End of Month View: September 2012

I know we English are famous for talking about the weather, and our blogs are proof of that. Most of us have made mention of the peculiar summer we have had. This September we had a short Indian Summer which ended in the highest rainfall for 30 years followed by overflowing rivers and subsquent floods.

Despite the odd weather, I love September, the light is clearer than any other month, the mornings are sharp and cold, with a teaser of frost if we are unlucky, and by the middle of the day it is really quite warm.

The soil in the garden, a heavy clay, is rock solid in the heat and plasticine when wet so very difficult to manage. In the last few days, after heavy rain, I have planted some spring bulbs and wallflowers, which I bought in bundles for £1.95 a bundle, from a local shop. I mixed some grit into the soil to prevent it getting too claggy and now I am watching them carefully, hoping that they are going to pick up as they are not looking happy at the moment.

Whilst on my hands and knees planting, I noticed some tiny seedlings under the Cerinthe and am not sure if to leave them or carefully re-pot them and remove them to the greenhouse over the winter.

The raspberries are nearly over so my next job will be to cut out the old canes to make room for new ones next year. They have done exceptionally well this year.

The vegetables in the raised bed are nearly over. All the carrots have gone, and the broad beans were over sometime ago. The Swiss Chard is just adding colour, I have hardly used any of the chard and doubt if I will grow it again next year.

As for the Courgettes, from bemoaning that they were doing nothing all of a sudden they burst into life and I have had more than I can eat so have been giving them away to neighbours and work colleagues.

This is the first year I have grown leeks and they are doing fine. I am tempted to pull a few up and use them as baby leeks, or perhaps I should wait it out until they become a decent size, but then I could do both.

I have started the onslaught on the ivy, with the help of my friend and neighbour and her partner, who wielded the electric hedge cutter, we made inroads into the ivy on the right side of the garden. The rest of it around the other two sides of the garden still needs to be attacked. It is beginning to bear fruit now and the faint whiff of the ivy is noticeable and shortly will become much stronger.

Removing most of the ivy has a lot of pros and cons. The birds love the berries and with the cold weather just around the corner it will provide them with food, also they like to nest in it. However, it is leaching the goodness out of the soil, which is one of the reasons I think the garden has not done so well this year, and it stops the sun in the winter making it very shady.

I have one very shady corner which doesn’t need any sun and the damp weather has sent the ferns into overdrive.

Also in this corner is the holly tree, which is normally covered in berries, but last year they dropped off almost overnight and the leaves developed brown blisters, so I cut out most of the damaged branches. This year, it looks healthy but there are only a couple of branches with some very sad looking berries.

Looking around, whilst preparing this review, I saw a few jobs that must be tackled soon. One is the honeysuckle that has wound itself high up into the branches of the Elderflower (Sambucus Nigra).

The Montbretia (Crocosmia) is flattened and becoming a wonderful, snug, dark, home for the slugs and snails to hide under. I need to pull a lot of it up now and replant the bulbs around the garden. Nothing seems to deter Montbretia from growing, I even threw some on a rubbish heap one year and they took root and I found them happily growing as though it was the best place in the world.

The front garden always seems to look after itself, although the magnificent Lilac bush was not so magnificent this year, with only blooms on the top branches. These branches then started to die and it was looking very sorry for itself, also the leaves have developed mildew. Whether it is the right time of the year or not, I tackled it with a pair of loppers a few days ago, taking out all of the dead and old branches and reducing the height by about 3 ft. There are lots of new bud nodules on the healthier looking branches so with a bit of luck it will flower next year. All of the rubbish I then cut up and placed in my NEW garden waste wheelie bin. Our Council rent them out at £57 a year, which is not cheap but the other alternative is buying brown paper garden sacks at 60p a sack or countless trips queuing at the refuse tip at weekends. The trouble with this bin, though, is that it is enormous and takes up a lot of room down the side of the house.

There is an old wall between me and my neighbours out of which grows a very vigorous Cotoneaster, goodness knows where it gets its strength from. The Skimmia, as always, is looking good and the Hydrangea is turning a marvellous antique colour, so all in all there is a definate red theme running through the front.

The sunflowers, despite being ravaged by snails, are still producing flowers but much smaller this time and really quite pretty. I noticed too that the Dahlia which I had given up on has several buds on it, so that will be something to photograph for a post in the next few weeks perhaps.

Well, that just about rounds up the garden for September. Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly meme. Please take time to visit her blog and read some of the other EOMVs for September, it is fascinating to see how different other gardens are coping in the same weather conditions.

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10 thoughts on “End of Month View: September 2012

  1. It looks fantastically lush. The ivy looks dramatic – though can understand why you are cutting it back.


  2. I had been wondering the same about our cerinthe seedlings: think i will pot up some of the smaller ones, and leave some of the larger ones to take their chances… it will be interesting to see how they do!
    I love your lush shady border, it looks amazing.


  3. Baby leeks, definitely baby leeks, they are so expensive in the shops, and so very delicious! Lots of good things going on in your garden. I sympathise with your ivy dilemma – can you keep one section of it flowering and berrying but reclaim the garden from the rest? But the thing that struck me most was, you have to RENT your green bin?! Madness.


  4. Enjoyed your EOMV Ronnie. Have just planted some wallflowers as well – they seem to have a habit of looking almost at death’s door then suddenly perking up. I would hedge you bets with the cerinthe – leave some in the ground and pot some up to winter under cover. They come through most winters but if it’s a long cold one they may not. Hope that you enjoy those delicious looking leeks – that snail looks as if it has got its eye on them : )


  5. Your post makes me look forward now to getting home, after 4 months on the road, and getting back into my lovely tropical garden. Have not had much rain over the 4 months so I am wondering what it will be like.


  6. you have a lot of mature planting in your garden, the ivy needs a dose of western winds to slow it down I have some planted as cuttings 10 years ago and the tallest is barely 3 ft, I love the flint wall and it would be a lovely back drop to flowers, your leeks look good, Frances


  7. Hi – that’s the trouble with ivy, isn’t it? It’s lovely in moderation, but if you turn your back there is soon a lot more of it than you would like. Is it growing like a hedge behind the wall, or is there more wall underneath it? I couldn’t quite work it out. Well done for your veg – oh, and thanks for reminding me of Cerinthe as I keep meaning to grow it again. Must get some seeds.


    1. Hi. My neighbour has a fence which is about 2ft above the height of the wall and the ivy has entwined itself into it so I can’t get it any lower. The other two sides I can cut down to wall height. I was so pleased and surprised to see the Cerinthe seedlings but have also collected some seeds from the plants so either way I should get repeat plants next year.


  8. I wonder if your garden will feel bigger when the ivy has been cleared? Your veg are looking good. I am amazed at how quickly I have disengaged with veg since I decided to give up on the allotment.

    Thank you for joining in again this month.


    1. Hi Helen. I am sure that the claustrophobic feeling the ivy gives to the garden will be gone once it is cut back. The most annoying thing is that the ivy on the sides walls comes from neighbours gardens, so the trunks and roots are on their sides. They are more than happy for it to be cut down, but also more than happy for me to do it! The trouble with ivy once it has really matured is that it becomes a tree with thick and twisted branches, making it very difficult to get at.


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