28th October ~ A dramatic change in the weather means cold feet and hands while working outside. Very low overnight temperatures but the dahlias seem to have survived so far. The sun barely made it out today so little warmth.
Good progress in clearing weeds from Annie’s bed. Resowing a few seeds of things which have not germinated. The low temperatures have prompted sudden germination in a few pots. Fluctuation is apparently good for some seeds.
29th October ~ Moving straw to cover the cleared area. Almost cleared from the tarpaulin which I was not supposed to have used for this and which is probably ruined!
Finally a bit of space in the shed where dried heads have been stored. I’ve been able to move bundles on. It’s too damp now in the shed for storage.
30th October ~ Warmer. Trying to keep up with the pricking out but run out of compost.
31st October ~ Planting out some Foxglove ‘Cafe Creme’. Plants have been poised for planting for about a month. Area needing to be cleared first and some German Sea Lavender moved into better rows. German Sea Lavender sown last year, overwintered and planted out but no flowers. Hopeful for next year, they are such lovely flowers.
1st November ~ Gutted to have rotting Anemone corms. They have been soaked for too long and compost kept too damp and cold. Possibly using Perlite on it’s own or in the compost is the answer. Managed to salvage a few. Lesson learnt.
2nd November ~ Slowly managing to clear cutting beds. Some areas covered in weeds. Prefer to weed first and then cover to ensure weeds are killed off but this is more time consuming. There is not really a rush.
3rd November ~ Finishing removing turf from the extension to the front bed. Help speeded the job along and motivated. Ready for moving and planting now! Sense of achievement.
Putting benches back into Poly Tunnel ready for seedling trays. Pricking out means they all take up more space.
21st October ~ Anemone corms have tiny rootlets appearing. I only know that as I was worried about them and dug them up. Difficult to keep them at the right temperature and dampness. Removing more turf. It comes up easily as the ground is damp but not soggy.
22nd October ~ Let loose in another garden cutting foliage for a funeral tribute. It’s always inspiring to visit another garden and this one has many mature shrubs and fruit trees and must be a haven for wildlife.
Planted some Hazel cuttings down in the bottom corner and hope it’s third time lucky to establish some Hazel bushes.
24th October ~ Sorting out the dried flowers and trying to make some kind of inventory. Most look good with great colour in Statice and Larkspur. Hanging in the loft was perfect for drying though it may have tried the patience of other family members. Most is now boxed and ready for sale. The shed is now too damp for storage.
25th October ~ Using up the last of the greenhouse cucumbers. That’s all now until next summer. Still have tomatoes in the poly tunnel. One is a late maturing variety so hopes for that to last a while.
Continuous rain all day. Removing Zinnias from poly tunnel. They have mildew so are useless cut now though still trying to flower. Cutting down Orlaya. Many seeds have fallen so hoping for self seeders.
26th October ~ Frost
Making good progress in weeding the Eucalyptus bed or Annie’s Border as it’s going to be called. Several plants there came from Annie as plants or cuttings. Knee high weeds – grass and creeping buttercup. It’s easy to tell where it was weeded in the summer and the part at the back which was never finished. It’s much more of a job there with denser weeds. Covering with straw collected from the stables. Small amount of manure in it but not much.
14th October ~ A few of the ranunculus have beautiful little shoots. Moving all the trays of bulbs, claws and corms into the house as mice (or similar) are digging, eating and scattering them around. Sigh.
300mm rain in 40 days.
15th October ~ It did not rain.
Clearing cutting beds. Removing plants which are dying down and covering with manure/straw collected from local stable. It is not rotted but will be there for 5/6 months before any planting takes place. Collecting seed. Cornflowers are self sowing – there is no telling what colour they may be.
16th October ~ Deadheading the poor, sorry dahlias. There are plenty more buds so as long as we don’t get frost there may be more usable flowers. Some places have already had frost. Cutting down Cosmos which has also suffered in the rain.
17th October ~ Unsatisfying retail therapy but managed a few cuttings of Brachyglottis. It’s a good foliage plant. I have a few small plants ready to plant out. Sowed newly collected Anchusa seeds. Two plants from the purchased seed last year so hopeful for more this year.
19th October ~ Cutting down and weeding. There is so much to do it feels as though I am making little progress but it all helps and I am, at least, making some progress. Wheelbarrows full going into the compost heaps.
20th October ~ It seems we are now enlarging the front bed rather than just adding a path or access. Mr C marked it out and began removing turf today. It’s not a huge job but it will mean all the plants and cuttings I have in pots will have new home. I have discovered that some anemones which I planted in the long grass last spring were actually growing so I had to move them away from the route of the new path. Hopefully they will establish well in this damp autumn weather.
7th October ~ Incessant rain.
8th October ~ A dry morning. Moving trays of bulbs inside as they are in danger of rotting with all the rain.
