I’ve been a bad blogger. But I’ve been quite a good gardener, at least in lugging things, cutting things, dead-heading things, demolishing things and not spending a huge amount of money on other things. It’s the time of year, and in some aspects (especially the latter) it will get worse in October. But some jobs are done.
The meadow is gone and the footpath tracks will fade, but for the moment it does look a bit like a patchwork quilt. Not a very good quilt, and one with shaved anthills (oops), but a quilt nonetheless.
Some of the hay got burnt in the giant bonfire, some found its way into my brown bin, some went in the compost and some disappeared, I know not where (actually I do know where, but I’m not saying). There was a heck of a lot to dispose of this year and the strim / leave / use mulching mower option wasn’t possible. There are still a few optimistic butterflies dancing about, and even the occasional cricket calling, but the nights are getting colder and they’d better all cwtch up for the winter. Thinking along the same lines I went shopping for clothes last week and came back with a new doormat and an axe. Well, I need the latter for logs. I also need clothing, but hey.
We had the traditional immense and barely controlled conflagration,
this time to get rid of the skimmia, among other debris. P is still mattocking roots out, so I’m sure this will be a two-bonfire autumn. We also had the traditional hunt for the baked potatoes which vanished despite the insertion of a metal rod to mark the spot (they vanished because the fire was so hot that the rod disintegrated). Amazingly I failed with another tradition – the generating of complaints from neighbours. Everyone is burning stuff this year.
I’ve been harvesting like mad. The spuds are all up, the shallots and garlic have largely dried off and are in use, the freezers are full of beans and I’m giving extra runners away, the apples are almost all in their new homes (phew and double phew) being turned into chutneys and crumbles by other people as well as by me. I ate too many plums,
and I’m still getting the odd courgette, so they stay a little bit longer. The greenhouse has been cleared, with the last of the tomatoes going into chutneys. Cabbage whites have eaten the kale and purple sprouting broccoli down to the stems, but they’ll be fine once it gets a bit colder.
In the flowery parts of the garden, the deadheading marathon is getting a bit silly and I’m letting it slip. This means that the entire place will be covered in calendula next year, but I shall rootle them out then. I’m rather hoping that the cosmos will set seed, because they are fab.
In fact my ‘scatter seeds straight on’ bed has been a huge, huge, hit. The salvias are over now, as are the poppies and the white daisy-like flowers that should have been something else, but the cosmos have more than compensated. It’s interesting – I sowed some separately as normal and planted them out individually as well as scattering the remaining seed here, and yet these have done markedly better. Hmm. I’m certainly repeating the experiment next year and have bought some half-price packets of seeds in Wilkos to that end (larkspur, more cosmos in case they don’t set enough themselves, and a crimson flax).
Next on my target list are the lavenders. The four big ones, the last to flower, are now clearly over but I cannot touch them:
They are still heaving with bees, bees so overburdened that they can hardly fly, bees so stunned by the abundance that they are incredibly tolerant of my attempts at portraiture. You can hear the noise of the buzzing when you walk round the front of the house, but it does seem to be getting fainter. Slightly fainter. Other wildlife seems equally present, possibly temporarily, at least going by the sheer number of dead things Next Door’s Cat is leaving for me (she’s a rodent specialist, so I’m quite tolerant of her exploits). I opened the shed – aka old ty bach, ex-outside toilet – the other day to get a trug and discovered a dead mouse in it already (tidy cat) which I hurled over the wall into the wildy bit. Thank heavens for the wildy bit, though I do suspect that’s where most of the rodents she finds come from originally. I hope it is, anyway…
Enough. I’ve also been excavating the containers I have on the outside of the garden, along the lane. I planted those up with Geranium macrorrhizum album because I felt guilty about uprooting it and throwing it out – those days have gone – but it didn’t work and so I’ve popped some little violas in (‘lemon blueberry swirl’):
Soooo cute, certainly much cuter than G. mac.
What else? Well, we’ve done some more work on supporting climbers on the gable end, and I’ve bought a new Parthenocissus, henryii, to go up it. The rose hedge by the kitchen has been pruned by the simple expedient of hedge-trimming it (I heard Bob Flowerdew state that prissy pruning was a Victorian invention, designed to keep armies of under-gardeners in work, so I’m going with it). I’ve trimmed the eschallonia – again. I’ve weeded and dead-headed and not committed murder of anything other than a non-performing artichoke, which I think is quite restrained.
And now the foraging season begins. What can I do with these, other than rowan jelly, I wonder?
I know, P will take them for his rowan wine. The last lot was made four years ago, and is sensational. Apparently. I go for spirits, and have put up blackberry whisky so far. Next the sloe gin and – possibly, if I can find decent ones, always a bit iffy round here – elderberry liqueur. It’s sensational, and very effective against colds. Elderberries are high in vitamin C, after all, though its efficacy could have something to do with the half litre of brandy also used. Yum. Drool. Dribble.
I feel I’ve deserved it, and tomorrow I have to clear out the shed. Who knows what horrors await?