The frosty weather definitely arrived this week. The dahlias, half-hardies and summer bedding are looking very sad and the leaves have fallen. Tomorrow’s job will be to get all the fuchsias, tuberous begonias etc into the greenhouse for the winter. I miss being able to go out into the garden in the week at this time of year – it’s very dark by the time I get home. Anyway, here’s this week’s six.
1. I have a long list of trees that I will plant in my lottery winnings garden – Parottia persica, Acer griseum, Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, Paulownia tomentosa……. It’s a long list so I won’t go on. In the meantime I have an Amelanchier, a newly(ish) planted Sorbus and a Betula jacquemontii ‘Snow Queen’. When I planted the birch I knew it would have a limited life due to its height (and proximity to the house) but as it started to get too big I couldn’t bear to cut it down and so I pollarded it. I do this every few years and it’s still looking good. I heard a bit of GQT last week and they said not to do this! I’m glad I hadn’t heard that before. Last week I washed the trunk and cleaned off the last few peely bits. It’s beautiful! This photo doesn’t do the colour justice.
2. When we bought this house we planted a Leylandii hedge – I can hear the sharp intakes of breath and cries of disapproval. It lasted just over thirty years, was kept to about eight foot high and provided the security needed. For the last few years of its life it suffered patchy die back and so last year it was cut down and the roots grubbed out. I immediately planted a beech hedge (well it will be one day) in its place. It’s growing really well and I’m loving the colour at this time of year. I have a long (relative to the size of the garden) herbaceous border in front of it and gained about half a metre of border back in the process.
3. I love fuchsias of all sorts and have grown several hardy ones in the garden for many years. They usually get cut down each year but that keeps them in check size wise. For the last few years I’ve had a problem with them not flowering and, on closer inspection, found that they were suffering from, I think, fuchsia gall mite. I don’t use any chemicals, although I don’t think there’s anything available to amateurs to kill this pest, and so tried cutting the plants back down as soon as I saw signs of the problem but it wasn’t very successful. As the plants weren’t putting energy into flowering they started to turn into Triffids – they got huge! The problem seems to get worse each year and so a few weeks ago I took the decision to dig them out. I’ll have a few years rest from them then try again. The half hardy fuchsias don’t seem to be affected so far. What I have gained is two areas of new planting opportunity. I’ve filled this one with bulbs for the spring.
4. I shred and compost virtually everything (not the fuchsias!). I temporarily had a glut this summer and nowhere to spread it and so stored it in my coldframe, covered with a tarpaulin. I used it on the newly cleared areas but as I was digging it out I came across so many cockchafer larvae! I’ve never noticed more than one or two in my compost before. These were in about four bucketfuls of compost! Yuck!
5. Various Salvia cuttings tucked up in the greenhouse. I was a bit late taking these at the beginning of October but they’re doing well. There are more further along the bench – all that potential for next year. The problem will be where to put them all.
6. Seedheads. I leave them as long as possible. They’re so lovely when they have frost on them. I pick some of the allium seed heads, especially A. christophii, earlier in the season. The ones in the second photo are Rudbeckia ‘Rustic Dwarf’ brown from seed in the spring
That’s my six for this week. Thanks to The Propogator for hosting this.