End of Month – September 2013

Another month has passed, this time I’m uncertain how I feel about its passing… Excited for the festivities ahead, yet saddened that I’m no longer on holiday and am in the middle of a rough stretch at work that makes me lament about no longer being on holiday.

Well, how is the garden doing? OK actually. Some trees are turning on my way home from work but most are still looking good, however I’ve been out around the city today and in other areas there is a marked increase in autumnal hues!
The main indicator in my garden so far are the Astrantia, which btw, do not die well.

At. All.

Although, the autumn sun backlighting them does look really rather pretty!

Also, the Asters are really late this year? What’s going on??! By the time they’re blooming it’ll soon be too cold/dark/wet. Normally my large unknown pink/purple ones bloom when the butterflies are still around and they’re brilliant magnets for our fluttering friends. This year mine have only just begun to bloom and not a flutter in sight. I had hoped, as it’s been much warmer over the past few days that perhaps some would come out, alas. Nada.

It feels really strange not having any bulbs to plant this year… I’m tempted to get some bulbs to force indoors, but otherwise I’m not adding any to the garden. I think this has caused me to become a little estranged from the garden as the grass is damp so I can’t sit on it anymore – morning dew, not due to rain as we’ve had no real rain for the past couple of weeks. I was able to mow the lawn during the week and hope it’s the last time I have to do it this year. The only other job I’ve had to do so far is partially chop back the buddlejas, nothing else yet needs tidying.

Admittedly there aren’t many blooms, but some none-the-less. Most are at the very top of the plant, which is well above my head so I often miss them when around the garden and only really notice them when I’m in the house looking out.

Past its peak, although still offering some colour/interest is the Aster border, really I ought to change its name because I only have the one Aster. It will be quite a task to chop back the Persicaria this year and if memory serves me; it does not die well. I’ve tried on various occasions to catch the airy blooms of Pheasant’s tail grass, here you can just make out the cloud of purple stems; I feel I should move the grass into a better position where I can enjoy it more.

I think I would quite like to have more Sedum around the garden.

Knautia has never really done well here; probably because of where I planted it, but oddly enough Jacobs’ ladder can be seen blooming to its left…

Leaves on the Black Elder are showing the first signs of turning and actually I think they look rather pretty! My other type is mostly hidden by various plants at the moment so I forget to look at its leaves.

As you can see, the right border needs some tidying. The Willowherb, Sweet rocket and Yarrow ought to be cleared so not to detract from the remaining green… although soon it’ll all be brown so is there much point?

I’m disappointed with the climbers on the upper tier; Gertrude Jekyll hasn’t bloomed again and the Clematis’ haven’t bloomed at all. None of them. ‘Sweet sensation’ and ‘Etoile Violette’ has put on a lot of growth but no blooms and it’s obviously too late now. Meanwhile ‘Willy’ that blooms in spring but will often bloom later in the year, has also snubbed me. I’m not too surprised about willy tbh, but the others really should have bloomed, I gave them plenty of compost earlier in the year and kept them well watered in the dry spell.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that Astrantia and Echinops definitely DO NOT die well.


A few weeks ago I spied heather blooming in the front garden; I’m pleased to see them back for another year. Those rubbish little heathers I bought reduced to only £1, expected them to survive for only a few weeks at the most to provide a little colour in the newly planted window border have in fact survived their third season. Yes they look out of place, and aren’t the most exciting, but a small splash of pink and white is welcome right now.
Pots by the front door still look good, Coreopsis is beginning to die and the Salvia ‘hot lips’ is slowing down but I’m quite happy with them still for now.

To the right is one of the Asters still yet to bloom. I have a feeling it won’t. It’s so late on now, and although I can see buds on it I’m not too hopeful. The white to the left is barely blooming too but has plenty of blooms… I’m waiting for the profusion I had last year… hrm. At least the Erysimums have begun to bloom again (Can only see one in the background and another in the bottom right, but there are more). With any luck ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ will bloom soon as she has buds ready; an unknown white rose is blooming just out of shot to the right as well as two other pink roses, so there is other colour.

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


19 thoughts on “End of Month – September 2013

  1. Sorry work is no fun right now. Yes, my astrantia gets all splotchy and ugly as the leaves die, too. Though I had that going on all summer because I cut some clumps up and transplanted them right before it got hot. Poor things. My elderberries don’t have any berries, I think – will have to check. Next year maybe they’ll get pollenated and have pretty berries like yours.

    • Hi VW,

      Does anyone ever enjoy work? I’m not sure it’s even possible! lol. Perhaps it’s time to move on again.

      The Black elders don’t seem to be as robust/have many berries but that may be simply because they’re still small… We’ll see. but both have taken a fair while to reach even a reasonable size compared to the normal Elder taking over the hedges around us that has taken only a couple of years to reach 10 foot or higher.

  2. How strange about the asters blooming so late – and bummer with the clematis not blooming at all. I had loads of problems with clematis dying on me in my previous garden, here I have very little fence tall enough to take the thuggish ones I tend to prefer, so I am holding fire. I relate to the disconnect that comes from not planting bulbs, I think it has to do with the way it is an act of faith and commitment to the following growing season, but when you are not sure how long you will be somewhere, that gets tricky. Sorry work is no fun, hope it changes soon, perhaps when the asters surprise you by suddenly springing in to bloom?

