End of Month View – September 2014


September has been a very dry month and has ended with exceptionally warm temperature. a real Indian summer.  Although the garden is dry at first glance luckily because we have had the odd day of rain and there is frequently a heavy dew in the morning the plants are looking quite good.


Starting with the smallest area of this monthly post – the hardy succulent trough has really filled out.  When I planted it up at the beginning of the year it looked so empty but now it seems I under estimated how much and how quickly the plants would grow and no doubt I will have to edit it in the not too distant future.


The staging area got a bit of a tidy up.  I mentioned a few weeks back that I was planting up my various perennial alpines into bigger pots and you can see the results here.  You can also see the huge flower on the Aeonium tabuliforme which is quite wonderful; sadly the plant will die when the flower finishes.


The Patio Border is looking a lot better since I moved the Edgeworthia along from the end on the right – it seems more balanced out.  The Kirengeshoma palamata is now beginning to go over but it has looked wonderful for about a month now.  The border will now start to fade but come Spring it should have lots of spring bulbs appearing.

2014_09280018The Rose Border (formerly the Cottage Garden Border!) is settling in with its new planting.  The Japanese Anemones have continued to flower since I planted them a few weeks back and some of the roses have buds appearing so I may get a second flush of flowers.  I am pleased with how it is looking but it will now be a case of seeing how it comes through the winter and how the plants fill out. One day I will work out how to photograph the border to show it at its best.

On the other side of the path is the Big Border which I have added a number of asters too over the last month.  I haven’t felt the border was right yet and I have decided that the two shrubs in it are just too large for the space and are dominating the planting.  When I visited Old Court Nursery a few


weeks back I was very taken with the borders and they didn’t have any shrubs in.  I have been following a principle of having a range of plants e.g. shrubs, perennials, bulbs in a border to add interest but I think that this border can do well without the shrubs.  There is plenty of interest elsewhere in the garden in the spring and winter that the border doesn’t need to be interesting all the time. I want to improve my original plan to have the focus of the border on asters with some other late summer perennials.  The asters are a little thin at the moment so making much of an impact but I think given another season they should start to look very good.


The new seating area and Hardy Exotic Border is great and has exceeded my expectations particularly as they were only created earlier this year.  It will be interesting to see how the plants in the border come through the winter and how much they fill out given another year’s growth.


The original Woodland Border is looking a little faded now with plants beginning to fade for Autumn.  However it looks so much better than last year and I am glad I added plants at the back to add height.  I still need to edit the front and middle of the border now I know what is where so plants have the best chance to show of but this will be a job to do over the next month or so and in early spring.


Finally the enigma which is the former Bog Garden and which continues to perplex me.  There is something not right with the border and I can’t work out what to do to make it zing.  I am sure the penny will drop in the near future but it definitely needs something added or removed – it’s just been dull this year.

So that is my garden at the end of September and with Autumn upon us I am hoping to undertake a number of small projects over the next couple of months to get the garden ready for next year. I find writing this monthly post very helpful as it makes me look critically at the garden and analyse why different areas please or irritate me.

If you would like to join in with the monthly meme you are very welcome to do so.  You can use it however you want there are no rules – you can show us around your garden, feature a particular area whatever you fancy.  All I ask is that you include a link to this post in your post and you put a link to your post in the comment box below so I can find you.



22 Comments Add yours

  1. Diana Studer says:

    your enigma wants zing? What is the lovely silvery plant? A Euphorbia? That zings!!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana it’s a cornus. I just think it looks bitty, needs something

  2. Yvonne Ryan says:

    You must be pretty fit as looks quite steep! Looking good and your seat looks very inviting – hope you use it to contemplate – I sound as I am nagging but still haven’t seen you actually sitting on it! Yeas sunny spring day with the birds singing, blue sky, very little wind! Summer on way! Busy weekend flying down to Wellington to watch WOW (World of Wearable Arts) Amazing show – do google – World famous!! Music,dancing, colour, just incredible and the garments! Made Cirque di soliele look like a small town show! Entrants from all over the world and just gets bigger and better! Brings in $23m to Wellington with visitors coming from all over the World! I am saving for next year! Weeds growing well so bit effort to get on top of them while weather lovely. Although in an acre garden always something to do. My hosts are in South Africa so want it nice for when they get back! The pool was 14.1 degrees so hope this sun helps the solar system to hurry and warm it up! Looking forward to your autumn colours!

  3. Alison says:

    Your garden is looking very good despite the dry weather. My bog garden has dried up and doesn’t even pretend a fraction of a zing! I have very few shrubs in my borders, where I do its where not much else will thrive and that seems to work ok so far.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2014/09/end-of-month-review-september-2014.html

  4. Helen your garden is always so inspirational. I am very taken with the narrow grass path with beds on either side. I think this is what I will do next. It will reduce the amount of lawn to deal with! Your seating area and exotic garden looks so tranquil. This is my EOMV for September http://wp.me/p1jkAI-2Ci

  5. Hi Helen, I think you have achieved an enormous amount in your garden this year, and that hardy tropical area is a real triumph. I’ve been struggling with the balance between shrubs and perennials too, it can be tricky, but I like the sound of letting your aster border be just that, I was so excited by the planting at Harlow Carr in the Long Borders and at Sue Beeseley’s garden, I was almost disappointed when my Edgeworthia put on so much good growth this year that I just have to leave it be! Anyhow, my post is up – http://plantaliscious.janetbruten.co.uk/2014/09/end-of-month-view-september-2014/ – thanks again for hosting.

