One gets to a point about late August when things in the garden suddenly become much easier. Gone are the frantic days of early summer when it’s all about keeping up, marshalling the blooms, lawns and hedges into shape. Yes, the grass might tick along, or sometimes have a spurt of growth, and the hedges might still produce straggly growth, but by and large, that’s it, finito and now, as I did this morning, I can start chopping back plants that have finished flowering and I’m happy in the thought that they will not return to keep me on my toes until late Spring of next year, although I happily await their return.
With this in mind it gives me a little time to take a deep breath, relax and to enjoy what is going on in the garden, instead of darting around trying to keep up with everything. Once a job is done, it’s done, Hallelujah!!. Now the fun is in watching things come to fruition, the apples are ripening very well and a few early bites of windfalls leave a very pleasant taste indeed. The late summer blooms such as Heleniums, RudbeckiaS Echinacea, Dahlias and Japanese Anemones are a sight to behold with a covering of early morning dew and the leaves on the trees are slowly starting to move towards putting on a fine display of Autumn colour. If that wasn’t enough, we can look forward to next year, and as I dug up a few snowdrops this morning, I can already start to see the new roots forming at the base of the bulbs, reminding me that the cycle of nature never stops. So…. relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
Here are a few plants which I have seen relaxing out in the gardens of Kirkcudbright in the last fortnight. There is also an accompanying video to enjoy.
A Welcome Return
Like most gardeners, I’m always answering questions and giving gardening advice to customers and friends. One question which is frequently asked is; “Should I stake my Delphiniums?” The answer I always give is; “Yes, as they are tall plants subject to wind damage.” In common, no doubt with many ‘experts’, I don’t always follow my own advice, and so my beautiful Delphiniums were knocked down one stormy night earlier in Summer.
Luckily they were passed their best and so, and here’s another piece of advice, chop them to the ground, and here I mean to the ground, not dead-head them. Remove all the old foliage. Some people find this hard to do, thinking they might damage the plant, but I have living proof that this method works. At this very moment, my Delphiniums are not only back, but flowering away quite merrily – oh yes, and this time I did stake them!!! Here are a few recent pictures of said blooms.
Special Blog Announcement
As you can see, I love taking photos of all the flower, so I thought I’d give a few hints and tips on flower photography. I’ve not been at it long, but hopefully a few ideas will help people to enjoy their photography a bit more. If you’ve got any specific questions please get in touch.
Here is a short video with a few tips.
In my last blog post, I chatted about one of my late season favourites – Heleniums. This time, I thought I’d introduce you to Rudbeckia. If anything, there is much more variety when it comes to Rudbeckia. They can be annuals or perennials. They can be short, or like the gigantic Rudbeckia Lanicniata, can grow up to 8 feet tall. There are also dark shades and light shades. The one thing they do have in common, is that they like a warm sunny spot with well-drained soil. Just to inspire you here is a selection from my recent garden visits.
It’s the time of year when gardeners start to formulate plans for the following year. Whether it be tackling an overgrown bed, which spring bulbs to buy, or which flowers they would like for next year. Today I thought I’d talk about the first on the list, although I’ll be talking about the others in due course.
So below are some pictures of a job I was asked to do.
As you can see it was an overgrown bed with everything a bit entangled. I thought you might enjoy seeing how I tackle such a job to give you some idea of the time it took and how to go about it.
The first thing I would say is relax, it shouldn’t be a chore and the end result will be worth it. One of the best ways to relax, is to give yourself ample time to do the job. If you are rushing, the job won’t end well. You don’t have to do it all at once and this is where my first tip comes in. On jobs like this, I like to take a cane and place it 2 feet in, for the edge of the border. Then, I will work away methodically until this space is cleared. I take into account how long this section takes and then calculate how much time I need to devote to the job. I may not do it all in one go, but if I have an hour I know what I can achieve. Too many people underestimate the amount of time they need and can get disheartened. This bit took me about 45 minutes.
The second tip is to know your weeds. Annual weeds will pull straight out, but perennial weeds tend to have longer roots and you need to get them all out, or they will just grow back. For instance, you can see the tubers of celandine and the roots of couch grass in the photo below. You need to spend time to remove these, or they will just keep growing.
Finally, once the space is cleared, leave it a few weeks or even a few months, to see if any weeds return. When you are happy with your work, celebrate by buying some new plants for your newly renovated border.
The whole job by the way took me about four hours.
The answer to the last quiz was an Aster – another late summer bloom it comes in many shades and the insects love its open daisy-like form. So it’s one to include in your garden.
Keep on gardening
I’ve lost count of the number of times, people say gardening makes you feel good. I’m living proof. Sometimes, if I start the day out of sorts, it’s not long before I’m happily gardening away, wondering what the problem was. So try to get into the garden as much as you can, it’s one of nature’s best stress busters.
Well that’s all for this time. Thanks for you company once again and please tell any like-minded souls about the blog – it’s fun to share. I’ll see you in a fortnight on Thursday 13th September, with more of my adventures in the garden. Until then, best wishes and enjoy the early autumn in the garden.
Happy times, Dave.