Delayed Autumn Chores

It’s hard to believe that it’s the middle of October already! The Summer seemed to last for ages, probably due to the constant rain, and now we’re having some sunny days it’s difficult to find time to squash all the chores in. I’m resisting the urge to tidy the garden up too much as there are still quite a few butterflies and bees relying on the nectar. The bumble bees are looking a little tired now and it’s taking them longer to warm up – maybe I should suggest that they do some extra star jumps before starting work for the day?

Agastache

The Agastache is still performing really well and has even started to send up new shoots with the recent sunshine.

Even the Lavender is looking happier – it’s hated the wet soil beneath it’s feet this year…

Beds To Clear

… although, judging by how much the herbs have grown you wouldn’t know this. If you look at the photo above you will notice that I have cleared one bed already. This had the sad remains of the sweet peas and courgette plant. There are also some asparagus crowns that did spectacularly poorly so I’m hoping that next year they will show a little more appreciation in the spears department! I gave them a good stern talking to whilst tucking them up in a duvet of mulch. There’s a ground frost in the mornings now so it won’t be long before all these flowers are gone.

Still going strong

September Glow

The days are now much colder, so much so that the log burner is already earning it’s keep and the woolly jumpers are back out! The garden is looking battered due to the high winds and persistent rain but I must say that there are a few flowers that remain resilient. The Agastache (above left) is a firm favourite already and the bees can’t leave it alone. Despite being a fairly tall plant it hasn’t required staking and it will be planted again next year. The Black-eyed Susan (above photos, bottom right) was very slow to take off this year but seems to making up for lost time now. I’m not sure about the name of the orange flower (top right) so help is needed please! It’s been flowering prolifically for a couple of months now but requires regular dead heading.

I’ve confessed previously that I have an unfathomable attraction to dahlias. These have been grown for cutting and are looking beautiful (and the slugs think that they taste pretty scrummy too…). The varieties above are all from the Venetian Collection from Sarah Raven (a Gardening Goddess!) and I’ll definitely be ordering more tubers from her again next year.

I love these words from Susan Branch!
There is a wonderful website that I have recently found that has the most delightful artwork and posts. There is an example (left) of Susan Branch’s work and I love it! I’ve always been interested in decorative words and I’ve toyed with calligraphy and watercolour paints in the past but Susan’s work really speaks to me. Her words dance and her art is simply beautiful.

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly October and thoughts are turning to the Autumn and the cooler weather.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting the garden to bed and tucking it up nice and tight ready for winter. I love this time of year as it holds great anticipation for the  next growing season and allows me time to reflect on the work already done… it’s been a great year so far despite the horrendous weather in the UK. I just hope that we have a few fairly dry weekends so that I can get some jobs done as it’s no fun digging in mud with my wellies filled with rain water!!

Floral Dance

The flowers are certainly thriving now that the sunshine has arrived, in fact, we’ve been over run with poppies! I’ve cut the seed heads off the poppies before they can spread further. I do think they’re pretty but I want to limit where they’re growing at the moment so I cut their heads off (how cruel) before they can set seed. I’d like to dry them in the hope that the seeds can be scattered in the paddock… the problem is that seed heads are usually left on the plant to dry. Has anyone managed to dry them from the green?

Dead heading is great therapy and a good snipping session always makes me feel better – especially as I know the reward will be further flowers!

There are several stars in the floral department and most of them have come from Sarah Raven. I am a huge fan and I’ve been very impressed with her plant selections, reliable service and customer care. The small sunflower Vanilla Ice is such a pretty lemon colour and compliments many other plants. I still love the Cosmos and will definitely be growing more next year.

Helianthus “Vanilla Ice” and Cosmos “Antiquity”

In the herb bed the Curry Plant is a clear winner… I love the smell if this plant so much and, although it’s not the edible variety, the flowers are pretty enough to use in bouquets and aromatic enough for a pot pourri.

Curry Plant and Agastache

Three Agastache plants were carefully labelled as, until they flowered, I had the urge to weed them out thinking they were dead nettles! The insects certainly love them, especially the bees, so they have earned their place in the nectar bar.

Despite the floral dance that happens this time of year there has been a distinct lack of butterflies. I assume that this was due to our very soggy weather this year – any ideas? I’ve seen the odd Cabbage White trying to access the netted brassicas or the odd Fritillary or two. In your experience, apart from Buddleja, are there any other plants that butterflies go particularly mad for? I want the Flutter-By’s back x