This year there is a new planting plan for the raised beds bordering the patio. This will be the first year I have not planted tulips here instead there are Wallflowers Persian Carpet, Digitalis Suttons Apricot and Forget-me-nots’. These have all been grown from seed a considerable saving on plants along with not buying tulip bulbs.
I have saved tulip bulbs from last year, these will all be planted in pots, then if they do not perform well they can be moved out of sight.
The tulip bulbs have spent the summer in the greenhouse they are now clean and ready for the planting.
The Foxglove, Digitalis ‘Pam’s Choice’ has been grown for the main border.
One of the gardening jobs that has concentrated my mind this autumn has been preparing the growing pelargonium collection for the winter. I have been following the Pelargonium Society’s Website Here. advice on reducing the size of the plants so that they will fit into the space available. They recommend to reduce the risk of botrytis infecting plants when they are cut back to a node to ensure the growing medium in the pots has dried out.
Having followed this advice it is disappointing to be seeing infected plants even after treatment with yellow sulphur.
The pelargonium society has recently posted on their YouTube Channel that this is one of the worst autumns for this problem due to the extremly mild, wet weather in the UK this autumn. A gardening friend has recommended spraying with a fungicide.
Young plants growing on for next year.
Pictures from the greenhouse this October.
Some other greenhouse Winter residents.
Gardeners are traditionally an optimistic breed so here’s looking forward to a colourful pelargonium 2023.
How do you prepare your pelargoniums for the winter?
September is one of my favourite months in the garden, it could be nostalgia because we always had a wonderful show of Michaelmas Daises (Asters/Symphyotrichum) in our cottage garden at home. Many other plants also provide interest at this time of year, the annuals such as dahlias, late flowering perennials, trees and shrubs with changing leaf colour.
Some of the others.
Please turn on your sound, watch on YouTube and select full screen.
We visited Ravelin on Sunday, one of their National Garden Scheme open days. It is situated in the next village to us, Hanley castle. The description is from their NGS page.
“A ½ acre mature yet ever changing garden with a wide range of unusual plants full of colour and texture. Of interest to plant lovers and flower arrangers alike with views overlooking the fields and the Malvern hills.
Thought to be built on medieval clay works in the royal hunting forest. Small pottery pieces can be seen interspersed with sedum planting.
Designed to enable you to move through areas ranging from perennial and herbaceous planting, gravel, woodland and pond. Seating provides different views and experiences and the opportunity to appreciate the unusual plants collected by the owner.
Seasonal interest provided by a wide variety of hellebores, hardy geraniums, aconitums, heucharas, Michaelmas daisies, grasses and dahlias and a fifty-year-old silver pear tree complemented by self-seeding plants adding colour, vitality and encouraging wildlife.”
Below is a short video showing some of the garden during our visit. Please select Watch on YouTube then full screen on the video.
A video of the changing autumn colours in Our Garden@19 and some borrowed landscape. I filmed this over a two week period to record the changing colours. Please watch on YouTube
What is providing you with Autumn colour?
With the requirement in most countries to wear a face mask due to the Covid19 pandemic smiling at people is difficult. I have read that an eyebrow smile works, this Spike Millagan poem brought a smile to my eyebrows.
I caught sight of this Vinca flower in the spring border. Vinca difformis is similar to Vinca major, differing most significantly in its habit of flowering right from Autumn, through mild Winter spells to Spring.
Such a welcome cheering sight to find in the garden at this time of year, especially after all the rain and dull days of this autumn and early winter months.
The beginning of November saw the planting of pots with, crocus, iris, narcissus and species rock tulips.
Two large pots either side of the banana bench were planted with Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’, Siberian Wallflowers and Forget-me-Nots.
When the rain finally eased I managed to complete planting my remaining tulip bulbs.
Those of you who regularly follow my blog will know that I rotate dahlias with tulips in the raised beds edging the patio. Last year I used three bulb saucers for the tulips as an experiment to see if it was any easier, when it came to lifting them in the spring.
