Autumn is marching in now with some much needed rain for the gardens along with the first of the autumn winds – less appreciated by myself and the plants which, only a couple of weeks ago, were languishing in beautiful late summer sunshine!
However, it was getting far too dry to plant anything and now that the ground is softer, the last of my Daffodils are going in to extend the season as much as possible. I find planting bulbs a chore, but am always so glad that I make the effort each year for the spring show that results. The garden becomes a sea of lemon yellow, contrasting with the exotic looking blooms of the Camellias for a few weeks, before spring really kicks in and Tulips are a riot of colour along with the fresh greens of new leaves and the flowers of Forsythia and Ribes. Colour schemes go out of the window in spring and anything goes as the garden launches into life once again after the greyness of winter!
The dwarf Rhododendron yakushimanum has grown well in its big pot and has made a lovely mound of glossy leaves topped with thick flower buds that will smother the plant in blush coloured trusses of flowers next May. We have been very careful with the watering of the pots through the dry summer weather and they have benefitted from the extra care and feeding each week.
The Camellia ‘Jury’s Yellow’ is also full of buds ready to burst open and welcome the spring. I have planted some dwarf daffodils in pots and these will be placed with the Camellia as it begins to flower, creating a beautiful spring show in a shady corner on the patio where it can be seen from the house.
My Banana tree is looking a bit worse for wear after the strong winds. The beautiful sail like leaves have been shredded somewhat, but the plant will stay in its pot now for the winter so that I can bring it inside during the coldest months. Next year I will plant it in a part shaded border that gets plenty of moisture, near the house where it will get residual heat from the walls. The rootstock should be quite hardy if I protect it with a good mulch of compost, but I will be able to wrap the top in fleece as well for good measure!
Many of the Day Lilies in the garden have started to die back for the winter, so I am gently pulling off the leaves and adding them to the compost heap. The gaps that are appearing in the borders now will be filled with Tulips and spring bedding plants. I love the combination of Forget Me Nots and Tulips along with cherry scented Wallflowers which flower for so long in late spring. The shady, green and white borders are full of the beautiful dwarf Daffodil ‘Thalia’ which has made strong clumps over the last few years and is a picture in March along with the white Anemone blanda which is slowly naturalising itself.
For now, it’s back to raking leaves from the grass as they begin to fall fast, and looking forward to some autumn colour in more sheltered spots!