Seasonal and Not So Seasonal

I say seasonal, but some of our recent tasks have been more the kind of job we might be doing in autumn, which looks set to arrive early this year. In truth, with the recent heat, they were jobs that could be done largely in the shade, the chance to carry on and try and do at least something useful in the garden instead of hunkering down away from the heat.

The Golfer has made huge inroads into removing ivy from one of the apple trees, and once overhanging apples are picked or rejected by our neighbours the overhanging branches themselves will be removed and the shape of the tree improved. In the course of his endeavours, a very elderly and ramshackle section of fence was revealed, which he has just started replacing. Beyond the tree, where a newer section of fence has also been cleared of ivy, I will be able to spread out the climbing of stems of Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, enabling her to perform even better.

In the meantime, once I realised that one side of the mid-hedge that splits the woodland edge border was in shade for much of the afternoon, I took it upon myself to begin bringing down the height of it in its annual haircut, and removing wayward stems that projected to far away from the hedge line. I realised too late that one leafy branch that was bizarrely growing along the ground was actually a sloe (blackthorn) – how long it had been lying there is anyone’s guess, because when the border is in its normal leafy state it’s not easy to access the back of it. The hedge had been planted (including the sloe) around 2004 but I had never seen any sloes until now:

It lives on though, in the form of a better-behaved stem growing in a more sensible direction! Despite the onset of a heavy (but all too brief) shower this afternoon, I finished the overall trim but will need to go back and neaten it up a bit and finish collecting up all the trimmings. As usual with major cutting back, the borders will benefit from increased light and I seem to have created some more planting space for another woodland edge shrub, which is an unexpected bonus!

Whilst cutting and trimming, I got sidetracked and made inroads into removing ivy from the fence that separates the woodland edge border and rose garden – a chisel and mallet proved to be useful tools for prising off those pernicious aerial roots! It’s not perfect yet, but some of the uprights need to be replaced anyway, subject to sufficient dismantled panels. The ivy previously thickly covered the sections where you can still see remnants on the photo below:

The heat and humidity have not been conducive to close inspection of the garden in recent weeks but nevertheless, when not waging war on ivy or keeping hedges in check, I have spotted a number of unseasonal surprises, starting with a handful of new flowers on the wisteria, something I have never seen beyond its usual flowering time in May:

Cathy of Words and Herbs beat me to it in sharing her untimely hellebore, an occurrence I have seen occasionally, but here it is a couple of sprigs and not just a single bloom. The flowers are much smaller than their seasonal norm, and a completely different colour, which is a deep red:

Finally, I was thrilled to spot blooms on a clematis that hasn’t flowered for several years – only a couple of blooms, but considering how long it is since the last ones, and how hot and dry the summer has been, these two blooms are nothing short of a miraculous! I hadn’t even realised the plant was still alive and probably disposed of the label some years ago assuming it was no longer necessary – I remember it as ‘Pastel Blue’, and presumably Clematis integrifolia, as it is a scrambling non-climbing type. Amidst the tired and jaded August plants in the rest of the garden, this clematis and the other unseasonal discoveries brought a touch of freshness and joy.

This entry was posted in drought, garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, hedges. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Seasonal and Not So Seasonal

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    What a lot of lovely finds after your clearing.

    • Cathy says:

      I have found a dead rose too too (planted a number of years ago at the back of the woodland edge border and forgotten about) – not so lovely!!

  2. Interesting occurrences, and you’ve been busy! It’s always fun to see garden projects before, during, and after completion…and to learn of secret discoveries!

    • Cathy says:

      Sometimes we forget just how much we have achieved over time, and photographs are intriguing to go back to to remind us…

  3. Pauline says:

    You and I have been doing the same thing, clearing ivy from a very similar fence. I used my daisy grubber to winkle the stems from off the fence, a tedious job but very satisfying!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s a good idea Pauline, I will try that – but would definitely recommend a chisel too. Lots more to ivy to clear here still…

  4. Cathy says:

    You never stop working Cathy! I feel quite lazy in comparison! Jobs that leave more planting space at the end are always worthwhile, especially as more light will be available too. My hellebore also has smaller flowers than usual, but lots of them. Pretty amazing. I am sure it has something to do with lack of water… some of the fir trees in the woods have started producing cones – at this time of year! – in an effort to preserve the species?…

    • Cathy says:

      There is always such a lot to do so even when the weather is on the inclement side I will try and at least do something, even if it’s only ‘tinkering’. It will certainly be interesting to see what the effect of this hot and dry summer will be the garden next year

  5. Linda Casper says:

    Love your phrase “a touch of freshness and joy”. Cutting back hard can offer opportunities for new planting or allow hidden plants to flourish.

  6. Going Batty in Wales says:

    It looks as though there will be an early autumn here too.

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    It is good now having returned to more normal temperatures we can start to catch up on some of those garden jobs postponed during the heat wave. Gardening in the shade provided few opportunities!

    • Cathy says:

      Rather more shade here than I would sometimes like, but at least it afforded some bearable spots for getting on with things

  8. Heyjude says:

    I have noticed a lot of things that need cutting back. digging up, but still have the darn bamboo to remove, it has been far to hot to be out there hacking away at the roots. I dare say the rain we have had will have triggered some of them to reshoot now!

    • Cathy says:

      That bamboo is going to loom over you both metaphorically and physically until you see the back (hopefully…) of it, isn’t it? Definitely not the weather for digging out thugs like this…

  9. You certainly been industrious Cathy! So relieved to see some cooler weather this week. I must admit that I achieved little for a good part of last week – it wasn’t just the heat that got the better of me but a few nasty bites too. I noticed a hellebore in flower in a garden centre a couple of weeks or so ago. Here I have a polemonium caeruleum seedling that has just come into flower as well as a witch hazel sporting two flowers. How exciting it must have been to see that clematis come back to life.

    • Cathy says:

      Sorry about the bites, Anna – one is irksome enough so in the plural a real nuisance, I guess 🙄 Occasionally there are odd blooms on some of the witch hazels in Aug/Sept, but none so far here. It never seems to affect the proper flowering later, thankfully

Comments are closed.