I was suitably impressed to use them for all the tulips in these beds this year. I purchased extra ones to have four 30cm ones for each bed. One hundred flaming spring green tulip bulbs were shared out between the eight saucers, four pots of Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Heaven’ saved from last year, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ planted around the edge with Wallflower ‘Vulcan’, grow from seed planted in July, in between the bulbs. Forget-me-Not’s will be added in the spring from self-sown ones from around the garden.
Hopefully they will all be putting on a show for our opening on the 2nd and 3rd of May, in aid of the village church, when we will have a plant stall to raise funds for St Richards Hospice, based in Worcester.
This year I noticed that the Parthenocissus Tri. Veitch, Boston Ivy, behind the banana bench, had been almost completely replaced with wild Ivy. Now while I like Ivy in the garden for its benefit to wildlife, here I would prefer to see a more colourful plant. I decided that it was necessary to remove the ivy.
This revealed that the Ivy was holding up the trellis, with most of it rotten along with two of the posts at ground level. I was left with no other option than to replace it all.
I have, in previous blogs mentioned my inclination to watch TV gardening programmes for inspiration. On several occasions concrete reinforcing steel grid has been used to support climbing plants instead of wood trellis. With the advantages of not going rotten, not requiring painting (the rust look is on trend, so I’m told) and at 3.6m x 2m for just under £20 is cheaper than trellis. Two repair spikes were required with some rapid set postcrete to repair the two rotten posts, then a coat of wood preservative applied. Next grid was cut to size with a steel cutting angle grinder. The grid was fixed to the posts with 2×1” treated and stained timber screwed through to the posts.
I have long held the view that autumn is the beginning of the gardening year, preparing the garden and the plants for their winter rest before the explosion of spring and summer glory.
The main autumn project, this year, has been to move plants into their correct positions!
I am sure many of you can relate to the gardener’s curse of initially positioning plants in the wrong place.
Two of the first candidates for moving were the Cytisus, ‘Golden Cascade’ and Albus. While they produced wonderful spring colours and scent, they had become far too tall, even with some pruning.
I did not want to completely lose them, following a hard prune, I have moved them to the rear of the borders and hope with generous watering they will successfully establish. This has freed an area, which has been planted with Lupins and Foxgloves to flower in June for the open gardens. The lupins will be treated as annuals, in the Great Dixter way. Colourful exotics such as Dahlias and Cannas will follow.
I have for some time had a yearning for a Cornus Kousa ‘Miss Satomi’. After ordering one two years ago, I planted it in the garden. Sadly it died during the winter. The nursery that supplied it kept promising to replace it. When visiting Pershore College plant centre, they had some very reasonably priced Cornus Kousa ‘China Girl’. One was purchased, then planted in ‘Miss Satomi’s allocated position. Soon afterwards the nursery rang to say they had a replacement for me, although they could only obtain ‘Milky Way’. I decided this would have to live in a large pot, on the patio by the entrance to the oriental garden, while I decided where it was going to live permanently.
This turned out to be an ideal position, we could see it from the dining room windows. Three slabs were consequently lifted from the edge of the patio to provide a permanent home. Ironically the flower colours are more like ‘Miss Satomi’ than ‘Milky Way’, The nursery has not returned my email asking if there could have been an identification error!
Several years ago I was given a Rhus hirta Staghorn sumac. Because of its reputation for suckering, it has been residing in a pot on the patio where we could enjoy its beautiful autumn colour.
Last year we inexplicably lost a five year old Snake-bark Acer from the middle of the blue border. This completely unbalanced the border, there is an Acer griseum on the opposite side. Not wishing to risk another reasonably sized, quite expensive tree, I decided to plant the Rhus there, after seeing one looking stunning with it’s autumn colours, in a Piet Oldoulf garden.
I may pot up any suckers to sell on our open days. I think it looks very colourful in its new home among the Asters and grasses.
Moving the plant theatre in project one, freed up an area. This provided a space to plant a Greengage tree that I had purchased as a young bare root tree two years ago. It had been growing on in a pot, now it is planted along with the rhubarb, emptying more large pots.
