End of Month – October 2014

The gardening year is well and truly at its end here as almost all plants and blooms are gone; helped along by the dregs of ex hurricane gonzalo. Sadly it took with it most of the pretty leaves, so everything is suddenly very bare in only the space of a week. Plants I hadn’t even noticed were turning colour probably had their leaves ripped off before I had the chance to see them – Fuji Cherry Kojo-no-mai and Acer ‘Garnet’ are two that spring to mind and usually have lovely autumn colours. I think the drop in temperatures with the ex-hurricane also sped along the decaying, because after looking back at last year I think we are well ahead this year. I’d love to be able to cut the grass too, but with regular rain it’s too wet and I need at least a few days to a week of dry weather before my clay soil is dry enough to cut the grass… Much jealous of my dad who was able to cut the grass this weekend thanks to their wonderfully perfect soil.

It’s time to empty the hanging baskets and renew some pots for the winter with something a little more interesting than dying petunias… A job for this weekend I think. I’ve been busy at my parents’ planting the last of the bulbs for them and I’m looking forward to seeing the spring/summer show. This year I’ve planted 400 Crocus, 200 Alliums and 100 Snowdrops; add this to those I planted last year (assuming they’ve survived my dad digging them up.)

I think in general the garden would benefit from a quick tidy. I’m struggling to just leave the plants to die back… It’s at that point where many plants look messy but if I can persevere I know eventually they will dry out and look beautiful in a dead kind of way. And of course they’re handy for pretty frost and snow photos.

I’m surprised to see Acer Katsura shows no signs of changing yet, although I am also grateful that it’s holding on! Also soon we’ll have some more colour in the garden with the winter Jasmine developing buds.

The difficulty with having a tiered garden is ensuring borders are interesting from all sides… This year the top side of the right border has been disappointing with some plants becoming too leggy and flopping, strangling other plants around them and it just ended up being messy and unimpressive.

And here’s the bottom side of the border, which is usually very nice in spring but then in summer and autumn lacks interest and… well… looks terrible as the plants die back. That wouldn’t usually be a problem but this is the main border one sees as they look out of the back of the house and so I become quite frustrated with it. Some years the Cosmos last well into December, so I can turn a blind eye, but this year the Cosmos has died early and I’m struggling to overlook the other faults – many caused by the high winds as things have been blown around and damaged.

Fuji Cherry is one I missed before the majority of its leaves were blown away so could only photograph the last few which looked nice with grass in the background. I also missed most of the leaves turning on Acer Garnet, so only managed a few photos of the last few holding on.

Looking back on last year’s photos has also made me realise how much I’ve missed the small Asters this year. All seem to have disappeared – not sure why as it was such a mild winter?
However, thankfully Aster Lady in Black is doing extra well this year and I believe has more blooms on it than ever before.

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

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11 thoughts on “End of Month – October 2014

  1. Lady in Black is a real beauty Liz. I nearly missed my Kojo-no-mai too, though thankfully it is in a comparatively sheltered spot. This is often a really untidy time of year, isn’t it, and your slope doesn’t make things easy. My front garden is looking cringingly untidy at the moment, partly shaggy grass too wet to now, partly lanky untidy perennials.

  2. Your garden looks very much like mine, Liz, and I’m facing similar problems. I’m planting bulbs, emptying pots and widow boxes, and trying to decide which perennials to cut back and which to leave. All very messy. It’s that time of year — where does the time go? P. x

  3. I missed autumnal foliage colour from ‘Kojo-no-mai’ too this year Liz. Either the wind got to it first or it dropped its leaves early. I also moved the plant from a pot into the ground earlier in the year – maybe it didn’t appreciate the shock. I thought of you the other day – my autumn flowering cherry has been opening up its flowers since the middle of October. Have never seen it open so early. Anything happening with yours?

  4. It is such a busy time of year but at least the weather is still kind to us – ( I am about 45 mins away from you in Lincolnshire). Your garden is settling down nicely for its long winter nap, although Aster ‘Lady in Black’ clearly isn’t sleepy!
    Like you I am busy cutting back and clearing , and also planting bulbs, although I find it so hard to remember where existing bulbs are in the beds and borders ! Thank goodness for blogs, as they provide such a useful photographic record !

  5. I can’t no matter how hard I try leave the garden to grow old gracefully. I always admire how others manage to do it and still have a great looking garden. I’ve been out the the loppers and secateurs today.
    Aster lady in Black is a cracking wee plant isn’t it. I generally over look Asters in the GCs as they don’t grow well here. I do hope your dad hasn’t done away with all your previous hard work. That would be a real shame Liz.
    I can’t get over how green A. Katsura is, now that the winds have died down, you should get a chance to enjoy it’s changing colour.

    • Hi Angie,

      I think for me at least I can easily turn a blind eye to a lot of the ugly plants because I can’t see them as they’re up a hill! lol. Also sticking one’s head in the sand is a brilliant alternative. But I do tend to tidy the ‘ugly’ ones and leave those which are OK dead and even better with frost and snow on them – Sea Holly and Asters for example. Like, I fully plan on cutting back the Veronicastrum (already done most of it) and the Sanguisorba as neither look nice or add anything over winter that I can photograph.

      Oh, you have too much trust in my father…. Seriously. he will have. They planted snowdrops in the green last spring and I know dad has already pulled them out once they finished blooming. He knows not to touch ‘my’ border though as it’s almost full with a lot of plants from this garden. But I do worry he’ll pull out the snowdrops because they look ‘grassy’. I had to repeatedly warn him not to pull up the Pheasant’s tail grass or Persicaria as he thought it was a dock (is a member of the dock family so does look similar).
      The way I saw it was; I had spare bulbs that I’d bought and figured I might as well plant them there, give my mum some pleasure for a year and hey, if they last longer then all the better… if not I’ve not lost anything other than 30minutes planting them.

    • Hi Christina,

      Lady in Black blooms for a while, but perhaps the best thing is that she blooms nice and late in the year so in good autumns will provide food for late insects. She doesn’t grow like other Asters though and sort of has bendy branches that fall around everywhere so does look somewhat messy compared to the upright habit of most other Asters.

    • Hi Annette,

      Sorry, I don’t know which Hebe it is… it was bought as a pack with various others too and none have bloomed. Frustrating as the intention was to provide late nectar for butterflies… Anyway, they are a nice light blue green and probably my favourite Hebes. I just need to move them somewhere else so they don’t get swamped in summer by everything else.

  6. Liz your garden looks much like mine now. The cold and rain has beaten it down. But your acers are stunning in color and the leaves are among my favorite in shape. My asters were very late this year in blooming and I thought I had lost many.

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