    • Hi Janet,

      I wouldn’t worry too much about thuggish Clematis’, they do after all take a while to get to that stage and as long as you have length I think you’ll be OK. I have ‘Marjorie’ which did bloom this year and she likes to get huge too and so far I’ve had her I think three or four seasons and she’s no where near the 10m or so that she *should* reach.

      Fingers crossed all my bulbs haven’t died/die over winter… I can see myself running out to buy them in pots for my bulb fix! As much as I hate planting hundreds of bulbs each autumn, I just can’t seem to not do it.
      I do hope the Asters bloom soon, but I’m thinking they’re just going to end up dying instead. Let’s hope cold weather holds off for another month or so.

  3. You have got such mixed feelings about your garden just now Liz and yet there is a lot still going on. Strange about your clematis not flowering, especially when you feel you have nurtured them. It’s good to see the roses still around and know that you may still be getting odd blooms for weeks yet. I chopped my astrantia back earlier and some, particularly the white ones, have produced new flowers and are still looking good, but I am waiting to see what happens to my Persicaria Red ‘Dragon’ as I honestly can’t remember if it needs to be chopped down for the winter. Hope you soon feel a bit more enthusiastic about work! 😉

    • Hi Cathy,

      I also cut the Astrantia back, sometimes they bloom again but not this year sadly. Perhaps next year I’ll also remove some of the leaves and see if it keeps them tidy for longer. A bit like geraniums really; take that leap of faith to cut them back and they’ll soon reward you with fresh leaves.

      • Shame you didn’t get a second flush of astrantias – and it was only my white ones. They always seem more vigorous than the reds and pinks – in my garden, anyway. I shall certainly keep trimming them all anyway.

  4. Great review and perfect pictures as usual Liz!
    Asters are just coming into flower here so we are just a bit behinds you. I’m confident they will flower as the often wait until October. I smiled at your comments re plants not looking good when they die. Do you cut back your Astrantia when they finish flowering? The look horrid for about a week then look much better. All mine have flowered again and the new growth is lush and green. By the time they come round to dying back, everything else will look just as bad!!
    I hope your work doesn’t get you down for too long.

    • Hi Angie,

      Yep I do cut the Astrantia back, although not its leaves so in future I’ll try that approach too. I tend to cut off its blooms as they begin to fade as they look nice in vases even when dried/dead.

      Hopefully this weekend will be nicer and I’ll be able to tidy the garden a little bit, and perhaps buy a new hanging basket for the front door to perk things up a little because the current basket is looking rather tired.

      I don’t think things at work are likely to improve any time soon. We’re over worked, underpaid – who isn’t?? – and to top it all off the government seem to think we can all cut millions even though more people are coming into the system, and often with more complex needs/packages. On the slightly brighter side, looks like construction is on the increase and therefore planning jobs are coming up so maybe I’ll finally get where I want to be (short of moving to London that is).

  5. Hi Liz,

    It has been a very strange year for gardeners. The clematis in my garden have failed to bloom, why I really do not know. My Asters are in full bloom, normally they have finished by Mid September. I could go on and on.
    Obviously the very cold Spring has played a part in all this………………..

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Sorry to hear your Clematis’ didn’t bloom either; although I am glad I’m not the only one. Although these two aren’t very mature – only planted last year – they really should’ve bloomed. Ettoile has previously as I’ve had it in a pot for a few years.

      I’ve a number of smaller Asters, that still aren’t blooming, and I had another in a pot waiting until it was wetter, it was starting to bloom and then suddenly died! However, I am pleased the flat-topped Aster is still blooming as normally it finishes mid September.

      Apparently we’re in for a similar winter again this year, mild but then cold late on into early spring… We’ll see. The Ladybird numbers were decimated here. I guess one good outcome was also the lack of Harlequins. I saw my one and only 7 spot in either August or September. Horrific.

  6. Your gardens are beautiful. Absolutely love the sedum. Every time I see those blooms I long to have them in my own gardens… and then I forget to plant them in the Spring. I must write that down in my garden book so I remember… wonder were I put the book. Keep your chin up about work… things are bound to get better.

  7. Work always goes through phases of good, bearable, bad and grim, so you’ll be back to good (or at least bearable) before long hopefully! Or, failing that, a new job?
    Everything has been late happening in the gardens this year – I’ve still got roses blooming. Very odd! Your photos are loeley – as ever 🙂

    • Hi Liz,

      Nice to see you around 😉

      Yes, indeed work does have its highs and lows and perhaps it’s time for me to move on. Hopefully planning is looking up now and I might finally get the opportunity to apply for something. It won’t be in Sheffield council though, and is most likely to be a smaller local authority…

      Anyway, I have roses blooming too – had a vase in the kitchen with various blooms for the last week or two. Actually I often have them until snow arrives in December/January. There’s a white one in particular that always seems to put out a bloom here and there.

  8. Our very last asters are only just starting to flower this week – and one, a small species aster that I have yet to see bloom, seems to have been arrested mid-development for months now, with one or two buds that remain firmly closed. We do have lots of butterflies at the minute though, on our unknown white aster, Monch, Little Carlow and the sedums. Perhaps you could plant up a pot or two of spring bulbs to take with you?

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