October has been a kind month to this gardener. We have had generally dry weekends with milder temperatures than normal allowing me to spend some quality time in the garden. My efforts have been small but widespread and really have been little more than planting out bulbs and some perennials. I have spent as much time looking, peering and pondering.
As you can see the Field Maple, I think that is what the tree is, is dropping its leaves. There were nearly as many a week ago and the tree has still more to drop. I love autumn leaves; they always take me back to my childhood and jumping into large piles of beech leaves in my parents’ garden. But I can’t leave these leaves as they make the steps too hazardous. I also don’t agree with the whole slow gardening approach which argues that you should leave the leaves in borders etc to rot down and feed the soil just as happens in nature. This does not take into account that we, well I, garden my garden more intensively than happens in nature and the decaying leaves act as an overwinter home for all sorts of slugs and pests. It always amuses me that those who extol the virtues of slow gardening loudest are also the ones who complain most about slugs!
The milder temperatures mean that a lot of deciduous plants are still looking very green and even attempting a second flush of flowers. Many of my roses have more buds on them than they did in early summer although I think it is unlikely that many will actually open. I have started to cut back and tidy the Big Border. I generally work through the borders on a regular basis cutting back any plants that are going over and once I have an area that is pretty tidy I give it a good mulch of home-made compost. Due to the number of bulbs in the garden this is probably the best chance I will get in the year to mulch as come early spring there will be too many bulbs pushing through the ground to work round.
The top of the woodland border has really come on this year. Most of this area was dominated by an Acer which sadly died just over a year ago. There are quite a few shrubs here now but they are all still quite young and will take a while to bulk up so I have been planting the rest of the border up with other woodland favourites including epimediums, hellebores and honesty. I am hoping that next spring it will look very pretty. I will also get to see whether I had relocated some snowdrops here or not!
The bottom half of the woodland border is more established having been planted some 3 or 4 years ago. I am pleased with the foliage textures but it needs a bit of tweaking; I’m not sure what exactly but something. I will have to look back over this year’s photographs to try to identify why my instinct is telling me this area needs some attention.
And finally the grass path which has survived my ponderings of removing it and is now enjoying the unusual prospect of being a fixed element of the garden. Over the last few months I have added a number of grasses to the garden particularly either side of this path and they have brought some sort of cohesion to the planting as well as providing movement and airiness. I need to work on the border to the right of the path. The planting between the grass in the right hand corner and the small prunus is distinctly lacking. In the spring it is full of hellebores and other spring delights, followed by hostas and I would like to add something to bring interest to overlap with the end of the hostas. Something to ponder over the winter.
So that is my garden at the end of October. If you would like to join in the with the End of Month View please do, the more the merrier. You can use the meme in any way you wish. I tend to take photographs of the same views during the year, others like to do a tour of their garden, or use the meme to follow a project. Whatever approach you take all I ask is that you link back to this blog in your post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below. It will help us find each other and pop by for a look-see at what is happening in your garden.