Days of glorious sunshine and hard frosts at night (down to about -2 at the beginning of the week) have seen us in the garden every afternoon.
The BV is still not working since March this year, but he’s beavering away to make garden life nicer, so my first of six is about his current project.
1 Area around the garden shed.
Almost everywhere in this garden slopes, has a wall with medieval foundations, or a base of more recent concrete. Challenges to overcome. The BV has been working to make the area around our shed ‘habitable’. This involves a lot of shifting of stones.
And bottles that were cemented to the wall that drops down to the cut flower garden.
A good idea in theory, but a damn nuisance 20 (??) years later. At least the BV didn’t decide to replace the old effort with the newer results of his beer drinking!
The project also involves a new wooden pergola purchased only last Friday. It will hold up Rose ‘Ethel’ and the branches of her elder host. This is the gap where the pergola will go – it gives a fine view over the bottom (orchard and wild area) part of the garden. I’m thinking comfortable seats in shade …
2 The vegetable plot. I decided to mulch the three bottom beds with herbaceous clippings from the Long Border this year.
I do have three compost bins, but in such a large garden there’s never enough space for my autumn/winter tidy-up.
During the summer I accidentally (lazily!) left lavender and hyssop clippings in place on the ground for several weeks and when I came to lift them the top was intact but there was a lovely damp, crumbly layer beneath – in the midst of a heat wave. If I can swing it, might even buy in some compost/soil improver in the spring, spread it over the green waste and then plant young seedlings (pumpkins, sweet corn, brassicas) directly, without digging into the soil, which will hopefully remain nice and damp below, encouraging our worm population. I’ll need to add an organic fertiliser to replace some of the nitrogen loss caused by the bacteria that will rot down the green matter.
3 Pumpkin harvest has been great – too good for two people.
In 2020 they lasted until March, and I hope that when lockdown is over in mid December I’ll be able to see a few friends and give them a surprise Christmas present.
4 The vegetable plot. March Picker asked for pictures of my pathetic Brussel sprouts. I’m not brave enough, but we do have some rather nice kale, leeks, and rhubarb chard (try steaming the latter and then quickly whizzing it up with sesame seed oil in a dry pan – delicious!)
5 The winter colour starts to appear.
My coloured-stemmed dogwoods look like a green backdrop to the Long Border in summer. But they are starting to come into their own now. The ground underneath (a sloping – surprise, surprise! – bank down to the flat part of the border) is clothed with hellebores and comfrey, all planted by me about 5 years ago and now taking off and spreading.
6 Helleborus niger. I have a few plants in the open ground that continually get black-spotted leaves and pathetic stems.
I’ve removed leaves, mulched with gravel, and so on, but nothing seems to help. Finally, about two years ago, I moved two plants to pots that are over-wintered in the greenhouse. Now that they are flowering, I can see that the main problem is that the varieties I’m growing flower too close to the ground. The black spot still occurs …
Must seek out some longer-stemmed cultivars. A friend in the village gave me a wonderful bunch for my December birthday a few years ago. Should have a word with him …
Meanwhile – have a wonderful week and spend at least some of it checking out the other Six on Saturday offerings you’ll find on The Propagator’s blog.