Autumn has arrived in my garden, the nights are getting colder with 8-12 degrees C and the day temperatures are around 14-18 degrees C (46-53/57-64 F). My garden has had to mostly take care of itself the last 2 weeks as I have been battling a very persistent cold that just doesn’t want to go away. I have neglected my garden, my blog and just about everything else I should have done, but I have managed to pull myself outside to water a few times. My goodness I look forward to when it starts raining again!! Two weeks ago I treated all my plants to wine weevil nematodes as yes....I got vine weevils in many pots yet again. A bane of container gardening and with over 500 pots and containers it just seems to be unavoidable. I missed the spring treatment as that coincided with when I had my slipped disks in my back so it is a whole year since last treatment and probably my own fault for the return of the yucky grubs. Once the nematodes are applied, the pots have to be kept moist at all times for the next 3 weeks until the nematodes have done their deed, or they will die. The day after I watered in the nematodes I got the cold. Sods law. I hope the pots have had enough water, another week and I can tip out some of the pots and see if the grubs are dead or still alive. Each treatment cost about £25 so it’s of course vital to not have to repeat it more than necessary. I have joined a subscription scheme so I will be sent nematodes twice a year from now on, a good reminder to get it done once in early spring and once in the autumn.
We have had some rain the last 2 weeks, more a tease than anything useful, but tomorrow we are promised sunshine and showers for most of the day. Well, I have seen forecasts like that many times before, it just doesn’t add up to much in the end, my soil is hard as concrete and I still can’t get a spade in to plant anything. Most of the plants you see here are in pots and have been watered, the trees are mature and coping fairly well.
The roses are in the ground and are green, but not flowering as much as they should at this time of year, I am putting it down to lack of water. The roses in the containers are doing much better as they are being watered. I have used the sprinkler a few times but would probably need to water the ground at least once a week to make a difference. I hope to get an automatic watering system down in the ground during the winter so this problem will be a thing of the past by next summer.
The Japanese Bed is taking on an autumnal feel, everything here is in containers except the impressive Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’.
I have made short process with the plumtree....at first I just shortened all the branches in an attempt to get better access around the tree, but that made everything worse. I kept getting stabbed and poked on lethal branches and finally I just chopped off all the branches, leaving the main structure in place. I will try to find a short climber that can climb up this tree stump, preferably one with Japanese origin. It would have been nice with lovely, fragrant flowers – a Japanese honeysuckle would have been ideal, but they grow way too tall for this 2m tall tree stump. Any suggestions from my readers? The plumtree is of course still alive so for all I know it could decide to produce masses of new branches the next 2 years and become a full size tree again. I might end up removing the whole thing and place a container with something tall growing there instead. At the moment the tallest feature is a South American immigrant to the Japanese Bed, my Fuchsia boliviana – which will be taller than the tree stump by next year so maybe it will get this place permanently.
I am eating fuchsia fruit every time I go out, and there are still lots more to come. They are not as sweet anymore, possibly because of the cooler weather and lack of sunshine, but a fun feature in the garden anyway. I am just amazed it is still flowering!
The Callicarpa dichotoma has become a lovely, arching bush, just the right size for my small garden. Next spring I will give it a bigger container as it keeps drying out too quickly. It will grow a bit bigger and wider, but not much more than this.
The berries are beautiful and with my plum coloured fence as a backdrop it makes a gorgeous feature here in the Japanese Bed. I was wondering if I would get any berries at all since many callicarpas require another bush for cross pollination, but I needed have worried – there must be hundreds and hundreds of those tiny berries.
Also in the Japanese Bed is Rhododendron 'Princess Anne' which is evergreen and flowers in the spring like all rhododendrons, but this particular rhododendron turns flaming red in the autumn without losing its leaves, and goes back to green again in the spring. Amazing!
The dry, hot summer we have had was not to my roses’ liking and ‘Ingrid Bergman’ is one of my roses that go on holiday during the summer heat. I am pleased to see she is back in full vigour.
