End of Month View – September 2018

I do enjoy this time of year as much as I enjoy Spring. I enjoy tidying up in the garden, because of the sense of achievement you get, and then there is the bulb planting with promise of Spring.

I should have taken the photo first thing before the sun came round

I realised this afternoon in the garden that I have actually managed to do quite a bit over the past month, although to the outside observer this probably isn’t that obvious.  I’ve added three Stipa tenuissima to the corner of the Big Border where all the bulbs live.  This is an area I worked on earlier in the year and replanted.  There is a lot of gravel in this area to help the bulbs survive the winter but there was a lack of height and substance so I am hoping that the Stipa will bring this and provide a foil for my bulb collection.

You can just see the Tithonia’s in the corner of this picture which have been a triumph this year. I love the vibrancy of the orange which acts as a good contrast to the asters.

Even the bottom corner of Hugh’s border (Hugh is the owl) hasn’t been too bad this year and this one of those bits of the garden which really challenges me as the ground dries out to much here.  I am slowly changing the planting to take advantage of this.

The top of the slope is one of the areas of the garden I keep coming back to when I have a spare moment.  Earlier in the year we removed the very top path, which was never used and was just a home for weeds.  This has given me more space and I have been using it to spread the plants out.  Over the last few weeks a couple of large ferns have been relocated and the Bottlebrush shrub has been given more room.

So thats my garden at the end of September.  To finish off I thought I would show you the front garden which I rarely feature on the blog, I know not why, but its just coming into its own with late summer perennials

The meme is open to anyone to join in with and you can use it how you wish – we would all love to see your garden, warts and all.  All I ask is that you post a link to your post in the comments box and a link to this post in your post, that gives us a chance to find each other.

Safely stored away

A bit of a panic today when I saw that temperatures might go down to 3C tonight and tomorrow night. 

Whilst I had started to move some of my tender plants under cover a few weeks ago the job was far from complete.  I had been putting it off partly due to the hefting of heavy pots but also because the greenhouse with a few pots tastefully arranged was looking very smart. 

So with fingers quickly beginning to chill I scooted round the garden between showers collecting up the assorted pots.  The pelargoniums were cut back and in some cases transferred to small pots to over winter.  The succulents were gathered and in at least one case potted up into a larger pots.  This left the bergonias and the tender ferns which had got ridiculously big over the summer and obviously benefited from some months in the heat.

As you can see my greenhouse is tiny just 8ft x 8ft but it works very hard. I have rearranged the staging over the summer, trying a different layout to see if the space works better.  Previously the staging ran along both sides – we shall see how I get on over the winter; but I cant change it quickly due to the amount of gravel in the gravel trays.  The deeper gravel trays have drainage in the bottom of them so when I water the top layer the bottom layer also gets a soak.  I take this into account when I arrange the plants so for now I have placed the pelargoniums and bergonias underneath so they benefit from the residual water from the ferns and bulbs.  The other staging is shallower and with no drainage holes so I use the bottom shelf for either resting bulbs or succulents which do better kept almost dry over the winter.

I will rearrange as the months progress especially as the bulbs flower and pass on but I seem to have managed to get a better arrangement this year which allows me to stand in the greenhouse and see everything which is an improvement on last year.

There’s just the rest of the garden to sort out now, oh and a large box of bulbs to sort.

End of Month View – September 2016

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Seriously how is it October? I’m sure it’s only midway through September! But at least I have kinda remembered this month to do the End of Month View, albeit a day late.  I forgot all together last month – sorry.

Anyway, Hugh’s Border isn’t doing too bad considering the general neglect of the garden for some months now.  Things are getting back on an even keel and changes are afoot.  I’m always happier in the garden when I can relocate plants – poor plants.  Because my new neighbours have cleared the boundary line there is now a wealth of sunlight streaming in from the south which means the lighting in the garden has changed giving me new opportunities.