Having admired large pots packed full of colourful exotics and annuals in other gardens, all these freed up pots will provide an opportunity to do the same.
Asters, Michaelmas Daisies or Symphyotrichum, as some of them have now been renamed, are one of the autumn garden flowers I have always loved to see. This is probably because of the wonderful stand that grew in my parents and grandparents gardens.
There are many to choose from, for October’s plant of the month, in Our Garden@19.
I have selected Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’, it has RHS AGM status and is generally disease-free. With its masses of small blue flowers and yellow centres, I think, it is a good companion with Solidago Fireworks.
It will self seed around the garden, although it will not come true, it can however be propagated by division, preferably in the spring.
With it being a simple flower it is popular with the pollinators.
I have to confess to watching many of the gardening programs on television along with reading gardening magazines, books and of course blogs, for inspiration in planting and design.
One programme featured, what I thought was a good structural design for supporting climbing plants.
When I had finished building my version, I thought it looked too much like railway signals. The original one had used wider timber.
My design consultant (Irene) convinced me it was okay and would soon be covered by the Rose.
I have either been brave or stupid (you will, I am sure, have your own opinion) planted a Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’, which I have grown from a cutting, to help screen one side of a shed. This is the one I have built the support for.
This is the rose the cutting came from! It has never been pruned.
Blogging has had to take a back seat recently with a wedding, holiday, a kitchen refit and decorating taking precedent. I lifted all the Dahlias from the raised beds last week, replacing them with tulips, also filling all the tulip pots. With the sun shining, I took a quick tour of the garden with the camera.
Hopefully I can soon catch up reading some of your posts, there is quite a list in my inbox.
What has been catching the November sun in your garden?
The end of the summer holiday saw us, with the grandchildren, visiting the Knapp and Paper-mill reserve of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Link The reserve lies in the Teme valley and the Malvern Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
After a picnic at the entrance to the site, where we were watched by a cheeky Robin, we set off to explore, our youngest granddaughter could remember visiting with her school, they do have an educational facility on site. You come first to the old orchard, where some of the trees were laden with apples, which I assume previously belonged to Knapp House…
You can venture down to the stream at several different places with a willow hide at one, placed specifically for viewing Kingfishers.
The Knapp weir was originally used to divert water to the watermill.
There are meadows…
…and steep wooded banks.
The hedgerows were bearing clusters of autumn fruit, which I am sure the bird life will appreciate later in the year.
The Elderberry has long been a favourite for making into wine. We made some many years ago, I have to record it was a nice but powerful drink.
The GuelderRose was looking spectacular, already developing its wonderful autumn leaf colour. The berries contain one seed which is distributed by the birds.
Wild Hops gracefully covered many of the hedgerows and trees. It is of course cultivated for the flavouring of beer. (There is an alcoholic theme developing here!) There are male and female hop plants, the female grows the flowers that we associate with beer brewing while the male has catkins. Worcestershire and Herefordshire was historically an important hop producing area along with Kent.
Also covering the trees and hedgerows was ‘Old Man’s Beard’, this is the country name given to the wild Clematis when it is covered with its whispery seed heads.
Standing on a small bridge over the steam the girls decided to play Pooh Sticks…
…The only problem was we could not tell which stick belonged to who, so they both claimed to have won!
The visit made a fitting end to the summer holidays, reminding us that autumn is on its way and like nature we should be filling the store cupboard. (Not least with wine to fight the winter chills!)
I am joining Chloris and her many followers in posting my Top Ten for November, please visit The Blooming Garden to see what their Top Ten are.
Number one, the seed heads of the Lunaria, which provides a silvery shine in the low November sunlight. This plant provides interest through out the whole year, from the young leaves with their maroon spots, the dark purple flowers and now the seed heads.
…growing in front is a young Cotinus, we lost a mature one a few years ago, therefore we are looking forward to this one developing and flowering in the future.
