Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Coming back to the end of month view of the garden

For the last few years I have taken part in the End of Month view series of blogs, hosted by Helen at Patient gardener.  It has been an interesting exercise and, for someone who is trying to make a new garden where there was field before, a really useful way of looking back and seeing that there is progress. Even when I feel that everything is taking so very long and nothing is coming to fruition as I imagine, a look at the end of month photos since 2009 shows me that I am quite wrong.  Things are settling and maturing.  It is very cheering.

This year the garden has very much taken second place to the rest of my life.  I had a big crisis of confidence with it last year and, although I recovered myself as spring returned and I fell back in love with my garden, I have had more time away from it than usual.  I have felt this year that I was running to catch up with myself, falling back through the door from a week in Devon with my parents, gathering myself, wandering around the garden and finding it full of weed and clamouring jobs to do, scrabbling about a bit and running off again.  (If you are reading this Mum and Dad, I am in Devon when I am there because that's where I want to be, ok? so no wondering please!)  It has been a consolidation year: weeding, looking, thinking about it, not a year for great expansion and imagination and change.   I didn't completely stop taking the photos of the end of month in the garden but I did stop posting.   I think I have needed that space for nothing much to happen.

So here I am, back again, at the end of a glorious summer in which being in the garden has been a lazy pleasure just as often as a list of jobs to do.  Time for a reminder of what happens at the end of August.


The side garden, which has been full of flower from the tulips and alliums, through the scramble of geranium Anne Folkard, the poppies, the day lilies, is now mostly foliage.  There is one last flourish to come of swathes of michelmas daisies but they haven't yet come in to flower.  I like foliage and for years accepted that this part of the garden stopped flowering in late summer but the inspiring influence of Karen at Artist's Garden, whose garden peaks gloriously in September and October, has finally cracked my addiction to spring and early summer, just a little crack.  The border at the back of the picture now has five rudbeckia goldsturm in it, not that they are doing much this year.


As you see.  But perhaps next year ....

Out in the field there is a real sense of harvest.


There is a huge apple harvest.


The mixed edible hedges are full of hips and haws, although disappointingly few sloes.  This is the first year that the hedges have had real height and substance.  I love them and I love the way they are full of life, full of insects and birds.


The cutting garden is the best it has ever been, thanks mainly to dahlias and sweet peas.  I can't keep up.  I could cut three or four times a week and there would still be more.


This year for the first time we have meadow brown butterflies.  I wish I knew more.  We must be doing something  or growing something which explains their presence this year, or perhaps it is the heat and the sun.  I must do some research.  This is a good place for butterflies and every year we have peacocks and admirals and painted ladies and cabbage whites in large numbers.  Ian has netted the brassicas against the cabbage whites but they seem to be finding all sorts of other things to eat while leaving our broccoli and kale and cauliflowers alone.


The native tree bed isn't doing much.  All through spring and early summer it was full of hellebores, pulmonaria, hardy geranium and foxgloves.  Now it is just waiting for the dogwood leaves to turn.  I think that is fine.  This is the area where I have been thinking about creating a more enclosed sense for a long time now.  I think I am getting somewhere with an idea for another hedge and a greater use of grasses.  I might blog about this area in particular when I am ready.


The sunny bank is also an area on the turn.  The new crab apple, malus Sentinel, which replaced the dying quince tree has a good crop of crab apples beginning to turn bright red and the sedums which are the major feature of the bed in autumn are moving from green to red.  Even now, before they are fully in flower, the sedums are thronged with bees and butterflies.  I have been working on the end of this bed to try to take out bindweed and grass which has grown through the irises.


The kitchen garden is all shaggy and soft.  The hedges are waiting to be cut.  The blueberries, in the pots on the right, are fruiting madly.  The green plastic fencing around the bed by the greenhouse is an anti hen device.  Theoretically the hens live in the fenced area of the garden beyond the greenhouse.  Actually the cockerel and three of the hens like to roam.  Five of the hens live peaceably behind the fence but the roamers cause havoc.  I was blaming slugs and snails for reducing our chard to stumps until I looked over the hedge and saw the two Frisian hens shredding it for lunch.

So there it is.  Some of the garden is a bit tired.  Some of it is fruiting and gearing up for harvest.  There is lots to do but it has given me a lot of pleasure in the long hot days of summer.

35 comments:

  1. Thank you for this posting and these photos, both of which have given me pleasure this early evening of early fall, especially those plump, delicious-looking apples!

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    1. The apples will be ready for picking towards the end of September, or perhaps a bit before if it keeps being so warm and sunny.. That is a job I like!

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  2. Strange things aren't they gardens - I still maintain that whatever we decide to do with them, essentially they just let us play around, knowing full well that any time they want, they can take back the reins - but there's something potentially so therapeutic about the whole act of gardening, that we carry on regardless. I get the sense from your words and pictures that this is a partnership garden - very much woman and nature moving along together. Beautiful.

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    1. There is not much choice in being what you so apposiely call a partnership gardener up here! Lots of things don't grow at all and what does grow wants to grow madly. If you didn't to spam degree go with the flow you would go nuts!