9th October ~ So much rain. Not possible to do very much at all. Marshland in the duck run.
10 October ~ Making good progress in the front bed. Removing many weeds plus few plants which are too big or not interesting enough. Should be possible to make the new path soon and add planting. Pruning buddlejia makes a big difference, the space it takes up is huge.
Removing cucumber plants from greenhouse. Sadly they had suffered from mildew and were not producing much any more. Space is needed for seedlings and bulbs.
30th September ~ How?
Clearing out the poly tunnel begins with removing some Cosmos. They have just started to get mildew.
Collecting large amount of straw and manure in small car from local stable. Now where to put it. Plan is to lay over empty beds but none are empty yet.
1st October ~ Last week a local bee keeper brought a box containing frames and sugar syrup hoping the poly tunnel bees would go into it. Sadly they didn’t. There are a few left sitting on flowers but they have mostly died. We still don’t know why they swarmed, there didn’t seem to be a queen, or why they failed to inhabit the cosy box with food.
2nd October ~ Chilly over night but not yet a frost. Dahlias are looking very sad with the huge amount of rain we have had. There are more buds so perhaps a few more flowers to enjoy.
3rd October ~ Clearing a part of one cutting bed. Took out Malope and Asters. The Asters suffered in the rain at the end of September and though deadheaded, did not recover. It would be good to grow more inside next year and perhaps they would last longer. I have my eye on a pink one.
4th October ~ Planting lettuces in the poly tunnel. A plan for winter and spring is needed to organise the planting. Moved Craspedia inside and moved Jacobea maritima ‘Silver Dust’ alongside them. This creates an area of permanent planting with Chocolate Cosmos and the other Dusty Miller.
5th October ~ Little progress. Managed a small amount of pricking out. Daucus – tiny seedlings, I doubt they can go out this year. Some of this years plants succumbed to wind rock or carrot fly. They need to be well established with good roots. Later plantings were better and the inside ones were too tall.
6th October ~ Getting stuck into bulb planting today. While planning to plant Narcissus, discovered that the tulips stored in the old freezer were going slightly mouldy so removed them. Some Narcissus planted in a trench. Hyacinths in trough by drive. Fritillaries and Camassia in trays as the space not ready to plant them yet. Dry and warm day after a very wet week. Some bulbs to go in long grass at front so care will be need to get them established.
23rd September ~ Dahlias. They’ve done brilliantly in their new home and have flowered for weeks. I know their days are numbered now – hopefully frost will hold off for a good while yet. The supports of post and netting have worked really well. It’s only a few of the large headed flowers which need extra support. In rain or high winds they droop their heads and sometimes snap the stems. Perhaps another row of netting higher up and string or rope around the bottom.
24th September ~ A ridiculous amount of rain. Mud, mud everywhere.
25th September ~ Starting off some anemones by soaking. Soak for 24 hours then chit by placing in a tray of compost until they show roots and shoots. Anemeones in the ground are shooting away well. I worry about weather damage to the flowers though so I will grow some inside as well.
26th September ~ Ditto with Ranunculus. I have some saved and some new. Planning where to plant them all.
28th September ~ Accidentally bought some more plants at a local nursery open day. The sell at wholesale prices. I try not to go every year but I was near! A beautiful pale pink Sedum plus an Teucrium fruticans which I’d seen on Gardener’s World that week, among others. Again no time to get planting. There is clearing to do before planting can take place.
29th September ~ Plan for a new path through one of the front beds. The whole bed has been completely out of control this year with huge teasels at the front obscuring plants behind. A winding path through would allow lower planting near the path and taller things at the back. Think most of the Artemisia should be moved to the cutting beds as they flop and obscure smaller plants.
16th September ~ Perfect weather this morning – cool and drizzly. Not too hot! Yesterday was very hot again and uncomfortable to work in. More cutting back and down and weeding. Compost heaps are overflowing. I need to work out a better system for organising and emptying them. Perhaps collecting material in a pile and adding gradually layered with grass clippings.
17th September ~ The works has slipped seamlessly into Autumn tasks which are important but there is plenty of time to complete them. The urgency of summer is over where it is a constant round of planting, cutting and watering.
18th September ~ September days. Hot and sunny then chilly in the mornings and evenings.
20th September ~ A very satisfying hour of reclaiming some of the cutting beds. Weeds have taken over in many places where the plants have finished. The soil is loose and dry and the weeds come out easily.
Discovered a little forest of Lagurus ovatus – Bunny Tails – germinating. It is a hardy annual so I am hopeful that these will over winter well and flower early next year. There are also multitudes of Briza.
Swarm of bees in the poly tunnel. They buzzed around then settled for the night on the supports and on the flowers.