These two ‘Grasses’ make a striking feature at the end of the pebble river in the Oriental Garden. I originally saw this plant combination when visiting The Bressingham Gardens, Nr Diss, Norfolk.
This Viburnum, in the White and Green Garden, is one of the earliest flowering shrubs in the garden. It flowers from early autumn through to late spring, and looks particularly good when there is a blue sky behind it.
Anna from the The Greentapestry was recently singing the praises of this rose, mentioning that it flowers from July to November.
Here it is in the Iris bed on the south side of the house…
…along with ‘ ‘Geoff Hamilton’, I am hoping this bud will open.
I will always have Viola’s in the garden, whether it’s the diminutive ‘Heartsease’ which I grow from seed, (it does also self seed), or ones purchased from garden centres to provide colour through out winter.
We were given two Clivia three years ago, one flowered the first year, none the next year and one, (yippie!) so far this year.
I am not sure if Number ten qualifies for a November favourite, although it is one of mine and it is in the garden. The first sighting, today, of the female Blackcap on the bird feeders. I always like to see the arrival of this aggressive little bird, she always arrives before the male and tries to defend the feeders from all comers. the down side is that it heralds the arrival of winter weather, ‘Up North’ which will eventually make its way here.
This is a picture from 2014, they are quite nervous and therefore difficult to photograph. You can see more ‘Birdie” pictures by clicking the Wildlife Category.
That is my Top Ten in Our Garden@ 19, for November, I wonder what will be around for December?
Choosing my Top Ten flowers in Our garden@19 is difficult at any time of year, however one for October has to be the Michaelmas Daisy. (Aster/ Symphyotrichum.)
This white one appeared in the garden two years ago. I think it may have come in with another plant. It is a runner (ie.invasive) by the appearance of its roots, I was unsure whether to keep it, until it flowers then, when it does, I relent.
I like the way it blends in beautifully with number two, the Acer griseum, ( I know its not a flower, I hope Chloris approves*, See below) with its peeling cinnamon like bark…
…along with the Molina ‘Karl Foerster’. The Grasses make a lovely contribution to the October garden, therefore they are my number three.
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has been a feature in this garden ever since I first saw it in Bob Brown’s, Cotswold Flowers, display beds. It stands at the back of the border, stiff and upright without the need for support.
In the White and Green garden the amazingly reliable Iceberg rose is still flowering…
…along with a late planted Sweet Pea that has decided to climb up the Taxus bac. Fastigiata.
Sedum do not seem to do very well in Our Garden@19 so this one is very welcome.
The Crab Apple ‘Golden Hornet’ is in its second period of glory*, blossom being the first. it is growing alongside the raised bed containing ‘THE’ Dahlia for me ‘David Howard’.
Malus ‘Golden Hornet’.
Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ and Dahlia ‘David Howard’.
Dahlia ‘David Howard’.
The arch is covered with the ornamental vine ‘Spetchley Red’ through which…
…you can stroll to the banana bench and sit, to take in all the autumn colours in Our Garden@19.
I am joining in with Chloris * and other bloggers posting our Top Ten for October. Please visit them using the link to see their selection.
Walking around Our Garden@19 the other evening there were some notable signs of autumn, not least in the temperture.
Some of the plants are starting to develop their seasonal colours. Please join me on a short walk through the garden.
The first to catch your eye is the flowering cherry tree between the patio and the oriental garden…
…wherein you will find the first Acer to change into its autumn coat..
Walking up the garden via the shrubbery path you pass a large arching Cotoneaster lacteus, this can look wonderful either trained flat against a fence or wall or, as here, left to grow freely at the back of a border…
…from there you arrive at the banana bench overlooked by the Green Man who is surround by The Boston Ivy.
After a rest on the bench in the autumn sunshine if you follow the never ending woodland walk you pass the Rose glauca, with its slaty blue leaves and bright red hips.
Further along, providing colour all year round is the Prunus serrula…
…with its beautiful tactile bark.
While Autumn can be a little depressing due to its heralding oncoming winter, the plants brighten up our days with their fiery colourful, leaves, berries and bark.