Category Archives: From The Potting Shed

Autumn and a Makeover

As the nights draw in, the heating goes on and the winter clothes start creeping back into the wardrobe I look around my garden and I’m always amazed at how much is still flowering and berrying up. Some plants don’t even start coming into their glory ’til now.

All the asters are looking like jewels in the sunshine, vibrant colours and pale blue skies. Dahlia still push their huge blooms forward and Cimicifuga fills it’s corner of the garden with beautiful perfume. This year has been a great year for our apple trees and berries, all the Sorbus are well covered this year and it won’t be long before the Blackbirds and Redwings start having their fill. Apple pies and crumbles are filling the freezer.

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A trip to Norwell Nurseries at the weekend saw me buying two more plants to add to my burgeoning collection. Chrysanthemum Dr Tom Parr and Saxifraga Black Ruby have now found permanent homes.

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Chrysanthemum Dr Tom Parr.

I may have said that I won’t be opening next year already but it’s a decision not taken lightly, the garden is in desperate need of an overhaul. The trees are getting out of hand, shading too many of the borders. Several shrubs are well past their sell by date and will be removed and replaced with new plants, making way for more perennials. The wooden arbour holding up the Wisteria is leaning rather badly and decisions will be made once all the leaves have dropped.

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The ponds and rill seem to have a slow leak which we think we have now traced so this is yet another quite large project to sort out once all the pond plants have died off. I couldn’t imagine my garden without a pond, it’s fantastic for wildlife especially the birds. Our G/daughters also love pond dipping and when we do open, visitors seem to gravitate to the pond, almost like at parties when everyone ends up in the kitchen…..

I’m really looking forward to all this upheaval because I know that come the spring the garden will have had it’s work done and I will be able to reap the rewards with better light and more space. What more could an obsessive gardener want.

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Summerhouse with a View

Well yesterday was the day the summerhouse had a much needed haircut.

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This is the before picture….

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….and this is after some serious cutting back.

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But I will really miss this view, but hey it won’t take long for it to grow back and in the mean time I will be growing lots of annual climbers to fill the space.

Also while clearing behind the summerhouse I found lots of clay pots that had been buried under several years worth of beech leaves from my neighbours lovely tree along with a family of mice. I hope the mice have now managed to find a new home hopefully not in the greenhouse. The clay pots are now all neatly tidied away.

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Some of these will be going to my friend who gave me lots of small clay pots last year. Fair exchange I would say…..

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Room with a view

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I never thought that I would grow grasses here in my garden as I always thought they would look out of place with the abundant cottagey theme. But a few years ago I bought this grass Molinia Arundinacea Bergfreund. Still a bit apprehensive about putting it in the ground I kept it in a pot. I just thought all grasses were going to take over, run or seed every where. Now I am glad I have finally given it a home, I may have to keep an eye on it but sitting where it is I think it looks quite splendid, especially when the sun catches it.

I don’t think I’m quite hooked on grasses yet I don’t think I have the room but I will enjoy this one until someone tells me it’s going to go everywhere. Is there anything in your garden that you wish you had never put in ? I could write a book about such plants……

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Surprises

On Friday I took a final walk around the garden for October 2014. I was pleasantly surprised to find several plants flowering out of season.

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Now both of these blooms just shouldn’t be doing this, Camellia Nobilissima and a large flowered clematis in October !

The camellia usually flowers, if I’m lucky, around Christmas time provided the frost doesn’t get it first. The clematis, well that’s an early summer flowering type.

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The drying heads of Hydrangea and Clematis Alba Luxurians. Now I did cut the clematis down at the end of it’s usual flowering time, but it just seems to be going on and on.

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And my favourite an unnamed Auricula looking perfect in the autumn sun. There are several more pots with buds showing.

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Now all of the Astrantia seem to be enjoying this weather as well. Roma along with Shaggy Florence and Venice are all giving me cut flowers.

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The Dahlia Purpusii has made an enormous amount of growth this year. During the spring I took more cuttings and have four more plants growing, all equally as prolific.

The only thing to do is enjoy the display while you can, it surely can’t last for too much longer…….

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Autumn

Over the past few weeks we have had some really warm unseasonal weather. This has prolonged some of the summer display making the garden seem more like late summer than late autumn.

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Agapanthus

This Agapanthus was taken out of a very pot bound pot and planted, against some peoples advise, into the ground. It had not flowered for years and I was fed up with having to take this and 5 other pots of Agapanthus into the shed every winter. So kill or cure. To my surprise it has flowered non stop, now maybe I caught it when it was going to flower anyway, but flower it has and I am still enjoying them now.

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Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

All the Salvias have done well this year, putting on lots of new growth and flowering still. That is except Wendy’s Wish, which is only just coming into flower now, and very welcome too.

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Verbascum

I have never known the correct name of this verbascum but it has been a weedy seedling around the garden for years popping up in cracks and crevices. Last year I decided to save seed and grow it properly. The result has been amazing, each plant having several stems of metre tall flower spikes. The flowers have beautiful pinky/purple blotches followed by attractive seed heads. Now I did use to think that this was V’ Chiaxii but it’s the markings that have thrown me. What do you think….

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Saxifraga Fortunei ‘Blackberry and Apple Pie’

Why the name I don’t know, but such a stunning plant. Just coming into it’s prime this is going to add some more interest to the small white garden…..

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…along with Saxifraga Fortunei….

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….and Fushia ‘Hawkshead’….

a lovely pure white hardy fushia, chopped to the ground each spring and growing not too tall as it is growing along a path and is probably a bit restricted.

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Chrysanthemum ‘Jessie Cooper’

A stalwart for me has to be this gorgeous Chrysanthemum ‘Jessie Cooper’. It never fails, with a couple of ‘Chelsea Chops ‘ during the summer it makes an imposing statement at this time of year with loads of cutting material and very long lasting in a vase.

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Aster laevis ‘Calliope’

One for the back of the border, with maroon/black stems and leaves growing to about 180cms. Although I have over the last few years been doing a ‘Chelsea Chop’ on this too and it seems to help keep it in bounds height wise.

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Fushia Paniculata

And to finish my autumn display. Fushia Paniculata, now I am reliably informed that the fruit of the fushia is edible but tasteless, that aside I am pleased with this plant as it was a bin end from a N/T garden at the end of the summer. Having never grown it before I was pleased with the amount of flowers it produced and with the fruit as a bonus, looking more like a blueberry than a normal fushia fruit. Seeing this in large garden displays has inspired me to take lots of cuttings as I think this would look great sitting along side the leaves of beetroot and possibly chard…… the steroids are kicking in …I’m beginning to plan again with gusto… watch this space…..

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