Well, it had to happen sometime. After what feels like an endless summer (especially with all the heatwaves), the season is finally drawing to a close and I say that on a day when I spent the morning up the ladder, slightly sweating in hot sunshine, while trying to bring the jasmine and the Madame Alfred Carrière rose under control.
I succeeded, but it’s only for a short while.
There’s still lots in flower in the garden but I’m already starting to tidy things up, put things away and generally get prepared for when the heat of the sun gives out and winter moves in for a few months. Several patio pots of spent annuals have been turfed out and cleared, I’ve moved most of the sedums into one greenhouse and moved the staging into the other.
The sun is dipping inexorably lower in the sky and that’s put the long section of Fruit Avenue v2 in permanent shade from the hedge. It won’t see the sun again until late march. I’ll be interested to see how all those new perennials I planted into that border will overwinter and how late they will emerge in Spring given they’ll be among the last get to get some sun.
This season is also great for the random mushrooms and other fungi that dot the garden. My favourite is fly agaric – the classic bright red-topped mushroom with white dots, it’s the one in all the children’s books. Unfortunately we don’t have any in the garden so I might just read up on what conditions it likes and see if there’s a way of getting those spores in the garden (if they live on dead material as opposed to predating on live plants).
I’ve also started on sharpening up the border edging. I haven’t progressed very far – not even having completed one border – but I would like to look out at sharp, neat edges over the winter while the rest of the garden looks a generic brown tangled mess.
Meanwhile, the registration of the garden with the National Garden Scheme continues and we’re at the “final proofing” stage. It means one last chance to check-over for any spelling mistakes or embarrassing errors (like getting the garden’s address wrong). I’ve also been thinking a lot about the logistics of the open days, like how do we set up the patio? How many tables and chairs do we need? What can we “borrow” from the neighbours? How many volunteers will we need on the day? Do we need to put mini-corks on the rose thorns? and most importantly of all: how many cakes are we going to bake?
When we held the Plant Sale for the local gardening club on the front drive and had tea and cakes on the patio round the back, it became a very effective “dress rehearsal” for the garden open days we’re planning next year. I now have the recipes, the timings, the numbers of tables, chairs, helpers, signs and a whole heap of other “stuff” that doesn’t usually come to mind until the last minute. I can use this invaluable experience next year.
Before all that can happen though, the garden needs to get through the winter and it starts now, with neatening up that border edging.