Autumn gardening

Autumn gardening, for me, mainly seems to be about preparing for the next year.

The Spring bulbs have gone in ready for next year. I had daffodils from last year. They were planted where the bench now sits. These have been redistributed around the border.

I’ve gone with a number of allium varieties. I like alliums for there structural interest and there generally popular with pollinators. Might well be allium overload. We’ll see next year.

Purple sensation says it grows as a cluster up to 80 cm.

Blue drumsticks are a little shorter at 60cm.

Then one giganteum up close to the patio. I’ve planted this with a few drumsticks surrounding. Hopefully have the tall gigantism towering with the blue drumsticks as a lower tier. While a bit pricier it will hopefully come back each year giving a good show.

I’m not a massive fan of tulips, but we saw some lovely varieties when we went to the open gardens. They’ll add a bit of colour before the Summer colours kick in. I’ve gone for tulip alectric; a pretty variety with pink and white petals. I should really wait for tulip planting, so they don’t rot in the ground, but I know I’ve got a lot on with work the next month. But I haven’t had major issues with bulbs rotting in the soil from last year, so hopefully be OK.

 

I’ve neglected the weeding for a few weeks while I’ve got other jobs done, so had a good upheaval. It wasn’t too bad though. Now I’ve got more plant coverage than last year there isn’t as much space for weeds to come up.

In the front the wildflowers that grew these year have died down. I had one patch of lavender growing by the door. I’ve added a second variety at the other end. The stripy leaved plant is a wild plant Lords and ladies. While not something I planted I like the leaves so it can stay for now. As time goes on if the lavender does alright I’ll fill the whole patch. Then it’ll be fairly low maintenance, needing little watering and as it fills the gaps shouldn’t need much weeding. While it may not look very much now it will hopefully develop into a lavender hedge giving lovely scent as you come in the house.

The lavender around the front and back garden has had its hair cut for this year stopping it getting too woody and encouraging a bit more growth next year.

On the patio I’ve filled three pots with some new evergreens giving the patio some foliage and a bit more interest through the winter and into Spring. Two “little leaves” hebes that just have a small spread well suited to starting in a pot.

Then an annual shrub, chamaecynaris pisifera, known as “blue sky”. It will grow a little bigger than the hebes at 50cm. I like the blue tinge to the foliage. Should be good for retaining some seasonal interest through winter.

The birds are starting to return to the feeder. Things can be a bit quiet at the start of Autumn while there is plenty of food to be had naturally, but starting to see a bit more action on the feeders again. This robin was practising its poising ready for the Christmas cards.

The roses are still flowering, although I reckon I might be looking at the last bunch for this year now. Once there done they’ll be needing a trim, then probably a bit further in early Spring. They had quite a harsh cut back this year and did better for it, alongside being fed better.

The leaves on the shrubs and trees are still hanging on in there. Once they drop I’ll be doing the last major Autumn job giving them a

Autumn equinox

The Autumn equinox has passed and the world outside is looking more Autumnal. Berries are filling the hedgerows, leaves are starting to turn and my mornings are filled with mist more frequently.

However my garden doesn’t seem to have got the message. Last weekend I still had painted ladies hanging around. They’ll be needing to get a move on soon to manage their migration.

 Bird numbers are quite low in the garden as there is plenty of food they can scavenge naturally with all the fruit on the trees and berries along the hedges. I have however seen quite a lot of great tits on my feeders.

While the variety of butterflies and moths are dropping there are still plenty of caterpillars around.

Hopefully this weekend I’ll get going on some of the Autumn garden jobs. I’ve got bulbs to go in for Spring and a number of evergreens to plant to give us some greenery over the Winter. I want to move a few plants and a few shrubs need a trim.

A walk in the park

Yesterday I made it out for a walk in the park after several days in school working in a windowless room on my Early Years School Evaluation Form. This form is the schools judgement of how well we believe we’re doing. This is then presented to ofsted when we get the inspection phone call. So I was quite happy to be outside despite a bit of drizzle.

The hedges along the park were a ladybird hot spot last year, but so far I had not seen many. Yesterday they had returned in force with lots of signs along the whole of the hedge.

Amongst the trees we found a decorated rock. Decorating rocks, then leaving them hidden places has been a craze this Summer. When you find them you photograph them a tag on facebook/twitter. I have mixed feelings about this activity. I like that it gets children out. But living by the seaside I’ve seen people taking buckets of rocks away. There is a legal side to this that many of them shouldn’t be taking the quantity they are as well as dismantling a habitat. But this probably deserves a whole blog on itself. People have always taken rocks and seashells as souvenirs from beaches, but the quantity people are taking is a concern.

Amongst the long grass area a robin perched on branch serenading.

Conkers are now falling. It looked like they’ve already been scavenged through, but I did find a few to take into school for my discovery area.

Now it’s time to get back to writing my school action plan and evaluation form. A bit nicer though working from home with a view of the garden. Red admirals and sparrows are back and forth across the garden currently.

