose Border and like the way it acts as a focal point as you walk along the path.
Finally I have been busy in the evenings repotting my bulb collection. I still have lots more to do and am having to work out a new plan to accommodate everything that needs overwintering this winter given that I don’t plan to have the greenhouse particularly warm. Mum’s mini greenhouse which she had decided to get rid of should help with this though and is probably going to become home for my non-bulbous alpines.
So lots achieved despite the odds and the plans I have been forming in my mind over the summer are starting to come together. The tree surgeon has been instructed to deal with the huge willow and I am waiting to see how this impacts on the light in the top half of the garden before move forward there. I have though decided to not buy any more seeds. I love sowing seeds but never had enough time to look after the seedlings and this frustrates me. I am someone who if they are going to do something they want to do it well so no more seed sowing; well not until such time as I have more space or time. This should take some self-imposed pressure off me and allow me time to explore my new fascination – embroidery which is the subject of my other blog!