New garden, new borders, new optimism

In starting this blog site I wanted to record the progress being made on renovating the old borders and bringing the veg patch back into production.  As always I was over optimistic.  Three new borders were started before the blog came into being and tracking back to find all the photos and then producing the accompanying words has been a stop start process.  Now work has started on a fourth border so reports on those other borders and the veg patch will have to wait a while longer. It is time to sketch out the work for the latest project before I lose track of what is going on.

Here’s the border before work started.  It was a narrow strip running in front of a hedge of bay, viburnum and elaeagnus.  It is planted with geraniums and phlox which are all jostling for space and light under the hedging.  Something needed to be done but I’m the sort of gardener that never manages to lay down a paper plan.  The thought process was: this border needs to be wider, I saw a lovely rose at a garden I visited, I have a large pot that would look good there and those other plants can be brought forward to give them some space.  Oh and tulips are needed.  That’s a plan.  Let’s go!

The first stage has been completed.  The grass has been turned in on itself and will miraculously turn into loam.  I know, optimism.  It will soon be buried with a mixture of topsoil and mulch which will prevent regrowth and suppress weeds.  Even more optimism.  These ideas have been taken from the ‘no dig’ principles advocated by Charles Dowding.  I hope they will work.  There is a deadline for the work to be completed as the new rose and the tulips need to be planted during November.  Next post coming soon then!

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Six on Saturday

There have been some warm autumn days in the last week and much talk about flowers that are still in bloom or putting on a second show.  My first is one of those.

One

Choysia ternata.  RHS advises that this often flowers fitfully into winter.  I’d say it was putting on a very strong show.  It is in north facing border at the end that catches a sliver of late afternoon sun from the west.  Its white flowers are lifting the autumn gloom.

Two

Iris foetidissima.  The seed pods are really popping and every now and then I help them along a little.  I am hoping I will be able to develop a colony of these under the rhododendron but having looked into their propagation it seems it may take a year or so.  I have taken a few berries to plant in pots and will see just how long it takes.  Of course the easier route would be to divide them now or in the spring.

Three

The persimmon tree is shedding its leaves quite rapidly now but the fruit are hanging on as they are supposed to.  Advice is to pick the fruit in late October and let it ripen on a sunny windowsill, so any day now I will be putting the advice into action.

Four

Borlotti beans.  I grew about three plants this year.  The site is against the fence, west facing but in reality very shaded until the late afternoon.  It took  a while for the flowers to appear and eventually bean pods followed.  Its only a small crop but they will be enjoyed.  I miss my full sun allotment plot but I on the positive side I am not getting so many gluts.

Five

The lemon tree with its one ripe lemon was moved into the greenhouse a week or two ago and this week I was pleased to see several of the new lemon fruits had grown in size.  This is my first year of growing lemons and the first year of putting the tree in the greenhouse.  I don’t know how low the temperature gets in the greenhouse over winter so this is going to be a learning curve.

Six

I do like finishing with a rose.  This week it is a beautiful spray from R.Natasha Richardson.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

Six on Saturday

Thanks so much to everyone who gave me advice on the Euphorbia.  The RHS thought it might be poorly because of root rot due to wetness and also suggested, as others mentioned, cutting back the sad stems when the new growth comes through in spring which might persuade it to regenerate.  I think it might have picked up a little in the past week so I am going to remain optimistic.  Here’s my six for this week.

One

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum.  These were making such a good show on a visit to Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire in June that I bought some for myself.  They have established well and this pink flower shone out on a gloomy day this week.  Don’t know why it’s also known as Bloody Cranesbill, seems quite inoffensive to me.

Two

Some small scale seed sowing and propagation has taken place.  I finally potted on some of the Nigella damascena seeds which were collected from plants growing at the allotment.  I also collected some sweet pea seeds from the summer flowering.  They have just germinated.  It was a spur of the moment thing as I unentwined them from their supports.  I put them in a pot and hoped.  So far so good. Next in the row are the penstemon cuttings taken in August.  I took four, four rooted and so far four are growing on.  One was a little thin on the root growth but it seems to be making progress.  I should have taken more cuttings as an insurance policy.

Three

This aster is eye popping in the border where the colour is actually a little more subtle than this photo shows.  It’s another purchase from the Finchley Horticultural Society plant sale.  Who needs Chelsea? The cosmos is still flowering but in preparation for storm Ophelia I did cut back some of the larger stems for flowers for the house.

Four 

Some autumnal mushrooms have arrived in the garden.  Plants for free, yes.  But I’m not sure about food for free.  I don’t know anything about mushrooms so I will leave them where they are.  Something seems to be enjoying them, I suspect squirrels but could it be the birds?

Five 

Some golden leaves from the fig tree.  The colours are turning and the leaves falling but these figs aren’t going to ripen in this garden.

Six

My last one for the week is this climbing rose, Blush Noisette.  Beautiful soft pink flowers and hopefully many more to come.  It is growing up a south facing wall and it will be interesting to see how long this micro climate will help keep it flowering.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

 

 

Six on Saturday

There’s some tidying up of the garden to be done.  Deadheading still, fallen leaves to  be collected, mulching and planting bulbs but close up there are some gems to be found.  Here’s my six for this week.

One

Schizostylis or, and much easier to say, Kaffir Lilly.  This came in a pot of something else when we moved house.  I  love the strong pink colour at the end of the season so I’m glad it stowed away and I’m hoping that it will settle into its new spot and send up more flowering spikes over time.

Two

R.Scepter’d Isle.   No apologies for showing this one again.  Mid October, still flowering and sending out new buds.  It seems happy in my demi paradise.

Three

But not everything in the garden is thriving.  One of the four euphorbia characias wulfenii that I planted to give structure to the border is failing dramatically.  The plants around it seem unaffected.  Possibly too wet in this particular spot?   The other three are still looking good.  Has anyone else experienced this?

Four 

Here’s an update on the persimmon tree.  The leaves are turning and amongst the beautiful copper reds the fruit is also changing colour.  There may be a chance that I will have some ripe fruit yet.

Five 

Geranium Brookside against a healthy euphorbia.  This was a new geranium to me and I love the way it sprawls around the roses and euphorbias.  The flower shines out and the leaves are beautifully cut. The plants have spread out much faster at the sunnier end of the border and so the two languishing at the shady end will have to be moved on.  Right plant, wrong place.

Six

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think I am introducing Arum Italicum.  It’s an inherited plant.  It grows in a north facing border in a very shady spot.  Its bright orange seed berries have died back and the white veining of the leaves is particularly eye catching at this time of the year.  A good autumnal photo to end on.

I hope you are still finding good things in your gardens and let’s hope the less successful ones aren’t harbouring something nasty.

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession

 

 

Six on Saturday

Oh Lordy. Late again.  But here are my six

One

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Jobs to be done.  My evergreen aganpanthuses were divided and repotted in spring.  They responded brilliantly, sending up multiple spires that burst into fireworks of blue in August.  This one in a long tom didn’t get treated so well and recently popped its pot in revenge.  I am going to repot this week.  Honest.  I promise.

Two

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The greenhouse. Dark and gloomy.  The last tomatoes have gone to the compost heap. Now the greenhouse needs a wash down, the moss scraped out of the frames and a bit of a weed.  I need to make room for Continue reading