I’ve always found this time of year a little bit depressing. As the summer plants begin to fade away and the leaves begin to turn on the trees it is all a reminder that you will soon be down to the bare skeleton of the garden.
Unlike most Septembers, which have usually been quite sparce in the garden, I have been taking notice of books and tv programmes and so have several plants still in flower and some even yet to. Having just a little bit of knowledge of what plants flower when has this year prolonged the colour in my garden.
Sunflowers, Dahlias, Sedum, Anenomes, Primula, Dward Roses, Climbing Roses, Verbena and Lavendar are all still in full bloom. Whilst some plants are browning and withering away or in need to cutting back now, lots of plants are still in their prime. Even my Miscanthus Sinensis, with it’s beautiful red flowering fronds is looking magnificent at the moment, but has been a bit battered by the wind..
But the time has come to start thinking about the preparation for winter and into spring. I’m not an organised person by nature, I have to work very hard to keep on top of things and have some kind of structure, anyone I work with I’m sure will vouch for that. So having to think months ahead in the garden is something I’ve not really done before. I want this year to be different.
I have been so pleased with the garden this year, I’ve put in a lot of hard work and grown more plants than ever from seed, with varied success, but it makes me want to protect it all.
I used to be one of those gardeners who pulled it out and started again each year, but this year that’s not going to be the case.
I have spent 10hrs weeding and clearing patches, pulling out the annual bedding plants that have finishes, I have moved some of the larger plants to their new home where they will now stay. Plants that grew so big this year they obscured others have been given their own space, and I’ll continue to move some over the next few weeks.
My own compost isn’t ready so I’m planning on getting a bulk load in next month so that I can properly mulch the ground and protect some of the more delicate plants.
Plus I’m on a cutting back and dead-heading frenzy. Lots of the plants that have finished flowering, such as the daisys, salvia and centaureas have all finished and need cutting back to the new growth that is already forming.
And then there’s the splitting – I’ve already divided my Coreopsis which had tripled in size this year, and I’ve got a beautiful but very invasive grass that needs to be put back under control. It’s a bit of a thug and is taking over the beautiful red coloured grass next to. I’ve already removed some as it almost destroyed the Hosta and the Echinacea that were it’s neighbours, the latter was completely hidden and hardly did anything this year. The same can be said of the Centaurea which has been cut down but needs moving as it got so big this year that it head all the lovely white Echinaceas that grow close to it.
I think the red grass is a variety of Panicum virgatum and the invasive grass which is white and green with a tinge of subtle pink is I think is a form of Phalaris – which would make sense with how rampant it is. I divided this plant already and by the end of the season it’s bigger than it was before I divided it. I’m tempted to take it out and pot it and replace it with something less of a thug.
So there is still plenty of colour going on, but I know that the winter prep will need to be done over the next 4-6 weeks so that by the time we get to the end of October I should be in a pretty good place.