I must apologise for the first Colour Me Beautiful post that was published a few days ago – it was written later in the day than I intended it to be and, logging the progress of tasks for my own records, was an attempt to pad out the good news but uninspiring photos of the completed reworking of the majority of the borders. Somehow it seemed to develop an aura of despondency but this certainly wasn’t what it was meant to convey; I went to bed dissatisfied with what I had written, intending to remove the post in the morning and rewrite it, but by then there were comments from night owls or US bloggers so I felt it ought to be left. Moral: if you don’t feel comfortable with a post you have written, sleep on it before you press ‘publish’!
In truth I am fairly optimistic about the future of the borders, and it is the filling out and maturing of clumps that I aspire to, rather than nigh-on-impossible endless colour. Most years my borders suffer from patches of bare earth and some border staples don’t seem to be thriving as they might do elsewhere (penstemon for example is not yet a good do-er) – whether it is a lack of fertility, water or space or something completely different I am determined to find out. I may not have the designing with plant skills that some of my blogging friends have but these are to be admired rather than envied, whereas a haphazard approach to the layout of borders is not necessarily a bad thing and can be adapted if things don’t work out. My own particular skills in the garden lie elsewhere, enhanced by my normally boundless energy!
Whilst working on the borders and tidying up afterwards I have been able to take stock of what is flowering or quietly getting on with growing without any help from me. I knew I had purchased Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ last autumn after admiring it on Steve’s blog, but couldn’t remember where – now it’s taller than I am it was easy to spot! I only hope it is hardy enough to get through the winter. Last year’s new roses are also settling in better now it is cooler and we have had more rain – a pair of ‘Falstaff’ book-ending a bench on the paved area have shot up since the heatwave ended. This year’s recent potted rose acquisitions are settling in too, although the mass of buds they arrived with turned out to be the last for this year. I was concerned though about the yellowing leaves on two of them but a telephone call to David Austin confidently suggested that they have just gone into early leaf drop which was not unusual. Did you know that DA defoliate ALL their roses before winter every year, to limit recurrence of disease? If you have ever visited their gardens nd nursery you will know what a mammoth task that would be!
Different parts of the garden are at their best at different times of year and this will always be the case, but colouring the garden with a degree of beauty at this point in September are a number of success stories, so I shall link them to Chloris’ blog as most months she suggests we pick out our top bloomers. This week, however, she has been looking at foliage.
The cutting beds are where the colour is concentrated where of course dahlias are still the stars, despite their disheveled appearance after last week’s wind. An overnight temperature that dipped to a little over one degree last night is not going to help their health and temperament either!
Most persicaria (and I have several) are still flowering but not all yet making an impactful clump, unlike the small division of P Blackfield next to the stream which is still flowering its socks off. There is a lesson to be learned there, methinks.
I may not be watering or deadheading them regularly now, but the two baskets of petunias at the front of the house have been giving our neighbours and ourselves pleasure for months:
I shall certainly be using this type of verbena again next year which, like the petunias, were bought as plugs from Brookside Nursery at the end of April and have also flowered continuously since June:
In the cutting beds several zinnias are still looking good, and this Helichrysum is a definite for 2019 too, for both the cutting beds and the borders:
I make no apologies for sharing Amaranthus caudatus again, which gets stroked every time I pass, but it’s a first for similarly tactile Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Mixed’, which I have kept in pots and for whom the jury is still out. They are certainly flowering well now:
Sedum (hylotelephium…grrr!) and Japanese anemone will invariably always be stars of a September garden, but please PLEASE will someone ORDER me to do the Chelsea Chop on my sedums next year? I know it makes sense but so far I have not been able to bring myself to desecrate their fresh young shoots…
Last but not least there are some wonderful grasses blooming, maybe not as colourful as other blooms, but still more than deserving of a place in the garden for their shape and form and fluidity. Having come late to grasses, I am more than pleased that I finally invited them in!
Enjoy your late September gardens everyone, whatever is growing in them!