There is the slightest air of Autumn hanging in the misty mornings. The grass in the paddock is heavy and wet every morning when I walk up to the gardens.
Plants are doing that thing where they race to bloom, flowers popping up in double quick time as the days shorten and the sun rises lower in the sky. This is my favourite month and there is grow, planting mingling together in the beds. Even the weeds look pretty!
This weekend is the weekend to walk around the garden. Our plots are rich, buzzing with life and reaching that tipping point when in a few weeks time, growth will shrink and recede; I won’t remember it all.
Here are some notes these plots -
Lift, split and reduce the echinops in the long border.
More height - Cephalaria? More Salvia ulinignosa & fennel, verbena bon, asters.
Remove borage plants asap
Collect Calendula and tomato seeds - small yellow and the orange ones best (find labels)
Best plants this year - nicotiana and sunflowers, close behind rudbeckia and cosmos.
Utterly disappointing coreopsis, phlox, snap dragons.
And that is just from today in the Braybrooke Garden. I love this job. Reflections on the year and preparing for the next. Spring is an exotic foreign country now and it feels exciting and hopeful to plan for that now.
In the walled gardens, dahlias are going great guns. I cut buckets and buckets of flowers this week. They need a feed on next week on Flower days, as will the whole plots get it’s monthly threat. Even when plants are dying back, especially as they make seed and die back, feeding helps replenish the root of nutrients and minerals spent whilst flowering. The rest of the plot there is pretty much done, sown with green manures until the beds get cleared for ranunculus planting.
Over the next few days, I will check for labels, use flagging tape to tie onto stems of flowers that I want to lift and divide, or especially keep, seeds to store and the colours. My favourite dahlias that I want to take cuttings from in the spring.
Tagging dahlias and plants you loved, for seeds, for lifting, for cuttings
Any plants that are well and truly spent can be cut to the ground. I am experimenting with leaving the roots in the soil, unless I am moving or dividing plants; to continue to feed the soil and then break down. I'll collect seeds off these plants and save in labelled envelopes somewhere cool; stems added to the compost heap.
Jobs for the weekend -
Review your September Garden, are there gaps to fill? Plants to divide?
Tag plants you want to collect seed from, reduce or move. Make some notes.
Clear spent plants.
In the winter, this view is wide open and a complete opposite to the verdant jungle right now. Now is the time to spot any gaps in the planting, where thugs have taken over (echinops). Plus a crawl around the rows, I will find some self sown annuals to lift and reposition straightaway.
Sunflowers have been great this year and still lots of buds coming. Ditto cosmos, nicotiana and rudbeckia.