21st September ~ Beginning to sort out seeds, seedlings and greenhouse. I need room in the greenhouse for all the pots of seeds. I’d left some trays of sown seeds on the floor of the greenhouse due to lack of bench space. They now have cat footprints in them. Hopefully will still germinate. Many things need to be potted on or be planted out and that will make room for the new seedlings. Keep up with the pricking out.
22nd ~ Family party ~ Bees still resident.
9th September ~ I made a few wreath bases from twisted stems. These can be covered with moss or straw or used as they are with foliage tied on.
10th September ~ Beginning the Autumn change around. Many plants are flopping, crushing and squeezing out smaller plants around them. I know I plant too densely so I’ll try and make a space around each plant for it to expand into. Weeding, cutting down and thinning out in the front border today. There is a long way to go but it’s a start.
11th September ~ Some of the seeds sown last week are starting to germintate.
12th September ~ First sweep of the Autumn leaves. The Birch tree is always the first to shed leaves, in fact it sheds all year and also spreads thousands of tiny seeds in every pot and on every bed. It’s surpising that we don’t have a forest.
13th September ~ A busy day of wedding flowers. Buttonholes and corsages in a white and burgundy colour scheme. Aching hands but they looked good.
14th September ~ very little achieved in the way of gardening. Recently, since it became cooler, I’ve become relaxed about watering and now everything in the tunnel and greenhouse needs water and some of it needs staking. We are having hot days again.
15th September ~ A satisfying day of weeding and clearing spaces between plants. I swear things have doubled in size during the last month. We had all the hot weather when they struggled to stay alive but since it’s been raining they have made the most of the warm temperatures and damp soil. It’s a good time of year to be cutting back and moving things around. Some plants will now put on new growth before winter and make a mat of green.
Beech nuts all over the ground under the beech tree. I wonder if we will have an invasion of Squirrels. I don’t remember seeing so many before.
3rd September ~ Very fine wet rain which soaks in a short time.
4th September ~ I have a lot of planting out to do. I have small Lupin plants which I understand do better if established in the Autumn. I hope they won’t be razed by slugs. Better send the ducks in. Also Gaura. I’m not sure how hardy that will be so I will try some planted under cover. A few things need to come out of the poly tunnel so there will be room. Bulbs will start arriving soon!
5th September ~ There is a definite chill in the air first thing in the morning. Once the sun is up it’s warm again but there is no doubt that Autumn is coming.
First Ranunculus claws arrived in the post today. They are replacements for ones which were the wrong colour last season. Fingers crossed for these.
6th September ~ Pulling up the Daucus in the poly tunnel. It got too tall really and has not been worth the space it took up. I’ve saved some seed from it and hope it might self seed as well. I have self seeded plants outside which have done well.
7th September ~ How do the days go past so quickly? More cutting for drying and trying to sort what is already dried. It’s important to cut and bunch in 10s, 20s etc to save on sorting and counting once dried. Ask me how I know?
8th September ~ New plants. A visit to the Rare Plants Fair at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells and then a visit to a friends’ meant a boot full of new plants. Lots of plans to rearrange the garden, it’s the perfect time of year, but no time, frustratingly.
26th August ~ out at 7am to get ahead of the heat. It was misty and damp and perfect. I cut down all the Larkspur and trimmed the whole edge of the first cutting bed, weeding and tidying as I went. I wish I’d done it last week before open day. Moving along close the the plants, I spotted seed heads to dry and seeds to collect. Pulling out these spent plants leaves gaps for new planting. I have plenty to plant but it’s too dry just now. Possible rain again this week.
27th August ~ It’s time to sort out the seed stash again and get started on the Autumn sowing. I’ve also bought a few new ones (of course) so a plan is needed.
28th August ~ Pricking out. I aim to keep on top of the pricking out of seedlings so they don’t get crowded and leggy whilst crammed in a pot together. Today Dianthus ‘Chaubad Marie Yellow’ and potting on Escholzia.
30th August ~ Lopping heads of Cosmos seems cruel but it ensures that the flowers keep coming. My aim is to remove any which haven’t been cut and used as soon as they have been pollinated by bees. The flowers last longer un-pollinated. There are still plenty around for the bees. Lucky bees to live here. Lucky me.
31st August ~ Creating buttonholes and table centres in a beautiful blue and white colour scheme. There is very little pale blue around in August so Cornflowers took centre stage with purple tones in the table centres. I loved them so hope the wedding party do too.
1st September ~ Another day out but before I went I spend half an hour sowing seeds. As well as growing for cutting, there are lots of areas in the garden I’d like to improve next year. Growing from seed is a cost effective way to produce a lot of plants. I’m sowing wild flowers for our grassy area, I hesitate to call it a meadow, as well as late vegetables and overwintering hardy annual flowers. Hopefully they will germinate quickly in the warm greenhouse.