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    2. Would be nice if I could spell appositely!

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  3. What a lovely tour. I'm glad I've been to your part of the world so that I can adequately appreciate what you mean by 'hedges'. Over here a hedge is a sad little boxwood affair or a shaved-within-an-inch-of-its-life row of cedars.

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    1. I love our hedges, great dense things full of life!

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  4. Very interested to see these since the earlier discussions this year about enclosure and views. It looks more in scale and fluffier than I have seen before, with a lot more going on. Very attractive and the hedges in particular.

    I'm interested in how easily you move around the garden - do the slopes make it difficult or do you just bowl comfortably across the grass? Here no one expects to walk around their garden, whereas I feel that is the main point, but the slopes make it hard. We are having major activity which I shall post about in a week or so.

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    1. I agree totally about moving round the garden, in fact one of my most astute friends has pointed out that our garden works as a walk. The top third of the site is flat enough for us to camp on it or play football. It is only when you lie down to sleep or rush around trying to score a goal that you are aware of a gentle, inexorable bias down the hill. After that the slope is more pronounced but never enough to need steps or crampons. I suppose we do just bowl across the grass! The slope makes a big difference to how things grow and to how huge is the impact of the view.

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  5. I do so enjoy looking around your garden. It sits within the landscape so well and has a perfect naturalistic feel. Like you, I have lately discovered the joy to be had from late summer flowers. My rudbeckia looks just like yours, hopefully next year they will all fill out! Finding the balance between work and relaxing in a large garden is always hard, there is so much to do. I sense you have found it though, this year.

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    1. That is a lovely thing to say! I would be very happy to know it sits well in the landscape as the landscape is beautiful, more beautiful than anything I can do in the garden. Glad I am not the only one with small rudbeckias!

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  6. It looks well. As things grow areas become more defined - have their own character - which can be so hard to see when you stand back and look at and look at a newly planted patch of 'twigs' or leafless perennials.

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    1. That is the thing that takes time to create, that separateness in the areas. I hope we will be even half as successful as you have been in your garden.

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  7. Elizabeth, it's great to have these regular reports, with marvelous photographs, showing how you and yours are gradually transforming a landscape. Of course, unpredictable nature plays a large part, weather-wise and fauna, too.

    The variety of foliage is so beautiful at the end of summer.

    xo

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    1. I like the unpredictably when I can persuade myself to go with the flow!

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  8. So glad that you have now found for yourself what every one else has been telling you for ages. The garden is maturing well and will look even better next year. I think that when it is your own garden, you are too close to it.

    Now I am just waiting for the post that says what you are going to do with all those apples!

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    1. Thank you Jane! As to the apples, we will be giving them away in large quantities. Would you like some? That would be a good excuse to say hello!

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  9. I wonder (not altogether facetiously) whether you could make vodka with your surplus courgettes which seemed to have escaped this blog. The apples are looking good and maybe you could treat us to some culinary and calorie advice on cooking apples, maybe baked in the oven with brown sugar. What, though, are those things that look like tomatoes hanging from your hedge? Maybe you could bottle them in the vodka you make from the courgettes and so make a summer treat for Christmas.

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    1. I was challenging myself to blog without a courgette in sight, not easy you will appreciate. I cannot find a vodka recipe made from them but I will keep looking. It has to be the best answer.

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  10. I enjoyed reading your post about the garden, it was a nice tour around and your garden looks wonderful.

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    1. It probably looks better in photos Janneke because I don't point the camera at the weeds very often!

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  11. An abundant luscious garden ... Love it and would be very happy strolling there.

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    1. It is abundant, that is a lovely word for it!

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  12. it does indeed look like a pleasure garden.

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    1. Pleasure and work in equal measure perhaps Diana!

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  13. This look amazing. Your garden is so well looked after. My garden became to much to handle so I put down synthetic grass. It has saved so much time with cutting so now i have more time to look after the flower beds and pond.

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    1. I don't think we could cope with synthetic grass, there would be too much of it!

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  14. It has been such a wonderful summer - much needed! The garden is looking really good - you must be pleased.

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    1. Everywhere looks better in the sunshine doesn't it! And I am pleased, yes. It feels to be getting there, slowly.

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  15. I used to work in a garden with a large netted vegetable plot and would watch in utter disbelief as cabbage whites would (somehow) squeeze their wings through the far-too-small-for-them holes in the netting. Very pesky. Dave

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    1. We have found the enviromesh netting very good. The only downside is that it is very easy to neglect weeding or even cropping when it is all under cover!

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  16. What a wonderful year it's been for us in the north west and just over the border Elizabeth. Enjoyed your August views and as usual every time I see your vegetable garden I want to reach into the screen and pin it in my garden .

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    1. I always think the kitchen garden looks good in photos! In reality there are more nettles than you can tell from the pics!

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  17. Thanks so much for the tour -- my own garden is a tired, rather listless plot right now. I especially love your rose hedges with the gorgeous hips!

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