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Summer Garden Round Up

We have come to the end of the Summer holidays. It’s time to go back to work, so before I do it’s time to sit back and admire the progress made in the garden this Summer.

Patio

On the patio the pots are doing quite well. I moved one of the fuchsias from the border into a barrel planter as it was getting lost in the border. It seems to be doing well for the change. The night scented stock is doing well bringing in some night time insects.

I put my new mitre saw to use making a corner of decking to cover where the cement ground is uneven. At the back is a dwarf cherry tree that was totally dehydrated at the start of the holiday, but re-potted,  some gravel on the top to keep in moisture and plenty of water over Summer has brought it back.

The poached egg plants are flowering well now.

Our newly refurbished table looks nice on the patio giving us a small table for a cuppa.

My parents have passed on another bigger table. This corner of the patio previously had planters built into the walls. However they’d been built without proper drainage. So the worry was that they were damaging the house. I’ve knocked them out this Summer giving us a much bigger space to eventually build our log store and seating area.

Borders

The rose campion has done well flowering throughout the Summer. Reading Margery Fish she wrote that it should self seed a small number of new plants. So hopefully we will still have a patch next year. I’m keeping some seed heads to try to grow some if it doesn’t self seed.

The alyssum is on its second flowering. Now an area is established like my forget me nots it should self seed around the borders.

The sedum is set for flowering giving the pollinators an Autumn food source.

There are still some daisies left to flower.

The pot marigolds are still going strong.

Planting for bees

The foxgloves, hollyhock and borage are still hanging on in there providing for the bees. I don’t think the hollyhock and foxgloves have much more flowering time left in them, but now they’ve established I should have more growing next year.

Shed shade

Next to the newly painted shed is a corner with plenty of shade. I have a variety of ferns doing pretty well. They’ll give me some year round greenery and they suppress the weeds in an awkward to get to corner. Having watched the fern-atic on gardeners world this week I was inspired to add some more. I’ve got two more British varieties to go in.

Roses

I trimmed back the roses in Spring quite severely and they’ve done better this year. I’ve had flowers from the pink rose through all of Summer and still flowers coming.

They do some from fungal infections though. I’m trying some advice from the Beechgrove Garden to spray with water and a few drops of tree oil. This works on fungus and helps protect the leaves. Just don’t do when it’s too sunny or the oil may burn the leaves.

Composting

The compost heap had been filled with rubbish while the house was rented. I’ve removed what was there and put in two bins donated from my dad. The slabs have been upcycled from the patio planter I removed so nothing goes to waste. While the bins aren’t as effective as an open heap they will still give me some compost to put some goodness back in the borders.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peak into my garden progress.

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Frugal Friday-Not quite shed of the year

This week I’ve started watching shed of the year. So far I’ve seen some pretty amazing Summer houses and some bonkers garden structures: a flight sim in a garage, a cinema in the garden, a nuclear bunker under a shed and a mushroom tree house.
My own shed however has been looking the worse for wear. We had discussed buying a new shed, but checking the roof it’s still in pretty good nick. A few boards at the bottom have rotted through, but it doesn’t really matter to the lawn mower and my garden tools.

So I had an afternoon up on the roof to refelt the roof. Less the relaxing experience of the 1961 song classic as a precarious scramble to get the sheets laid. While not the neatest job it will stop it leaking for a bit longer. It blends in fine with the trees and shrubs in that corner.

To improve the look of the thing its had a coat of culprinol natural slate. It looks pretty good and will prolong the sheds life a little longer. Not bad for a job done during Alice’s nap time.

Amy has been busy too giving a table and chairs a lick of paint too. Culprinol forget me not blue has given an old cheap table set a new lease of life. It matches our bench too.

Rather than spending lots on a new shed a bit of repair work has hopefully saved us money for a few more years. The paint was on offer at Wickes and we have plenty left for other projects.

Today also marks the start of Autumn so a good time for shed repairs. Check out old house in the shires blog on other Autumn jobs.

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Long tailed tit bumbarrels

I didn’t contribute any folklore Thursday posts on twitter, but did find this little literary reference I liked.

Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread
The fieldfare chatter in the whistling thorn
And for the awe round fields and closen rove
And coy bumbarrels twenty in a drove
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again

John Clare
The “bumbarrels” is a colloquial for long tailed tits. As a name it rather suits them. The last few weeks I’ve had these coming in the garden a lot and are becoming more comfortably in my presence. 

I’m gradually getting closer for photos of these bumbarrels.

Forget me nots

Forget-me-nots cannot be kept out of any garden and no one would want to banish them completely, although they are sometimes too generous with their offspring. I do not feel kindly towards them when I find seedlings coming up everywhere but when later they turn themselves into a haze of blue that fills every space and melts into the flowers around them, I am grateful for their persistence.

Margery Fish-Cottage Garden Flowers 1961

Forget me nots are returning to the garden for the second seeding of the year. I planted a small patch last Autumn knowing they would self seed and fill any gaps. They are fulfilling there role well suppressing weeds that would otherwise grow.