Winter Drawers On

Oops, silly me, ‘Winter Draws On’ is what I meant to say! Yes indeed, with each chilly night the new day sees more evidence of the impending wintry season, with Persicaria ‘Painters Palette’ drying to a cold crisp overnight and P ‘Red Dragon’ just starting to go the same way. Unlike these persicarias grown mostly for their foliage, the shrubbier flowering ones like Blackfield and its P amplexicaulis friends are untouched and, in the case of Blackfield,  still flowering.

Over the week, the dahlias have all been lifted and are now in various states of undress in the back sitting room, having the soil brushed off them and drying out:

It is a little too warm here for a long vacation and they will be evicted in due course, probably to the sitooterie, where they will join pelargonium, fuchsia, eucomis and (shortly) nerines, although the latter did not cough up any flowers this year so perhaps do not merit their gentle and protected overwintering. It doesn’t look as if there will be much sitting-oot going on here during the winter, particularly once the dahlias move in!

Meanwhile, having ousted the dahlias , pre-winter clearing of the cutting beds can finally take place, and there was a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from turning the lingering remnants of a great summer of bloom…

…into deep, empty and fertile beds ready to start again next year. Such promise! There’s  something strangely appealing about a bed of pristine soil, don’t you think? The only remaining greenery now is courtesy of some scruffy wallflowers, the product of a wrongly-labelled packet of seed. The liable company did replace the seed but it was some before I knew for sure what the mystery seedlings were going to grow into and the wallflowers were a bit of a disappointment – but heyho! they will provide blooms for a vase at some stage, I daresay and I have moved them into the corner where they will be a little less offensive.

The large pots ahad previously held dahlias and have been planted up with tulips; I was going to plant the bulbs into one of the cutting beds but emptying the pots generated so much used compost that my overflowing compost heap would have struggled to cope with, so refilling the pots and putting the tulips in seemed a better bet. Job done, but several more  pre-winter jobs still to do, emptying the 2016 compost heap being one of them, and this can’t be done till the borders have had a final a pre-mulch trim (where appropriate) and tidy. This will be a job for the coming week, weather permitting, along with moving the nerines and bringing the last of the fuchsias inside.

And just us to remind us that winter really IS on its way, I heard a faint jingling today:

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17 Responses to Winter Drawers On

  1. I really admire you getting out there and doing all those pre-winter jobs. I hesitate on cold days and chicken out. I am currently obsessed with collecting bags of leaves from surrounding streets and bringing them back home, putting them in jute bags and stuffing them around the garden to rot down. Every time I plant my last tulip I panic and order some more. I must stop this!!

    • Cathy says:

      Looks like a better week for it this week though ☺ Had to smile at the thought of you out on the streets collecting leaves – you perhaps don’t have enough of your own which is not a problem here and I do ‘green bin’ a lot of ours. At least now I know to pierce black bags and wet tge leaves the ones I do keep are rotting down nicely in 12 months. I know what you mean about tulips – having just emptied some more pots I find myself thinking I could have filled them with tulips…!

  2. jenhumm116 says:

    Oh Cathy you put me to shame! I’ve done no gardening this weekend as the daughter has been home, so all those bulbs of mine remain unplanted. Glad someone’s got their act together!

    • Cathy says:

      But you have the excuse of being out at work for much of the week, Jen – so you can be forgiven – and I have realised I am visiting Elder Daughter for a couple of days so won’t get as much done this week as I thought

  3. Cathy what good pre-winter work does in the garden. Nothing escapes him. It is true that the cut beds empty only with the earth are rare and I want to plant bulbs. Very good idea to plant bulbs in the big pots! Have a good time for what’s left of your work! Greetings from Margarita.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    If growing dahlias were that much work, I would not do it! I just dig them every few years to divide them, and only if I actually want to. It is not really necessary. It is finally getting cool here. It will be in the 80s in Trona this week, but of course, dahlias do not grow there.

    • Cathy says:

      Some people in the UK do leave their dahlias in but it is always a risk and lifting them is not as much effort as it might seem

  5. Anna says:

    Oh a blank canvas Cathy – good to go again 🙂 Despite the cooler temperatures it has been a great weekend for working outdoors.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes indeed, and I need to reassess my layouts in the cutting beds now that I have a lost a bit of them to the water butts – andcrealised that zinnias don’t like to be overshadowed. Saturday I was busy elsewhere and I only had a couple of spare (daylight) hours on Sunday (such is retired life!) so I was pleased to have got this done

  6. Christina says:

    I want to use a couple of the shorter dahlias in pots next year and was unsure whether to lift them now or wait until next spring . seeing yours I think I’ll lift them and put them on the top floor of the house (it’s not usually heated) so I think will be ideal. Thank you for the timely post.

    • Cathy says:

      Glad to be of help. With the big pots I used (20litres?) even the bigger dahlias did well – and gave me space for more of them!

  7. Chloris says:

    You have needed your winter drawers this week, the wind has been very chilly. You have been busy. You put me to shame. My tulips are still waiting to be planted and my dahlias will just have to take their chance.

    • Cathy says:

      I did leave my tulips later than I used to – but it’s always a good feeling when all the bulbs are in! Milder this week, but greyish – good for gardening in though…

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    Your cutting bed soil looks wonderful. I have still to plant my tulips.

  9. Every weekend for a month it has rained here and I so frustrated! Reading all the work you have achieved just makes me feel even worse. My dahlias are rotting and my tulip bulbs are sprouting.!!!
    Looks like I shall just have to be contented in reading about well kept gardens😀🐜

  10. Alison C says:

    Your beds do look wonderful and Mr C prefers bare soil. It does look good but I am the gardener so I win and more plants it is. You are far ahead of me with lifting dahlias and now I am decorating as well so they will have to stay out a few more weeks. They have only just gone over this week anyway. I have lots of clearing to do but will have to do little and often when I get time. You look very organised and it’s good to see it all.

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