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May 2019



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Autumn leaves

In the garden: signs of autumn

Mellow fruitfulness! Nature’s bounty! Harvest home!
Oh, how deceptive a picture can be. What the photo actually shows is a corner of the garden where brambles are out of control. They come in from the field and are ten feet long before I notice them. It’s like Sleeping Beauty’s bower down there and I could spend all my gardening time just tackling brambles. I do of course have many other things to do, such as digging up nearly every plant in the garden.

Woe! My flower beds have been invaded this year by a horrible moss which mounds itself up, gets right in among the plants and, I’m pretty sure, has choked some of them to death. At first, I tackled it piecemeal, then decided the only thing to do was to take out the plants and start again. As I have heavy clay soil, this is very hard work indeed. Any plant I want to keep has been potted up, many more have been sacrificed. On the bright side, all this digging has loosened up the soil nicely. Where possible, I’ve shovelled garden compost on the newly cleared patches but I’m running out of usable material. There are bound to be small pieces of the moss left, which may grow again but I shall hope to keep on top of it. And next spring, the fun of replanting. Three beds done, one to go. I feel tired just thinking of it and am rather glad it’s raining today.

At the moment, everything is about next year. Foxgloves have been dug up from all over the garden and lined out in front of the shed for next year’s display. There are cuttings and seedlings in the greenhouse and a little nursery outside it. I will not be planting any wallflowers or tulips for the deer to eat.

This is indeed a ‘mossed cottage tree’ and last year produced no fruit at all. This year, it’s bowed down with apples and all the good ones are at the top.

The coral fruits on this Berberis are quite a sight. Picture this shrub the size of a small tree and you can guess that it’s rather spectacular.

I absolutely love sedums and am disappointed with their performance this year. Every stage of their flowering is attractive and they have a way to go yet. They’re already covered in bees.

Promising babies. There are quite a few more.


I love seedum, too, and planted some years ago. I seem to have inadvertently created an autumn border (strip?) with seedum, aster (inherited from previous gardener), rudbeckia and echinacea all out together. Oh, and a geum. I am a haphazard gardener who likes a blowsy look. I love seeing flower baskets on buildings at this time of year when they're just getting out of control, and still full of colour!

Leaving the supermarket yesterday, there was one thyme plant outside, large, and reduced to £2.25. I went back and queued to pay for it.
Hah! Your random border will look as though you'd planned it. It sounds lovely.

I'm keen on reduced plants, too. Usually they just need a little TLC.
I got one strawberry out of a cheap Wilko strawberry plant. And it's trying to put out more little strawberry plants for us, so I am hopeful for next year. The mint I bought in Sainsbury went bananas....

We are madly slugged. But we have made some rather fab blackberry jam (http://extremeknitting.wordpress.com). A lovely combination of tart blackberry and sugar. Mum gave me her jam thermometer, which reduced much of the guesswork.
The first year I grew strawberries there was very little fruit and the pigeons got it. Each following year was more successful, so you're probably right to be hopeful.

Mmm. I think I still have a jam thermometer somewhere.


What lovely photos! The blackberry in particular is the very essence of Autumn.
Thank you! It is, rather. I like blackberries for breakfast.


The blackberries look fabulous but yes, they are a bit of a pita to control once they invade. I have a huge bag full in the freezer. The apples look wonderful. I hope you have reached enough quality ones to make blackberry and apple goodies.

You have such a wonderful garden, B, but I can see from your post that it takes quite a bit of upkeep. I can barely manage my patio and tiny bit of soil so I am somewhat in awe of your gardening skills and your energy!
You're telling me! huskyteer is visiting this weekend and may be on apple picking duty, as I won't get up steps outside when I'm on my own. I've been wondering if I'll get enough of both fruits for blackberry and apple something.

I couldn't manage without a gardener to cut the grass and hedges and do the occasional heavy job for me. It's frustrating but I do have be careful not to spend too long digging as it's easy to overdo it. I'd much rather be spending my time propagating my plants, which is what I really love doing.


As usual I forgot to say that comment was from me, Holly :)
Noted :-) I usually guess.

You have so much autumn colour it's glorious. You may be able to advise me my porch pots are looking sad what could I redo them with that will last well into winter.

This year my container Dahlia was eaten by a slug - I got my revenge and poisoned it. Should I leave the tuber in the pot or lift it?

Thank you!

Tricky questions as I assume you don't have a greenhouse or shed. OTOH you have the London microclimate. Something evergreen in the pots? Variegated ivy with miniature daffodils for later and maybe some violas. I don't like heathers but they would do. You see a lot of 'winter flowering pansies' at this time of year but in my experience they flower brilliantly in spring. For long term planting, Skimmias grow well in pots.

I'm giving up dahlias because if I plant them out in the garden they just get shredded in no time. What I do is dig up the tubers and store them over winter in dry compost. Your dahlia may well survive in its pot.

Good luck!