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The shady areas have significantly decreased which is good as it means I have more areas where I can plant more sun-loving plants and most plants that do well in shade don’t mind a bit more sun.  It does mean that the Big Border which was always sunny is now much more sunny and some plants have struggled this year as it is has been too dry for them.  The Big Border has good drainage so I am going to use it for my hardy Mediterranean and Southern Hemisphere plants and bulbs which are one of my plant weaknesses.  I am slowly but surely relocating the more traditional border inhabitants such as the peonies and roses from the Big Border into the surrounding borders where they should benefit from the improved light but with more moisture retentive soil. If you peer closely at the photo above you will see the rusty metal obelisk which was in the Big Border and hosts a rose and clematis.  They have all been moved to Hugh’s Border and had a good dollop of horse manure to get them going.  I like the vertical accent that the obelisk gives this area.

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To be quite honest the improved lighting has, I think, made my gardening life easier.  I have really struggled over the years to get good seasonal interest in the shady parts of the garden.  I love foliage but it gets a little dull being the same, more or less, all year.  So for example in Hugh’s Border I will be adding some peonies, some more Japanese Anemones, and probably some Pacific Coast irises, as well as more bulbs for Spring.

I’ve a lot of relocations to do over the coming weeks so I am hoping for some dry weekends as my gardening time is really minimal these days.   And then there is the tidying up and the bulb planting to get on top of ….it is nice to feel enthused again.

 

End of Month View September 2015

September 2015
September 2015

Whilst the garden might not be as floriferous (there’s that word again) as some at the end of September I am pleased with the range of texture and colour from foliage at the start of Autumn.  The borders along the grass path are looking fuller and more established than a year ago

September 2014
September 2014

I have finally cracked the left hand corner at the beginning of the path which because of its sunny location is home to lots of different bulbs but which needed some form of substance to it.  Adding the Anemanthele lessoniana on either side of the path and again further down has pulled the planting together and I hope will allow me to indulge my planting whimsies whilst maintaining a sort of cohesive look.

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The workshop seems to really sit in the garden now as if it has always been there.  I can’t believe it took me nearly 3 years to work out what wood treatment to use and I am really pleased I didn’t rush in and follow my first instinct of black and orange.

September 2015
September 2015

September 2014
September 2014

The older woodland border is filling out and is looking much lusher than the same time last year.  I think the cooler summer has helped a lot. I’m not 100% happy with how this border looks, it needs some tweaking to bring it together better but it is definitely progressing.

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The newer end of the border has filled out really quickly since the additions earlier this year and I think this is due to the serious reduction of the willow canopy overhead.  It is surprising how much moisture as well as light the willow blocked out.  I was worried that the increase of light would affect the plants which had been chosen for their preference of shady conditions but they have thrived and done better than ever.  I suppose it makes sense as most ‘woodland’ or ‘shade loving’ plants tend to live on the edges of woodlands rather than completely under the tree canopy.

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I am pleased I moved the Paulownia to the former bog garden.  Its height has lifted this area which was looking a bit flat.  I have a lot of ferns here and I just needed some contrast of leaf shape and as I say some height.  I don’t think I am going to pollard the Paulownia as some do.  I know this would give me huge leaves which I do love but I fancy a more tree like shape.  I do think I will cut the branches back each year to see if I can increase the size of the leaves a bit.

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Finally the gravel steps up the garden – one of the favourite views of my garden and place to sit.  The border to the left of the steps is the continuation of the area I plant lots of bulbs in because it is sunny and fairly well drained.  This is where lots of my treasures live and it is nice to sit on the step with a cuppa and look at the garden through the plants.

The End of Month View meme has been running for a few years now and any one is welcome to join in and use it as they wish.  There are no real rules but all I ask is that you link back to this post in yours and leave a link to your post in the comment box below so we can find your post.

My Garden This Weekend – 27/9/15

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What a glorious autumnal weekend it has been.  I do love this time of year and I always find myself feeling like it’s the start of the year not winding down to the end.  This is the time of year when gardeners are planning for spring; planting bulbs, thinking about seeds to show so we are already planning for next year – it’s all rather positive in my opinion.

Anemone hupehensis 'Lady Emily'
Anemone hupehensis ‘Lady Emily’

Talking of planting bulbs in my bid to learn to love my front garden I decided to buy one of those large bags of big daffodil bulbs you can buy from DIY stores and plant them out in the front border.  Whilst I prefer the smaller narcissus I generally see the front garden from the house and so I think that the large daffodils will make more of an impression.  Half way through planting out the bag my trowel snapped in half!  I don’t know how long I have had it, probably at least 8 years and it has worked very hard but it is no more.  The only alternative I would find was one of those thick plastic trowels that was given away with a magazine.  It did the job eventually but it was hard work, a bit like trying to cut paper with the child safe scissors.  Anyway, a new trowel has been ordered.