One of my inherited roses, ‘Gaujard’ is also back flowering.
And ‘Rob Roy’, still living in a way too small container is flowering again.
This is one of my miniatures, ‘Abigaile’, a very lovely rose.
The pot roses have been flowering non-stop since last November when I got them, it’s very difficult to photograph this one as my camera does not like the bright magenta colour.
The soft-pink pot rose is easier to photograph, all in all I have 28 roses.
Most of the alstroemerias are still in flower too, this is Alstroemeria 'Inticancha Sunday'.
And this is Alstroemeria 'Princess Theresa'.
A quick look down the path along the shed, the cosmos I planted in the window baskets have grown to giant size, they must be well over 2.5 meter tall and they are only possible to deadhead because the stems are so flexible so I can bend them down to me to snip off the spent flowers. In the foreground to the left is one of my tomato plants still producing flowers and fruit. I am not sure how many tomatoes I will get from now on, but as long as the plant is still alive I will leave it growing.
The green tomatoes I took inside 2 weeks ago are ripening well, I have eaten some already and keep picking out as I need. I eat tomatoes every day and I will have my own tomatoes well into November - it will be strange when I have to start buying tomatoes again.
Let me share with you some of the extra work the wildlife in London is adding to my workload. This is what greeted me yesterday when I got out in the garden. This little bed next to the Woodland Bed is filled with arisaema amurense, primroses and Saxifraga stolonifera and a fox had in its wisdom decided to dig a hole in the middle of it. The hole is almost a foot deep although it was difficult to take a photo showing the whole depth of it. Under all that soil and bark are lots of buried plants and uprooted arisaema bulbs.
And in my nursery area I found 3 chewed plant labels....thanks to a squirrel I guess. If they don’t nick the labels they try to eat them! Somewhere in the neighbourhood there must be close to 100 of plant labels with my handwriting, taken out of the pots and out of the garden for what reason?? Beats me! It creates a headache for me when the labels are taken out of pots that are out of season as bulbs and plants are not visible so I have no idea what was in the pots. I have a good few pots around the garden with labels saying ‘What’s This?’ or ‘No Idea’ or ‘Check in the Summer’.
I carefully cleared up the little bed, put the arisaema bulbs back in the ground and put some fresh bark on. Foxes usually come back to the same place to continue the job, over and over, night after night and it can end up almost a like a game seeing who gives up first. In the middle of the bed I placed a tall, heavy Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ I have growing in a large container. Let me see you dig here now Mrs Fox!
While we are here anyway, let me show you my tropical corner – not that we have tropical temperatures anymore, but the cannas are still flowering! This is the first year mine are flowering and I had no idea they would just go on and on like this.
Lobelia 'Compton Pink' is still flowering too, I absolutely love this lobelia, much more compact than its cousin Lobelia cardinalis.
Also here in the tropical corner is an outdoor Strelitzia reginae, it is a young plant and have yet to flower, but have lived all its life outdoors only having some trips into my shed when the temperatures have gone down towards freezing. And next to it is a newcomer to my garden that I have wanted for years – an abutilon!
I buy all my plants online and I carefully sourced this one as I wanted a red flowering abutilon to go with my colour scheme. I was rather disappointed when I received it as I would not call this red, more like dark orange. The nursery agreed with me and credited me for the few quid I paid for it on the end of season sale – but they didn’t want the plant back. I have placed it here together with Rosa ‘Compassion’ which is apricot-salmon coloured – not sure if they will look good together but the strelitzia has orange flowers so I hope all 3 will be a good combination. If not I might just give away the abutilon and try again to find a red one!
I got another new plant I have wanted for ages. It was my birthday last Sunday and I got some birthday money to spend on plants, one of them is a Brugmansia. OK, I know what you might think now. No greenhouse, no conservatory and living in London – growing Brugmansia? But I want to try! This impressive size plant was delivered a couple of days ago buy courier and I think I got a lot of plant for £20 – it even has 3 buds.
