The Nomadic Patio Pot display on the “upper terrace” is probably the most intensive and time-consuming part of the garden. It is an ever shifting, fluidic display of annuals, perennials, bulbs, tubers and shrubs that all come together for a stunning summer display, only to scatter to the winds and completely disappear some months later, leaving no sign it was ever there. Never the same twice, it has gradually expanded and become a major part of the hardscaping, framing the view out to the garden beyond.
With the winter now well on the way, so again it is time to dismantle the patio pots, shelter the smaller ones, protect the terracotta ones and turf out the finished annuals. Over a series of weekends the display has been taken apart pot by pot and the patio cleared, ready for the winter and the eventual spring clean before the whole collection is reassembled. It’s quite a job, involving lots of heavy lifting but I’m rewarding myself with thinking of what I can plant in many of the pots next season.
As the weather worsens and the last few pots remain, there’s a strange sense of “bye bye for now”, until the cycle starts all over again with the patio cleaning next spring. This annual change is very dramatic, but so are the changes in the rest of the garden, where the dahlias have been cut back to ground level, leaves are falling from shrubs and trees, leaving just skeletons and the herbaceous plants are going dormant revealing bare soil. Parts of the border that haven’t been seen for months are now slowly being exposed.
I plan to carry on with the winter clearance not just on the patio, but out in certain parts of the garden as I need clear ground to do a spot of bulb planting (otherwise it would normally be left). I hadn’t expected to do any, what with it being so late in the season and given all the work done over the summer, but I just couldn’t face the next season without having some form of early colour. We had a lawn full of daffodils in our previous garden yet we have very, very few bulbs in the new garden and that’s something that I can’t wait any longer to put right. If we haven’t managed to do the bulb planting en-masse, then a few hundred a year quickly isn’t too taxing and it quickly adds up.