End of Month View: October 2012

The biggest problem I have with maintaining a lovely garden is that during the  Autumn and Winter months I only get to see it at weekends, unless I go out with a torch.   With the clocks going back an hour last weekend, days getting shorter, and coming home in the dark, it is a very frustrating time of the year.   There are always jobs to do in the garden, and when only limited to weekends they stack up, especially when a weekend is taken up with visiting family and friends.  Although as much as I love my garden, I would not put it first or use it as a reason for not going away.

Constant rain is another event that makes gardening prohibitive.   It’s all a bit bizarre really, only in April we were under a Drought Order for fear of the underground reservoirs running dry.  Now, we are told about flood warnings as the reservoirs are full to bursting.  This morning, with the promise of a nice, albeit cold day, I ventured out into the quagmire at the back of my house that is called my garden.

The ivy remains my bête noire.  Despite cutting it back it has continued to grow and now overpowers the air with the sweet aroma that emanates from the flowers.  I used to really hate it but I am getting used to it now over the years.  Did you know that Ivy is the base note to a lot of mens’ aftershave?   Maybe that is why I am not keen on aftershave!  The flowers eventually turn into black berries, ready to feed the birds in the winter.   Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am always in a dilemma at this stage, because removing the ivy is removing homes and food for wildlife as well as birds.    Talking about berries, there are none this year on the holly which is a disappointment.

Foxes are back in the garden, I disturbed one last weekend basking in the sun, at the back of the flower bed and again today.  They are flattening anything that is left still growing.   I am hoping they don’t start digging holes, which is a favourite thing in past years.  I have cleared the area now, hoed the soil and put lots of sticks in the ground but I am sure they won’t take any notice.   You might just spy a broken bamboo cloche in the foreground.  The foxes love to play and I suspect this has been rolled around and chewed, it certainly looks as though it has.

The garden although earlier this year took a while to get going, is fortunately being very resistant to stop growing now that Autumn is here and cold, icy, winter nights just around the corner.  There is still some colour in the garden.  The Spirea is flowering and producing new pale green leaves.

The Salvia is still producing piercing blue flowers, totally resistant to snails, slugs and so far remains unflattened by dear old Foxy.

I found, some nasturtiums still happily flowering behind the raised vegetable bed.

Other flowers in the garden have turned into autumnal magenta shades and the Sedum continues to go a darker and darker colour, now looking fabulous.   The hydrangea, a love of mine, is looking antique and will make great indoor decoration now.

Something, whether it be a cat or Foxy is also making a comfortable day bed on the top of the shed and has made the Clematis Montana look as though it has been steam rolled.   However, it may be just the push I need to do something about this plant.  It has been growing beautifully over the years with an abundance of fragranced flowers in the Spring, but was a total failure this year.    It will also give the nudge I need to repair the shed door and give it a much needed paint.

Moving up towards the house, this part of the garden is the micro-climate area, where the olive tree, passion flower, choysia and fuschias grow amongst other plants who love hot sun part of the day, and shade during the latter part.  I have just cleared most of the passion flower which had twinned itself into the Olive tree so it is looking a little more spacious.

 Tucked in the corner is a Fatsia Japonica.  I have always had one of these in every garden I have had and fortunately have always found a spot where it is happy growing.   I produces clusters of small, creamy white flowers late in the year, which are coming from the centre of the plant like a candelabra.   After the flowers come round black fruits – take a look  back at the ivy, do you see anything similar?   Yes they are related.

I still have an awful lot of bulbs to plant, and had great intentions of cutting flaps in the lawn, placing Fritillaria bulbs and replacing the turf so that they will grow through the lawn in the Spring.  If it’s nice tomorrow I may still do that, but the others, which include a variety bag of Narcissus and about 10 Allium, I think I will now place in pots and plant them out in the Spring.  They may actually be happier in a sheltered place away from Foxy and his friends.

There you are, that is my review of the garden for October and thank you Helen at The Patient Gardener Weblog, for hosting this really useful monthly meme.   Please pay her a visit and read about other October gardens.

See what the garden was like in September 2012

End of Month View, September 2012 (Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond)

See what the garden was like this time last year, October 2011

End of Month View October 2o11 (Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond)

14 thoughts on “End of Month View: October 2012

  1. Ronnie I know the dilemma of having a to garden on the weekends because of the dark…but here all those lovely blooms you have are gone now…I love that unusual Fatsia Japonica. Our resident fox won’t jump our fence to hunt …they stick to the meadow.

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    1. Hi Donna, I have just found your comment in my Spam box! You are now in the right place. 🙂 The foxes in our area are fed by some folks and they are almost tame, it is a bit of a nightmare really because they do destroy the garden, even though they think they are playing.

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  2. English ivy is such a problem around here that the water district is actually sending a crew to help us eradicate it. Since we refuse to go the Roundup route, it will mean a lot of pulling and heavy lifting.
    Ah, wildlife: so adorable, so destructive. When all else fails, attitude adjustment is the only way to cope.

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  3. Hi Ronnie,

    Lovely photos…. Not sure whether to congratulate you on Foxy or not… 5 years ago, I would’ve been thrilled, but after having them in my garden I know what a nightmare they can be. Mine largely seem to have disappeared but I do occasionally see signs of them. They always used to bury eggs in the garden but no sign of an egg for a long time. However, last summer they left the best present yet…………………. half a pet rabbit. Since then they’ve kinda gone way out of favour around here.

    Good luck getting your jobs done, thankfully it’s not quite so wet here, but still bad enough that I’m not intending on doing any more jobs for this year… Well, except mulching the beds.

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    1. The problems with foxes is that they like to play and they dont care what they play with. I have found pots and watering cans strewn around the garden. I feel very strongly now about them being fed by people and encouraged to live in surbuban surroundings. My personal opinion is that they should not be encouraged but in saying that I will upset a lot of people.

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      1. Hi Ronnie,

        I can understand your pov, and until I had experience of them too then I probably would’ve disagreed. But it’s not until you experience the damage they cause that you begin to think perhaps it isn’t such a good idea. It’s one thing if the Foxes move in and are able to forage for themselves; it’s something else when they’re fed.
        Whether the person putting the eggs out has moved I’m unsure, or whether it’s just that the foxes are no longer visiting me, I can’t be certain. But I don’t miss finding eggs in random places, and my borders and pots dug up.
        However, it was always special when I actually saw the Fox… Although on one occasion it was a little too close, as one trotted down the garden, I was stood on the decking… It got closer to me and closer without noticing. Now, what you may not realise is that the garden is above waist-height at this point. So Foxy was almost face-to-face with me and I began to get scared it would lunge at me! Thankfully it darted off through the hedge after I moved back.

        Phew.

        Tbh, I’ve never fed the foxes and don’t intend to.

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      2. I have now added vibrant blue salvia to my must-have list.
        Sedum is one of my favourites too.
        I have a big hole under my fence, which I think is being used by a fox. I blamed it for digging up my pots for a long time, then caught a pair of cats at it. Never heard of the stick technique, my Mum used to scatter chilli powder to put them off.

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  4. Gosh that saliva is vibrant – a wonderful blue. I have a badger in the garden which has been busy churning up the woodchip path looking for worms I suppose, parts of the back garden look a real mess but it is nice to watch it in the garden at night.

    As for your ivy – I dont know the answer unlesss you go for some heavy duty weed killer.

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    1. The Salvia really is that blue, no photo enhancing, if anything it is even more vibrant in real life, I wish I could remember what it was called. Fancy having a badger, that must be great to watch, and I don’t think they scavenge as much as foxes or do they?

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