I have contributed to the End of Month View meme hosted by Helen at Patient Gardener since 2011, so it is with interest to go back three September EOMV’s to assess if the garden this year is behind or ahead of itself which is about average with no surprises. Despite a cold August, we have had a very warm and dry September. I heard on the radio this morning the weatherman saying that September 2014 may well be the driest September since 1910. The empty water butts are testament to this. Today I woke to rain which was pleasing to see, but it didn’t last long. However, I did manage to loosen the hard impacted soil with a hoe and had a bit of a tidy up. The trouble with soft soil it is an open invitation to every cat in the neighbourhood to use it as a public convenience!
In the last few EOMVs I have concentrated on plants and not really given an overall resume of the garden and what it looks like as a whole. This month is a warts and all post.
First, are the roses which are still looking good and continue to produce buds which is always pleasing. Most of the roses are in the flowerbed which is in the middle of the garden and in full sun all day. As soon as the ground is soft enough to work, I want to round off that bed by about 2ft/3ft to plant more perennials. I have ordered a lot of spring bulbs from J Parker & Sons and would like to make a show of the tulips and daffodils. Parkers seem to be taking their time in delivering them though and I have already chased them once to be told I should receive them shortly.
At the back of the house the raspberries have been incredible this year. Supposedly autumn raspberries, I have been picking fruit since early July and can’t give them away quickly enough. Last week when the window cleaners came I gave them plastic bags and told them to help themselves – they were delighted. I know it has been a good year for fruit but I also wonder how much a good helping of fish blood and bone in the spring has had a lot to do with how prolific they have been.
If you follow my blog you will know what a nightmare time I have with ivy, most of which comes from neighbours either side. I have started to cut down some of it on the left hand side of the garden, but the previous owners have now moved and the buyer has not yet moved in. Once he has established himself I will try to pick a good moment to ask if he could cut his side down. Meanwhile in desperation tried to spray some of the new shoots with weed killer but to my annoyance it made no difference!
He will get a lot more sunshine in his garden as I have found when my other lovely neighbour has started to remove the ivy from his side. Although it is only a small section at the moment, it has made a considerable difference to the amount of sun and light in the garden.
The left border, which is south facing, is a bit bare having lost a lot of plants this year. They suffered from a combination of drought, snails and an element of the ivy sapping goodness from the soil. This is where, last year, I had Echinacia, Rudbekia, and Geums, all of which were lost.
A the bottom of the garden, west facing, the Dahlias and Cosmos are still in flower, although I cut the only magenta dahlia flower for my previous post “In a Vase Monday”, so it is looking a bit bland.
The compost bin is next next job especially having read Helen’s recent post about compost. Also I am going to make some leaf mould in bags this year, whereas I usually just throw the leaves into the compost bin.
The right-hand border, north facing, is looking lush. In the spring when it was so wet this part of the garden was really boggy and then, being clay soil, became rock solid. The Alchemilla Mollis is spreading, but does fill in what would otherwise be gaps. The Elderflower (Sambucus Nigra – Black Lace) needs a good prune at some time, it has grown into a bit of a beast. It needs careful attention because it only flowered at the top of the tree this year and wasn’t so impressive. In the spring when visiting The Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey, it was interesting to see that they had cut their Sambucus down to about 3ft. I wonder if that was just to get a good shape and leaves only, or if they flowered also. Because of its size it blocked out a lot of sun this year so I will bring it down to below the height of the wall.
I’ve got some brown patches on the lawn which look a bit ugly. I think this is thanks to foxes but I am not certain, anyway it needs a lot of attention, as this year lots of weeds have also appeared. It is full of clover and “mind-your-own-business” Soleirolia soleirolii as well. There are times I am minded just to leave it as it does make for a green lawn, but now these brown patches have appeared a trip to the garden centre will be on the cards.
The patio is retaining its jungle quality and the passion flower growing over the water butt is still flowering. I was looking at the Japanese Anemones and have put off cutting them down today, however, I am having the side window replaced on Friday and the men are going to need to access it so they will have to be pruned by then which is a bit sad as they are still flowering.
I will leave you with another pic of the garden this last day of September 2014, bathed in sunshine after a wet morning.
As always, thank you Helen for hosting this great and exceptionally useful meme. Click HERE to visit her Patient Gardener blog and read all about how other gardens are doing at this time of the year.