It was a beautiful day in the garden this week. We began the morning by having a quick reminder of everybody’s names. Everyone then named their favourite plant for this time of year. Particular recommendations for late summer/early autumn interest are as follows:
Anemone hybrida (Japanese anemones)
Hesperantha (Kaffir Lilies) – used to be called Schizostylis
Aster – many types
Salvia ‘Love & Wishes’ and S. ‘Amistadt’
Caryopteris ‘Sterling Silver’
Annual climbers including Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer Vine), Ipomoea (Spanish Flag) and Ipomoea ‘Grandpa Otts’ (Morning Glory), Rhodochiton, Thunbergia
Half-hardy annuals including Cosmos ‘Antiquity’, Nicotiana mutabilis ‘Marshmallow’, Phlox ’21st Century Blue’
Canna ‘Dunbar’ (these are tender and should be treated in the same way as dahlias)
Grasses including Stipa gigantea, Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’, Carex ‘Ice Dance’
Acers for autumn colour
Ivy which is in flower at this time of year and is a good source of late nectar for bees and butterflies
Hawthorn for attractive berries
In the plant ID this week we looked at common weeds. It is important to get to know the young and mature stages of weeds so that they can be easily recognised and removed early on.
Bindweed are trumpet-flowered weeds which wind themselves around the stems of plants and plant supports. They spread rapidly by creeping underground stems or rhizomes and will choke and smother plants in the process. It is important to make sure that you do not carry even the smallest piece of root back to your own garden in order to prevent spreading. Bindweed can be kept in check by the use of Glyphosate (not organic).
Annual Sowthistle are related to dandelions. Their seeds are spread on the wind and they will accumulate rapidly if left unchecked. As well as smothering other plants, they will take nitrogen and water from the soil. Even though they have a spreading root system, they can be easily uprooted by hand.
Oxalis are small creeping weeds with yellow flowers and red clover-like leaves. Even though they do root where the stems touch the ground, their main means of spread is by seed. As well as removal by hand or by hoeing, one of the best methods of keeping oxalis in check is by spreading a good layer of mulch over the border.
Euphorbia peplus is an annual weed which seeds easily. The sap can irritate the skin and so care should be taken when removing by hand.
Alkanet is a member of the boraginaceae family. It has a deep tap root and is similar in appearance to the forget-me-not. It is cultivated in Central and Southern Europe as a source for a red dye. This is best removed by hand, making sure the whole of the tap root is taken away.
Borage is a herb and although it is loved by bees, it can be very invasive if left unchecked in the garden. It is similar to alkanet with hairy, prickly leaves and stems and white or blue flowers.
Bridge demonstrated planting up forced hyacinths to be ready in time for Christmas. To be in flower for December 25th, ideally they need to be planted by 25th September. Choose a shallow container (no drainage holes needed) and half fill with compost. Place each bulb on top of this and top-dress with grit or moss. They should be kept damp and stored in a cool, dark place indoors or outside, covered to keep out the light. When 2-4cm. of the shoots emerge, put them indoors in a cool, light place.
Activities in the garden this week included:
- Pond clearing
- Cutting back and weeding the rockery and taking cuttings
- Pruning the bay tree and making a ‘window’
- Tending to the sempervivums in containers
- Thinning hardy geraniums and planting Verbena bonariensis in the Rose Walk
- Weeding, cutting back and labelling perennials in the big herbaceous bed
- Removing spent annuals from beds
- Sowing Orlaya in modules
- Removing annual climbers
The cat that got the cream this time!