Monday, 22 October 2012

Climax and shut down....

So this is it, we are almost at the end of the year; the garden has climaxed and is heading towards a messy end. The ground is sodden, and the wind is making everything wobbly with cosmos and Jerusalem artichokes lolling all over the place like a hen party from the suburbs at the end of the night.

Things are still growing, nasturtiums are taking over, and ricinus look better by the week, even the Cannas which have been late all year are making a push for it,  perhaps realising that the end is almost nigh and they should get their skates on.
A combination of busy weekends and an escape to tropical climes has meant that this was the one weekend I had to get things ready for winter. So I was brave...I have dug up bananas, looked disappointedly at a few things that never got into their stride (don’t talk to me about Coco Yams or Alocasias). I have also put in a lot of bulbs.....when you are in a shop and you buy bulbs you self regulate as you can feel how heavy the basket is and how much you will ache from putting them in, however on the internet you have no idea....400 daffodils, that seems like a good number...oh yes 200 tulips, of course and ooh I did like that muscari at the flower show last year I will buy 50. Lets just say that the box that was delivered needed two of us to lift it down the stairs

If I was here every weekend in October/November I would probably want to wait another few weeks before shutting things down for winter as lots of plants are still looking great, and I think that they will try and keep growing for a while yet. So I have gone for a half way house in that I have dug a lot of things such as the bananas, ensete, some cannas whilst moving the proper tender things like begonia luxurians inside and saying farewells to things that won’t survive and I have no space for like coleus and the papyrus. However I haven’t cut it all down and things like the bananas I have potted up into the smallest pots they will fit into and moved into a covered sideway, the thought being that I will let them dry out for the next few weeks before cutting off the leaves and wrapping them. They were all really sodden so I hope this will help as it is the wet that kills stuff as much as the cold does.
I have been surprised at how much stuff I now have as the sideway is full! The one clump of cannas I had 2 years ago have turned into 6 large groups, and I haven’t even contemplated digging up the others which I will rescue once the frosts have cut them back, perhaps keeping 30% in the ground to try things out.

It could all be a bit depressing, but I’m moving on and ready for next year as I’m mentally preparing lists of things to move, new places to try things out and better combinations of plants. I’m also trying to be a better gardener by bulking stuff up: I’ve been looking with pride at my 25 new pots of black lily grass that came from divisions, and the 8 pots of Polypody ferns. There are also shows to go to and I’m looking forward to the RHS autumn show next week, and very excited by seeing proper jungles.


  1. Frosts are apparently due next weekend (hopefully that won't be the case) so you had your timing right when it came to shifting plants in preparation for winter.

    Roll on spring!!

  2. Love the shot of the bed with the Ganesha...and I am sure the pain of putting in all those bulbs will pay off awesomely in the spring!