Nerine bowdenii about to open
Nerine bowdenii about to open

The rest of yesterday was spent pottering around the garden.  Planting things out for next year such as some Sweet Rocket, potting up bulbs, moving succulents under cover and weeding.  It was nice to be so leisurely especially as I was home alone so no one was expecting meals at certain times.

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Today I spent a happy day at the Alpine Garden Society Bulb Day.  I hope this becomes an annual event as it was so nice to hear experts talk about specific species such as crocus, colchicums and nerines and also to get the chance to buy bulbs from suppliers including Pottertons and Jacques Armand.  I came home with a lot of brown bags full of treasures from a huge Hippeastrum bulb to tiny allium bulbs – talk about David and Goliath.

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Oh and I also bought Christine Skelmersdale book on Bulbs which will be interesting reading over the winter.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – September 2015

Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy'
Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’

I nearly forgot all about Garden Bloggers Bloom Day but here I am a day late.  My first offering is the elegant Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.  I acquired this a year ago from a local plant sale and it seems to be one of those plants that has been doing the rounds in our local HPS group.  I love the two-tone flowers along with the grey toned leaves.  It’s also easy from cuttings.

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The Asters have started to flower.  Most of my asters have smallish flower except for the one above which is one of the larger flowered varieties, but I have no idea which as the label is long-lost, although I know it’s not Monch as I have never bought that one.

Dollingeria umbellata
Dollingeria umbellata

As you may know Asters have been through a serious review of their names over recent years, with the changes being adopted a few years back in the US and coming into force in the UK this year.  Above is what I purchased as Aster umbellata but is not Dollingeria umbellata – that will take some time to remember.

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I’m not sure of the name of this one either so I will have to ask Helen Picton at Old Court Nursery.

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The Japanese Anemones have started to flower which is good news.  I have had the one above for years and it has been divided, moved, composted over and over again.  The plant above is in the front garden and has taken a few years to start flowering but now it is it is adding some brightness to a shady corner.

Japanese Anemone 'Prinz Heinrich'
Japanese Anemone ‘Prinz Heinrich’

I am pleased to see Prinz Heinrich flowering; it along with two other pink varieties were added to the Cottage/Rose Border last year.  Lady Emily is in bud but Queen Charlotte is looking a little weedy.  Hopefully next year they will be better established and flower strongly.

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Flowering delights in the pots include this yellow auricula.  Grown from seed probably 3 years ago its flower surprised me when I was tidying up at the weekend.

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And I must share my Kangaroo Paw with you as I am very proud of it having grown the plant from seed probably 4 years ago.  It will have to go back under cover soon to protect it for the winter.

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Another home grown plant – this time a hardy fuschia grown from a cutting last year acquired from a HPS friend.  I do know the variety but it has got too dark for me to go and peer at the label so I will leave you wondering.

 

Kirengshoma palmata
Kirengshoma palmata

Finally my beloved Kirengshoma palmata which I included in my Vase on Monday post – I can report they don’t in my limited experience do very well as a cut flower.

For more GBBD posts visit Carol over at May Dreams and check out the links in the comments box.

My Garden This Weekend – 6th September 2015

Bomarea salsilla
Bomarea salsilla

With assisting my youngest and his girlfriend move into their new home and attending a fireworks championships at nearby Eastnor Castle yesterday evening, time in the garden has been a little restricted this weekend.  But with a late season sun, hinting at the possibility of an Indian Summer, it was lovely to find a couple of hours today to spend outside.

There is so much to do especially because the recent cool and damp weather has encouraged both ornamentals and weeds to put on significant growth.  In addition I have the ‘pressure’ of a visit from esteemed blogger Cathy of Rambling in the Garden tomorrow evening on her, and her husband’s, trip to the area.  I did, albeit it briefly, panic about the work that needed doing but then I told myself that Cathy is a regular gardener like me and knowing I have a demanding job she will understand and appreciate the odd weed or three.  So instead of running around looking for weeds, tweaking and tidying I picked a border and had a leisurely couple of hours weeding and planting.

