Posted in gardener's jottings

Autumn’s cusp

And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”Oscar Wilde

I had no time to post last month before leaving for the last of summer, holidaying in Cornwall. Always we gardeners fret about our plants when absent but I need not have worried for there were so few sunny days that the plants only needed one watering (though potted plants are obviously thirstier than most).

Nerines in a Cornish garden

And just at the equinox, Autumn’s cooler damp days swept in and there seems to be hardly a dry day since, as these images show.

The Peacock Orchid (Gladiolus murielae) is on its last bloom and some of the plants came up blind so I should pull these out.

Another disappointment has been the Balloon vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum) – clambering nicely with lots of tiny white flowers but no sign of any seed setting. I’m wondering why or am I being impatient?

The more diminutive fuchsias like Tom Thumb are resplendent with bloom still and in the Salvia corner, the later blue and purple ones (S. amistad; S. farinacea) are mixing with the summer reds and whites of ‘Hot lips’ and ‘Royal bumble’. I miss ‘S. Phyliis Fancy’ though which did not make it through the winter this far North

This time of year reflects both permanence and change and it shows in the selection of foliage which is the first rule of planting whilst the backbone of a garden is its winter plants including evergreens like the Sarcococcas which will smell sweet by the back door if I venture out in the cold!

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Posted in gardener's jottings

August die she must

August rushes by like desert rainfall, A flood of frenzied upheaval, Expected, But still catching me unprepared ~ Elizabeth Maua Taylor .

August has certainly rushed by though the rainfall was more monsoon and the flood more literal, as aside from one or two intervals, it has not been the hottest or driest of summer months. Add to that the socially slow and masked mandates for Covid-19 and I seem to have drifted aimlessly through these days.

Happy Days!

The garden has been happier for the rain as too those slimy stomach-on-feet gastropods which consider my ‘Happy Days’ dahlia a signal to tuck in with gusto. Since I do not use slug pellets I’ve been trialling salt granules trailed along wall and path borders and that does seem to be having some effect.

Whilst Louisiana has recently been struck by the Category 4 Hurricane Laura, our storm Francis brought strong winds (and rain!) with some consequential damage. Note to self – securely anchor plant pots and their stands and don’t be caught napping!

Hydrangeas as the name suggest love rainy days and my nameless large-leaved mophead I call ‘Apple Blossom’ is coming into its own. Now is the time to collect those heads for drying so that through the winter months they are more than a distant memory. When blooms are just past their best I pick and place in an inch of water to dry out slowly.

Back to the subject of slugs and snails but on a happier note to end with. I was going to discard this pot of French Marigolds chewed down to the stem but instead moved them out of the way and they came back with a zing!

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