End of Month – August 2014

Oh how time flies, and although I’m beginning to get excited for Halloween, Bonfire night and the dreaded C word I’m also stuck in the mind-set of June or July.

The garden on the other hand has very different ideas and clearly believes it’s very much late summer and moving towards autumn. I’ll continue to deny this though. Ignorance really is bliss.

So, I have the internet back. Woo hoo. In a lovely, fast and easy installation on Saturday I get to forget what it was like for two weeks without any internet. Reminiscing that this is what it must’ve been before the ‘net arrived…
Not that I really remember those days, after all we got our first PC and the internet way back when I was around 12 or 13, so really I’ve barely lived without the good ole net.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s return to the important stuff.

There are no real changes in the garden, other than few plants are blooming and there’s the odd splash of red or dying leaves here and there. I need to do a little tidying in the back garden but in general things are going well.
I’ve done quite a lot on the front, however. I’ve floored the shrub rose, battled with it, got scratched, chopped it up, gained a few more scratches and thorn-ends in my fingers and hands, cursed a fair amount but finally it’s gone. Then I’ve also cut back the Buddleja a little – I always thin it out and then floor in early spring.
The result of removing the rose? A lot of weeds are suddenly very noticeable. I’ve never properly weeded around the shrub rose in the time I’ve been here, mainly because it’s so lethal and I didn’t fancy losing an eye! But also its growth and branches generally deter from even noticing there are weeds lurking in the shadows. So in my desperation to tidy the area, out came the hoe and weeds are no more – I always weed on my hands and knees and digging them out, but for now hoeing will have to suffice.

I’m also left with large, gaping holes in the front garden and a rather ugly wall… There’s no cure for the wall at the moment, but bark chippings will at least cover the bare soil for now. I’ve considered completely removing the rose and planting a Camilla which will at least provide some interest… but.. Nah.


(Yes, those are Hybrid Tea roses surrounded by the Shrub roses. I believe the shrub roses self-seeded from next door and have taken over)

Oh, and we also found a Frog when weeding. I’ve no idea how it survived, and wasn’t injured by my brother, his girlfriend or myself wielding various garden instruments. At least I now know there must be a pond somewhere nearby! I moved him to a different part of the border where there was no risk of injury.

In the front garden there’s much of the same as previous months, and I need to do some tidying – mostly the Foxglove that’s gone to seed.

It looks like this winter will be a good one for the Garrya which had only 2 or 3 tassels on it last year. Pretty much every branch already has these small tassels ready for winter.

Although not much, this late flowering dutch Honeysuckle is giving me lots of pleasure. It’s only one bloom but considering I haven’t had a bloom on it for a few years for mysterious and unknown reasons, I’m actually really very happy. And I even got to sniff it. And for the first time in seemingly ages I get to appreciate its beauty.

With a day of constant drizzle sometime last week, the Flat-topped Aster has ended up bending over a little, so I’ve snipped off some of its stems for a vase and tried to do some other general tidying but really I need a good few days of fine weather to get things into shape – mainly the hedge needs another trim and the ‘cousin IT’ cotoneaster needs a tidy up. I have a couple of days off before I go to Portugal on Friday and hope to get some work done, but I already have a very busy schedule i.e. actually getting some money and a new suitcase. Oh and maybe some clothes. Some might say I’ve left it a little late…

There’s no change in the Cherry border; the Fern is looking very happy now I’ve removed the Hellebore which the Fern had begun to strangle somewhat.

Considering for much of the year the right border is the main area, it really does look horrific right now! For some reason one of the Erysimums have died – cue the big gap and dead stems – and the Honesty, although the seedheads are very pretty in winter, aren’t helping matters right now. I have some Cosmos I plan to plant in the large hole and I think it’ll help perk the border up a lot.
What you can’t see though, is that the top side of the border is almost as bad. Some of the native plants – White Campion and Bladder Campion – have passed their best and look awful this year! Normally they’re fine. But I’m left with holes there too and might have to pop to B&Q for some cheap, cheerful gap fillers.

I have mixed feelings about this border; on the outside it seems OK, but then you notice the Astrantia in the background all yellowing and brown. Plus the Hebes need moving elsewhere… Ah. Too many things.

Copyright 2014 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

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11 thoughts on “End of Month – August 2014

  1. It’s not often I am able to give out tips but the Astrantia – knock it right back to the floor as soon as it has finished flowering, or if like me just before they do. It looks empty for a week or two but it soon puts out lush fresh growth and more flowers. All mine are reblooming now.
    Your garden does have quite an autumnal feel right now Liz. Glad your honeysuckle has finally managed a single bloom – maybe a sign for better next year. Glad to read you are now back in the land of the living with your internet connection. Almost forgot to wish you a great holiday – enjoy!

    • Hi Angie,

      I did cut back the Astrantia, but it looks like I need to actually floor it rather than just cutting the blooming stems away. I will try to remember that for future.

      It would seem you’ve been having better weather in Edinburgh than here – not further up in Scotland though, my mum had a terrible couple of weeks near Aviemore – but we had a few very dull and very Novermberish days here over the past few weeks and will explain why the garden believes it’s autumn.

      A very busy day in store tomorrow as I attempt to get everything ready for holiday, then Thursday morning I have an interview so have the chance for last minute buying if I’ve forgotten anything after.

  2. It’s so hard to keep the garden looking neat at this time of year. I keep pulling off dead leaves here and there, but my astrantias look awful – I need to cut the leaves to the ground after flowering, I think. And the roses are doing that octopus arms thing. Your shade garden looks especially nice and full. Oh, and I bought a butterfly ID book so my kids and I can start figuring out the names of the ones who visit – at least 6 different types so far this summer.

    • Hi VW,

      Yep, I think next year I’ll try to remember to cut the Astrantia back completely rather than just the bloom stems and hope they look better. They’re so useful early in the year as their leaves come up quite early, but it also means they begin to die off earlier than most plants.

      Good luck with your Butterfly IDs 🙂 Pleased to hear your children are interested in spotting them.

  3. Modern technology is wonderful when it is behaving itself, but when it goes wrong!! I haven’t been able to receive e.mails or send them for 3 or4 days, trying to catch up now that our son has fixed it!
    My Farrya has lots of lovely tiny catkins this year, last year there was nothing. I’m so glad your honeysuckle has given you a flower this year, hopefully you will have more next year, the perfume is divine isn’t it?
    Have a good holiday, the garden will be waiting for you when you return.

    • Hi Pauline,

      Out lack of internet was due to our service being rescinded. Although I do know how you feel. It’s funny how something so simple as using a computer, can be so frustrating and upsetting when it goes wrong. Somehow, it turns me into a screaming, evil harpy. I want to throw the pc out the window and have a real tantrum. Yet if say, the shower should die, or the washing machine I don’t really care and just deal with it.
      I know I’m not the only one re: turning into a crazy person of IT isn’t working.

      NB I don’t actually start screaming or throwing things, but I can feel it welling up inside.

      I have three Honeysuckles. 3. And none do anything. I swear it’s a curse. Just like my luck with Heather and Anemones. I’ve lost count how many Anemones I’ve planted in this garden. Do you see any photos of their wonderful blooms in my posts?? No. Because once again they’ve done nothing beyond grow a few leaves. Woo. Hoo.
      If I wasn’t laughing, I would be crying.

  4. I’ve got a honeysuckle growing up the trunk of my lilac tree that hasn’t flowered in the two years I’ve had it. I’d be happy with just one bloom like yours! I wonder why they’re not performing? I know what you mean about there being so much to do in the garden at the moment, it feels like I’ve hardly been out of mine, I could do with a rest.

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