As I get older, I find that I’m not so excited to go rushing about on our 96 steps in the autumn to bring tender plants into the house. And so I’m chancing my luck, more and more.
The dahlias are usually my signal that it’s time to act if there are things that definitely need rescuing. When they are blackened, that’s it, the other things should have been inside at least a week ago.
So, here we are on 21st of November and it’s finally happened. Winter has arrived!
Fortunately a good fairy (the BV) was on hand to rush about in the dark with his funny little head torch (which I sometimes think I will have to have surgically removed) and bring things into shelter last evening. So, my six are all about the first taste of winter.
1 Sun Room shelter.
All safe and sound for another winter, although the zantedeschia at the front appears to have had a pot accident yesterday.
Eventually this is supposed to be a summer dining room – and that means I have to start tidying it up and decorating during the next few months. Unfortunately it is also the main place that I’ve over-wintered tender or borderline hardy plants (including cuttings) in the past. Another reason why I’m pushing the limits and trying to see if things will do in the garden. Cuttings of tender perennials should (theoretically) be over-wintered in the greenhouse in future (but we haven’t got any heat in there yet).
2 Rose ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’.
This Bourbon rose is always the last to flower here – right into November if the weather’s mild. And has featured on at least one home-made Christmas card.
3 Salvias & penstemons. Since I was away in September this year, I didn’t have a chance to take any cuttings. The BV rescued the three Salvia ‘Amistad’ down in the cut flower garden (I’ll dig them up and put them in pots today).
But the penstemons are a real problem. I’ve had great difficulty growing them on in pots when I’ve taken cuttings. They seem to dislike our water/compost intensely – and I’ve tried most variations. But maybe next year?. I used to be so good at this game!
Even if I do succeed, the young plants are so tiny that, on my soil, they don’t make enough growth during the summer to have any impact. Since I’ve recently had antirrhinums overwintering in the garden, I thought I’d take a chance. But this morning I was regretting it.
I’ll miss them if they go, and will have to replace next year. I think the answer, if I can get myself into the swing of it, is to have stock plants in the greenhouse (with heat or fleece), take cuttings in spring, and then plant out the following spring.
4 Cycas revoluta. The good fairy flung some protection over it last night, but it needs to come into the sun room today.
5 Cauliflower. We can’t grow brassicas very well here in the summer (too hot and dry). But I love them and they do started producing in September. Our March-planted cauliflowers are finally ready to harvest – small but perfectly formed. I hope I can still rescue them today!
6 Pots. I adore terracotta pots. But, if you gardened here, you would understand that, at the ripe old age of 64, I’ve become worn out hauling them up and down the steps in autumn and spring. Replacements with plastic are the key I reckon, since many of the actual pot inhabitants are hardy, like this Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’.
I really like the shape of this pot – I hope this isn’t the last winter I enjoy it because I am so NOT taking it up to the house. (We never think we’ll get older, do we?) I need to find something that looks as good as the plastic pot below (but narrow).
Have a good gardening week and go on over and see everyone else’s six at The Propagator’s blog.
Ps What gardening challenges/changes are you rising to as you get older?