The flowers are absolutely huge and when fully open they will smell amazing in the evening. My brugmansia will be permanently growing in a container so I can move it to my shed when the temperature falls below 6-7 degrees, at the moment it is placed next to the wall so it gets some warmth from my living room and I have put other plants around it to shelter it. Once it is finished flowering I will take some cuttings and bring indoors just as a safety, but fingers crossed the main plant will survive. Does anyone else of my visitors from UK grow brugmansia outdoors?
Let’s take a quick tour of the front garden and out here, the cosmos are still in flower although I didn’t put as many plants in the window baskets so it doesn’t look as full as those by the shed. Something to have in mind for next year.
The little piece of grass is just as yellow as it was in August, but if you go really close there are signs of green coming up. Grass is tough, it recovers the most incredible drought – as opposed to flowering plants. I wonder how many hours I have spent holding the hose, watering my pots and containers this year....
Most of the pelargoniums are still flowering, ‘Rosebud’ is the most impressive as usual, and I have had to prune all of them as they were all so big that branches were breaking off.
I haven’t showed you my indoor plants for a long time, my collection has grown this year and it is not just outside there are pots everywhere – indoors I have plants in every room including the bathroom. I had a count today and I have 62 plants indoors, this is my bedroom.
And here is my living room collection.
This is an avocado plant I have grown from an avocado. I simply bought a normal avocado in the supermarket and ate the avocado first, then planted the stone inside and this is the plant I got :-) OK, so there is a bit more to it, the stone has to stay in water for a while until it has rooted, but it is easily done and if you want to do the same there are lots of info online how to do it. You won’t be able to get any fruit when growing it indoors, there isn’t enough light for that, but you will get a nice plant.
These are also plants, although they don’t look like it! They are called Living Stones – Lithops and they are succulents. They need no water at all between September and May and only a little water the rest of the year. They will grow a new ‘stone’ inside the crack every year and shed the old one, and if they get enough light they can flower every August. Aren’t they cute?!
I have a Strelitzia reginae indoors too, a bit more mature than the one outdoors, but it hasn’t flowered yet. Hopefully it will next year.
I have also bought a more unusual strelitiza – a Strelitzia Nicolai, and on the nursery website this one was advertised as a houseplant along with Strelitzia reginae. The unusual thing with this one is that instead of orange and blue flowers it has white and blue flowers. Oh, and one more unusual thing which the nursery website didn’t mention but I have discovered after I got it....it grows much bigger. MUCH BIGGER. Strelitzia Nicolai can be up to 6m tall. How can they call that a houseplant? I might have to find a company or organisation with an atrium or something similar and donate this plant when it has outgrown my bungalow living room, but I hope I will get to see it flower before then.
I have plants in my kitchen too – there are plants everywhere there is light enough....
The African violet on my kitchen table has been flowering non-stop since March.
Just a quick trip out in the garden before rounding up this post, the begonias have not been happy with the dry, hot summer, but they have finally started flowering. Begonia ‘Primadonna’ is not as big as she was last year but the flowers are just as impressive.
And finally, I am pleased to report that Mr Robin is back in the garden from wherever he has spent the summer. He is such a sociable bird and not scared at all. I am sorry for the poor quality photo, but it was hastily taken with my phone and after this bit of posing he decided to spend the rest of the day flying around me every time I lifted my phone. He wasn’t camera shy in the spring so I am sure I will get new opportunities :-)
That was the roundtrip of my garden, I have lots more in flower but I have just made a selection for you for today. Tomorrow I will try to reply to all the lovely comments I had to my previous post 2 weeks ago which I am afraid I still haven’t been able to give a response to. For now I will creep back to bed and nurse my cold.
Until next time, take care.
I am linking today’s post to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, please visit her for many more Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day posts from around the world.