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The first Colchicums are flowering and for a change this year I have managed to spot them before the slugs do and protect them with a small application of slug pellets.  I like colchicums, I know many gardeners are bothered by the leaves which follow the flowers, seeing them as large and ugly but I beg to differ. If you think about the location you choose for your colchicums and when the leaves will appear, spring and early summer, you can plan your planting so that the leaves fill a seasonal gap left by other plants.  For example they would work well with hellebores and I think Beth Chatto argues they work well with vinca. I like them so much that today I planted out three additional varieties which were lurking on the patio having been bought on impulse last year. In went: Colchicum davissi, Colchicum byzantinum and Colchicum Nancy Lindsay, named after the daughter the inspiring Norah Lindsay, an early 20th century gardener and designer, who should be known better.

Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'
Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’

I am really pleased with the zinnias this year.  I think I have finally cracked growing them but I think the two varieties I have grown this year are particularly good.  Both varieties are from Chiltern Seeds and I have decided that I will definitely be buying the same seeds again next year despite my decision to really restrict annuals next year.  The only additions will be Rudbeckia and Cosmos.

Zinnia elegans 'Benarys Giant Scarlet'
Zinnia elegans ‘Benarys Giant Scarlet’

The other plant that is fascinating me at the moment is the Bomarea salsilla in the top photograph.  I bought it back in June at the plant sale at Stocktonbury and it has been in flower since.  However, there are only 3 flowers as it seems that the plant produces one flower cluster at the end of each shoot.  It is a member of the Alstroemeria family and is a climber which apparently will reach heights of 3.6m.  I have to decide where its eventual home will be, at the moment it is growing up a temporary cane tripod in the Big Border.  I have planted a tall dark leaved aster behind it which seems to be showing the beautiful flame red flowers off well.

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I am really fascinated with the seed heads of the Bomarea salsilla. The capsules are slowly getting larger and bigger and I am hoping that they will ripen so I can try to grow some more from seed.

Hopefully we will have some more warm days and evenings so I can do a little catching up on weeding and planting out.

End of Month View – September 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – September 2014

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Looking back to last September’s GBBD post I seem to be showing the same plants with one of two additions.  I don’t have many Asters to show as they haven’t quite opened their blooms yet and with the grey days we have had recently I think they may take a few more days yet. One of the new additions is Crocosmia Emily MacKenzie which I have tried to grow before and lost so fingers crossed this time.  I really like the flared flowers with the darker markings inside.

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September wouldn’t be September without me showing you Kirengeshoma palmata which is the star of my garden at this time of year.  As I have said probably too many time before the flowers remind me of butter curls.

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An unknown Rudbeckia continues to glow in the border.  This is self-seeded from who knows where although my suspicion is that the birds may have had something to do with it.

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Although I find the Aster umbellatus difficult to photograph due to the small flowers I do think it is a very underrated plant.  It adds good height to the border without needing staking even in my garden and the insects seem to love it.

 

2014_09140031logoThe Dahlias are all still flowering well and have done much better in individual pots this year than in the border.  I have only included the one above, Classic Rosamund, as the others have all appeared on the blog in the last month or so.  Classic Rosamund has only recently opened and I really like the composition of the flower which in my opinion is more interesting than the popular simple Bishop flowers but not as over the top as the cactus flowers.

2014_09140009logoI do like white Japanese Anemones although I must be in a minority as they don’t seem to appear very often in gardens or the media.  I know they have a habit of running but I like the purity of the colour and the way they can really light up a dark corner.

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Finally one of my new Japanese Anemones, Queen Charlotte. I bought three for the Cottage Border: Lady Emily, Prince Heinrich and Queen Charlotte.  I have planted them in order of seniority along the border so I can remember which is which with Lady Emily closest to the steps – so far it seems to be working but who knows if I will remember this time next year!

Those are my floral highlights for September 2014.  For more floral highlights visit Carol over at May Dream Gardens who has hosted this monthly meme for more years than I, and no doubt she, care to remember

 

End of Month View – September 2013

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.