13 October 2021
Planning for next year
October means bulbs! Perusing the catalogues, planning where to put them and imagining the wonderful show next Spring is part of the joy of being a gardener for me.
This year I’ve tried something a bit different. We had a water feature with a little waterfall and a pond powered by a mini solar panel that never really worked and always got clogged up with leaves and other random debris. So we filled it in and tried to make a bog garden out of it. That didn’t work either, I think we made too many drainage holes in the bottom!
So plan C is now underway. I have ordered some bulbs with blue flowers to mimic sparkly drops of water and to give some colour in the spring. Chionodoxa, sometimes called ‘Glory of the Snow’ is one of the earliest spring bulbs to flower so I’ve 100 of them. I chose C. Sardensis described a having ‘flowers of pure gentian blue’. Flowering later, around June will be Triteleia ‘Laxa Corrina’ with deep purple-ish long lasting flowers. For later on in the year a colchicum commonly, if misleadingly, called an Autumn Crocus, seemed to fit the bill, this time a little clump of white ‘Byzantinum Innocence’. They look a bit like water lilies in the photo. It may be stretching the imagination a bit but I’ve not got a problem with that.
I will probably scatter some annual seeds in for later on in the summer and there you have it: a succession of flowers popping up from February to October instead of a pile of stones and dry soil. At least that’s the idea and there is always a squirrel/mouse/blackbird that may well sabotage the plan. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Now is a good time to divide congested hardy perennials, they will flower better for you if you give them some tlc. I’ve a big and rather tired looking group of centaurea and another of a lovely purpley blue aster that has just finished flowering. I can dig them up, pull the plant apart and divide into smaller clumps for planting in some soil refreshed preferably with home made compost if you have it. You can be quite ruthless, use a spade to divide if you need to. As long as the clump is of reasonable size and has some healthy roots it will spend the winter getting settled in and then romp away next Spring. Give it a good water, trim off most of the top growth and keep an eye on the new plantings especially if it stays dry, and the job is done. Day lilies seem especially prone to waning if left for too many years so they are another candidate for this treatment. Any pieces you don’t want give away or save it for next years Village Event plant stall, the Garden Club will be pleased to see your donations!
The roses have been gorgeous again this year, our Aloha climbing rose (see photo) is full of flower and scent by the front door as I write. Next month the bare root planting season starts and roses (as well as fruit trees) are cheaper and get going really well if bought in this way. They come through the post and look very unpromising, but if you follow the planting instructions you will be surprised how quickly they get established. To avoid wind damage over the winter it’s a good idea to tie in climbing roses now.
It will be ideas for Christmas presents next time, where does the time go?