Autumn Blog, Plot 9

21st October 2021

Autumn. Early mornings in the gardens are misty damp and the air still. The plants and bushes are laced with webs of spider silk and the grass glistens with dewdrops.The weather is mild and still warm for October and the Asters have are magnificent due to the dry and sunny weather. Too much rain and their flowers become wet and soggy and the tall ones, without some support ( too late for some) with their branches wet and heavy, fall over. They are covered with bees but no butterflies.
There are late flowering red Hesperantha and blue Aconite and two tall bushy Salvias. A bright red Salvia elegans with leaves smelling of pineapple and another pink Salvia involucrata tall and lanky. These will flower until the first frosts. Growing at the top of the bank is Lespedeza with pink pea like flowers. Disappointingly it has only two spikes after four years!
Growth is slowing but there is still plenty of greenery and the soil is still warm enough to divide and plant perennials and shubs before winter There are seeds of Nigela Aconite and Californian poppy to collect. The pale blue Iris on the wall side need dividing and the leaves trimmed. The hedges on the right side need a trim and the bulb border beneath weeded and of the false garlic (allium triquetrum) removed. These appear before the snowdrops and can be a real nuisance as they seed into other plants and become difficult to remove. The leaves differ in that they smell of onion.
The vegetables have been dissapointing and the cold spring meant that the figs developed too late to ripen. The dry weather in the summer has meant the potatoes got scab and the sweet corn developed slowly and was attacked by earwigs. Runner beans did well and I am hoping the kalettes for winter will start developing their kale/ sprout.
The pigeons have pecked the pak Choi almost to the ground and earlier in the year something ate the courgettes. I think it was a mouse!.
There is still much to admire about the garden. Some ferns remain green and there are still a few roses and chrysanthemums to flower and thinking about next year I will plant some more bulbs and new strawberry plants. The planting and planning starts now with some large garlic bulbs from the supermarket and some broad beans for early next summer.

Rosemary Hackett