Six On Saturday: last hurrahs from the garden

Where does the time go, or is it that my energy levels are declining with the decreasing hours of sunshine? Wednesday was a complete wash out, a deluge of rain that lasted all day. But I was determined to get some bulbs in the ground this week and Thursday saw the camassias go in. I may be pushing the boundaries for their growing conditions, liking moist conditions is one thing but I think my chosen spot for this batch may be erring on the wetter side. Time will tell. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

I struggle to get nasturtium seeds to germinate – can you believe that? But one year I did get a couple going, they languished in their growing spot so much so that I uprooted them and put them at the back of the garden along the edge of my failing asparagus bed. Here, left completely to their own devices, they have begun to take hold and are flowers have been forthcoming. A rather nice treat for this time of year and for the mainly shady conditions that now represent home.

Two

There are still flowers in the garden, dahlias, cosmos and zinnias clinging on but this week I was very aware of the foliage beginning to change. The persimmon tree is going from green to reds and will eventually become golden yellow as the leaves fall, leaving the fruit behind to ripen.

Three

The fig tree leaves are already heading to yellow and the numerous fruits will not ripen. What a job that is, taking them all off. It is a large tree and those much above head height never get removed.

Four

There are one or two flowers on the bergenias but this striking red leaf against the green was the attention grabber.

Five

The pulmonaria are enjoying the wet conditions, looking fresh and zingy this week. Such a contrast to their withered summer look. I didn’t think they would survive but they really are tough plants.

Six

Saving some flowers for last, helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ is still giving. What a trooper.

I have the borders to selectively clear, mulching to be organised, tulips and alliums to plant. A few more dry days would be helpful. And a little sunshine would be a bonus. Just hoping. The Prop will be a source of inspiration – so join me in taking a look at this week’s SOS from his garden. There will be much to enjoy from other gardens too.

Six On Saturday: Apples, plums, flowers and bees

It’s been harvest time this week. So without further ado I give you this week’s six.

One

All the apples from all the trees are picked in one go and are taken to an juicing farm.  This year’s crop seemed to be less than last year and when the juice was collected it was proved to be so.  Thirty five bottles against fifty one last year.  There has been some significant pruning undertaken for one of the trees to get it back into shape and this was where we noticed less apples.  Perhaps next year it will be back to bearing a higher crop.  

Two

As we had the apple picker out we decided to go for the plum tree too.  All the plums were gathered in and the fruit was halved and stoned before freezing.  I have never had much success with plum jam so the plan is make endless plum and frangipane tarts. 

Three

Cutting back the perennials promptly does pay dividends, the delphiniums have rewarded me with a second flowering.  

Four

Helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ is a good height for the front of the border and flowers well.  I have dead heading to catch up with which will keep it going. 

Five

The rain and occasional sun seem to be powering the garden on.  Last week’s flattened cosmos were hauled upright and staked to within an inch of their lives.  This revealed them to be nearly five feet high.  Impressive going when I think back to those tiny seedlings that appeared in spring. 

Six

Finally the bee, on a separate planting of cosmos.  The bees seem to be on a resurgence in the garden.  They float from these cosmos plants across the path to the agastache in great numbers.  Always fascinating to watch.

But I have much to do.  The hollyhocks are ready to be cut down and the roses need another round of deadheading.  I also have plans to move plants and the bulbs have started to arrive.  The ideas for next year are gently bubbling away.  

Mr P sets a good example as always, managing to file a SOS post whilst on holiday.  He has spotted nerines which sadly reminds me of the bagful of bulbs that I bought last year which I fear will come to nothing.  I have a few leaves poking up from some I put in a container but those in the ground seem to have failed. Hey ho! 

Six On Saturday: Clinging on to Summer

Last week had a very autumnal feel. Cooler temperatures, windy and wet but I did have the time to spend in the garden and it was not a pretty sight. The sweet peas have mildew, the knautia gone to seed and everything looks a little bedraggled. My first of the six for this week is a sorry sight but it gets better.

One

The apples are ripening but one tree in particular has a bad case of brown rot. I must have lost at least half the crop so far and apparently there is nothing to be done about it.  I pick up all the windfalls and remove any of the affected apples from the tree and throw them away.  So far the other apple trees do not seem to be affected and some of the younger trees are now producing a good crop which will compensate for the lower yields on this tree.

Two

I am still adding to the August garden to keep the colour going.  My local garden centre tempted me back in with a timely money off voucher which made the helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ more attractively priced.  After that I headed for a local nursery that offers plants at a much more reasonable price and paired the helenium with perovskia ‘Blue Steel’.  This is a smaller, more compact variety, chosen for my thin border.  I managed to get these planted out into  a very dry garden before the rain set in.

Three

The bees were flocking to the helenium and perovskia before they were even in the ground.  This echinops has a similar pulling power.  For this reason alone it has remained in the garden but it is in danger of going in the great rethink that is on the horizon.  Some things need moving around and some may have to go.  Such is gardening.

Four

I inherited a large collection of water butts from the previous owner and they have been invaluable in helping to keep the garden watered but there is the eternal problem of mosquitoes and after suffering a number of bites (also not a pretty sight) I decided I would try adding olive oil.  This is the most popular suggestion that comes up on an internet search, the second most popular is keeping goldfish in the water butt. It’s interesting how the same ideas come up in different places. I am trying it out in one water butt.  Will I be able to live with oily watering cans?  Has any one else tried it?

Five

The coneflowers took a bashing from the wind and the rain, more staking required if that is going to be the pattern for summer. They have been in the garden for two years now and are clumping up well.  They are a good bridge from the end of summer into autumn.

Six

I have some  new agapanthuses this year: ‘Navy Blue’.  In their first year in the garden they have managed to produce one stem per plant, more patience required before the full affect can be enjoyed.  I have to be good at remembering to feed them up before they flower. They are giving me a summer feeling for a little longer.

For more end of summer flowers call in at The Propagator’s garden.  Our host of the SOS meme shares the links to other SOSs in the comments section.