"The approach of autumn herald in the closing stages of Nature's amazing fruitfulness, but there is here no cause for sorrow. Everlasting sunshine can be as boring as a wet day in Manchester continued indefintily. Now that it is upon us we welcome it's softer light and shade, it's glories of russet and amber, even the slight nip in the air revives the spirit and gently prepares us for the sterner months". Percy C. Cane on Garden Design. 1936.
I've got a new favourite book! Inspiring me to embrace this season. I am pulled to the spots in the garden where the warm sun rests, catching the light; seizing every possible bright moment between the now too often shivers in the shadows.
This week, in my delivery notes, I said that the gardens looked a little like the after party of the night before, with plants, like guests falling down asleep one after the other. The abundance of the late summer has retreated - and I'm clearing more and more crops. We have plenty in the polytunnel coming on to plant out in the next few weeks to replace them. Remember, cover, cover, cover the soil. Be it with mulch, cardboard or more ideally plants.
Jobs for the Weekend -
Collect seeds now. Dry out on a warm bench before storing - or ideally sow now if annuals. Mine are still germinating.I am collecting Nicandra, panicum, calendula, echinops.
Cut, bundle and hang stems to dry.Tricky to do this late when we have damp mornings and showers. If stems are wet, they won't dry nicely. Exposing stems by clearing around those you want to keep will help the sun get to them on a bright afternoon. I am still gathering panicum frosted explosion to dry as it is so useful over the winter.
Bringing plants inside. The beds and borders are too full of plants still to plant out bulbs so I'm making up pots from where I have lifted tender plants. This weekend I will bring in the house plants, succulents and pelargoniums that have holidayed all summer outside. I'm also gathering in the last tomatoes - what a fantastic harvest we've had (after last year's blight and not a single one to be picked). I'll move the late autumn chrysanthemums, which have sat sunbathing in bed B3
Salvias, penstemons and pelargoniums with nicandra before I cleared the pots.
Same pots just planted in May.
An embarrassment of riches and picking often too late but delicious nonetheless! Best harvest in years.
Late Autumn flowering chrysanthemums. Planted in pots and now need to be moved under cover. Rain and wind will ruin them. I tried them in the tunnel one year and they reached the roof before they flowered. Summer outside grows stronger shorted plants, less foilage and more flowers.
One for the compost fans - the new compost cake created last week reached 60 degrees - ideal for killing off seeds but not too high to destroy beneficial bacteria and fungi.
Seed & dried stem station