I am sure my September garden last year was much more colourful, but this year most things have ‘gone over’ as they say in garden jargon. It is going to be a tough week next week as I have builders in to replace the polycarbonate roof on my conservatory with something more substantial. And watertight, it is hoped. I am worried that some of my plants may get trampled on or knocked about so this weekend I shall be busy moving pots into areas which ought to be a bit safer for them.
Once the new roof is on I can start to plan what to put into the new
conservatory orangery. I have my eye on a couple of citrus plants and possibly some palms and ginger lilies.
Meantime let’s have a last look around at the September borders.
- ‘Woodland border’. This is not a colourful border except in spring when bulbs and hardy geraniums begin to flower in succession. I could try to plant some late flowering species or I could just accept that this border is at its best in springtime. At the moment the ferns are still green and there is a Virginia creeper climbing in the Goat Willow trees (left) which adds some autumnal colour. A Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’) is new this year, but currently in a pot. Under the Willow tree which technically is not in this border, but still a shade area are some newly planted cyclamen. I am hoping these will spread and eventually form a nice autumn clump.
- ‘Sunny Border / Gravel garden’ There is still some colour in this area of the garden, Penstemons are now flowering well after a very poor start in the summer when they appeared to flower and go to seed within days. I’m not so keen on the colour of these ones and have bought a darker ‘Raven‘ and a bluer ‘Sour Grapes‘ for the Bee and Butterfly bed. We’ll see how they get on next year. My new Osteospermums are doing OK. The purple ‘Tresco’ has produced several flowers this summer. The other two not so, but they are growing so fingers crossed. I have also bought a new red Lobelia as I love the purple one so much. And the Heleniums and Chocolate Cosmos are producing a few flowers to end off the season.Plus a self-seeded yellow Marigold which is so cheerful I haven’t the heart to remove it yet.
- ‘The Zen Patio’ is looking less colourful too despite the pots of Fuchsias and Coleus or should that be Solenostemon? I cannot get my head around all these new names I’m afraid. I thought these would be good in the shady courtyard, but since I bought them as very small plants they have been in the ‘nursery’ on the patio where they receive sun and shade and I can easily water them. The Fuchsias have done very well and flowered nicely and are already in larger pots. Next year they will be transplanted into proper glazed pots and moved to their permanent position. The Coleus however have been attacked by slugs and then caterpillars. The dark red ones have fared better. I will put them into the conservatory once it has been finished and see if they have more luck as a houseplant. And take some cuttings!!
- ‘the raised beds / vegetable garden’ is very untidy and needs a good rethink for next year. The trouble is that I keep changing my mind as to what to do with these two beds. They were intended for herbs and vegetables but the vegetable idea didn’t work so well. So this year one bed became my ‘white’ garden and I planted several white flowers such as Ammi, Cosmos and Scabious. Also some blue plants as a contrast – Eryngium and Echinops. They mostly grew too tall for this exposed bed. So over the winter I need to rethink what it is I want to do with both of them. The borage has to go as it has a tendency to overwhelm everything else in the bed. But I will grow sweetpeas again. Maybe not just white ones. I have realised that I prefer the darker colours. The nasturtiums just reappear every year and take over at this time.
but I love the ‘bird’s nests’ created by the dying heads of the Ammi visnaga or Bishop’s weed.
- ‘the wild garden’ is another area that I haven’t attended to this summer with the result that there are loads of weeds in the gravel, the nettles, bindweed and brambles have run wild along the wall and the only nice thing about it is a patch of self-seeded yellow and orange nasturtiums. And the Thornless Blackberries which have gone into several apple and blackberry crumbles already this September. Another area I must focus on next year.
- ‘The Courtyard’ Once again the Virginia creeper has had to be cut back as it obscures the windows on this north-facing side of the house. I haven’t done a lot else here either as my focus was on finishing the Gravel Garden. I did plant up a trough of begonias which have been very colourful throughout the summer and I repotted a Skimmia Japonica which has rewarded me by sending out some flower shoots. The barrels which contain tulips and which were going to be planted with Petunias or Impatiens never got planted at all! So they are nice and empty ready for some spring bulbs soon.
For my end of year report I think it has to be said that I “must do better!”
See here for the participant’s guide.