  6. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen, as ever there’s so much to see here and all in such good condition! I do hope you’re finding some time to sit on your lovely new bench.
    Please find my month end view here http://duverdiary.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/end-of-month-view-september-2014/

  7. Cathy says:

    This summer has really shown how different the weather can be over relatively small areas – we have had a few mm of precipitation on only 2 days this month, about 8mm in total. The previous two months we had about an inch (mixed units – sorry!) of rain on one day in both months – next year I shall be watering my borders if its another dry summer… Your garden still looks bright and healthy and a real credit to the thought you have put into it. Interesting what you say about shrubs as I am finally removing any stray shrubs from my borders and putting them in a new border which will essentially be just shrubs – will it work? Who knows?! Thanks for hosting – my EOMV is at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/end-of-month-view-all-change/

  8. rusty duck says:

    For what it’s worth I rather like the former Bog Garden. It looks as if it might be shady, so a mix of different foliage plants, as you have, is perfect. What a fantastic view from that seat.
    I love the alpine trough and particularly how you’ve arranged the plants.
    Here’s my link for this month:
    This meme has really made me focus on the terraced garden this year, I shall have to try something even more challenging for next!

  9. Nell Jean says:

    I so enjoy following the editing of your beds for a jewel-box look.

    Does the Aeonium make pups, or do you have to start over with seeds or a new plant? It’s quite spectacular, the bloom.


    Thank you for this fun meme.

  10. Helene says:

    Hasn’t September been lovely?! It thoroughly made up for the dismal August 🙂
    Your succulent trough looks very nice, I am planning to make something similar, either a trough or climbing up on a slope – still collecting plants though so it will be a while till the finished result. It’s great to see how well they have filled in the empty spaces in your trough. And your new seating area looks lovely, I could sit there all day!

    Here is my EoMV post: http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/end-of-month-view-september.html

  11. Helen I like your smallest garden the alpine trough, it has filled out and looks lovely, that first photo is beautiful, your new hot border is very lush and lovely in such a short time, warm dry weather would I like, yes please,
    my post is posted, thanks for hosting this useful meme, Frances


  12. ricki grady says:

    Everything looks wonderful…just as we are on the cusp of shutting down for the winter. Kirengeshoma palmate seems to be the plant of the year. I am seeing it everywhere in gardens but nowhere for sale. It’s a standout, for sure.

  13. I love your succulent trough – I especially like the unique design you’ve made. I think you have more succulents than I do, and I live in a hot and arid climate! September has brought fall and fall color to my Texas garden. Fall is the best time for gardening in Texas, so I’m really looking forward to spending time in the garden these next few months. Thanks for sharing your garden, here is my EoMV:

  14. AnnetteM says:

    Hi Helen, your garden looks great especially the new seated area. Ferns are so useful aren’t they – I have only just started using them myself. I can see how photographing your rose border path is difficult. Maybe you could just concentrate on a bit at a time or have you tried lying on the path to get a ‘snail’s eye view’ – only joking, I think you might be better with a very tall step ladder.
    Here is my End of Month View – thanks for hosting.

  15. Noelle Mace says:

    Enjoying reading your blog as usual. Maybe a few cyclamen in the bog garden, but perhaps there are a few that I cannot see. Also a piece of sculpture but I must say the whole garden looks terrific..yellow book soon?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Noelle
      You know I think a bit of sculpture might just be the right thing for the bog garden. I know someone who does willow weaving and I have been eyeing up her owls on stands for a while and wondering where I could put one and I think thats would be perfect – thank you

  16. Wow, the seating area and the hardy exotics look wonderful Helen. What a shame that the Aeonium tabuliform will die after it flowers. Will you be able to collect seed to grow some new ones?

    Here is my post for September: http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2014/10/end-of-month-view-september-2014.html

  17. I was in far too much of a rush yesterday that I came over to read and post a comment and got distracted by a phone call!
    I love the wee trough Helen, it hasn’t half filled out. They obviously like it in there. The last two shots have a distinct autumnal feel about them.
    The changes you have made have made quite a difference and I hope you finally figure out what is or is not missing from the former bog garden. Don’t you just hate it when you can’t quite put your finger on what’s bugging you.
    Here’s my post and big thank you for hosting, I’ve found this meme most useful and keeping me focused on what’s going on in my new border.

  18. Donna says:

    I’m amazed at the lush planting going on around the seating area Helen, very impressive and so exotic looking 🙂

  19. Anna says:

    That little trough of succulents is looking as if it has been there for some time now Helen. It looks as if you have a good crop of apples this year. I’m late with my end of month view post but it’s up now:

  20. I am late as usual linking in Helen, but better late than never. I really do enjoy your perspectives and views as you work through your garden. The bench in your new area still is my favorite as I can imagine the views from there. And I appreciate how you feel when you look at a garden and wonder what is missing…mine is weedy and overgrown as I am now just getting out after my surgery and now a bum knee…so only minimal maintenance with changes waiting until next year. And I am not showing many long garden shots as it would serve no purpose. But I do hope you enjoy the look around:


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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