Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Weather change

Couldn't believe my eyes when I read in the newspaper yesterday that Scotland is to experience a bit of weather improvement at the beginning of next week.  We are to get warm balmy temperatures of 20/21°.  Well here's me forever the sceptic and pessimist  - we shall see!!
I must say that if Hurricane Rafael brings us a bit of late sunshine (after this weeks frosts) I would be very grateful.
I've got the stocks needed for the autumn/winter mulching ready.....

                                          Budget wire hanging baskets and straw

If find these budget wire hanging baskets (available from most DIY stores) extremely useful in the garden.  In summer - I use them as a support system for some low growing perennials which have a tendency to flop/fall over.  Providing the plant makes enough bulk to hide the baskets it is quite effective.  Another use I found for them is to have Nepeta growing up through them.  This provides protection of the crowns as the cats decide to roll themselves amongst it.  In winter, I fill the upturned baskets with straw.  I peg it down using either membrane pegs or insert small garden canes inserted at an angle (so to avoid root damage).       

When I began planting out my garden 18 months ago - I made the decission not to plant anything which would not prove to be hardy here in Scotland.  However, due to some thoughtless labelling by major chains, this is has not always been possible.  Plant labels are marked as HARDY.  It is my opinion that these chains use a common labelling system throughout the whole of the UK - therefore what maybe hardy in Devon/Cornwall is most certainly not hardy here in Edinburgh.


Next on the list is mulch for the borders.  Last year I used 'mini chipped bark' - whilst it found it did a great job of providing protection for the plants, please note that last winter (2011/12) was the warmest/driest winter I could remember, I also found it a harbour for slugs.  It was not the most welcoming of sights I can tell you!!  I ended up raking all the bark up and disposing of it in the bin.  That proved to be a waste of money!  Spiders, bugs and beasties cause me no alarm in the garden but the slimy slugs and snails give me the heebee geebies!!!
This year - I am going to use what is sold as soil conditioner.  It is also suggested to be used as mulch, so we will see how this fairs.  As I said in an earlier blog - the Lime Haters have already been provided with a mulch of ericaceous compost.  This will be used on some of the newer planted shrubs and perennials.  I will spread it over the borders where is will, I hope, eventually rot down or worked down into the soil by the worms.  I'm hoping that I can report positive results.
Speaking of worms.....thinking back over the last year - I can recall seeing very few earth worms in the soil.
I've also purchased a few more throw over fleece protection sleeves, I have a rather large Cordyline Australis which, as yet, I don't have the foggiest of how I'm going to offer up protection for.  Further research needed me thinks!!  

I thought I would use this blog as a chance to record the grasses which I have planted this year.  Whilst I always admire grasses in other gardens - I'm still on the fence, so to speak, regarding them in my garden.

One of two grasses which were gifted to me - it has faired well in this wet summer.  A possible suggestion of an ID is Pennisetum - it did not produce any flowers/plumes which would have helped with identifying it.

 The second of the unknown grasses. It looks very similar to images of 'Carex Buchanii or Carex Colman's Bronze'.   It hasn't grown much and due to it's nature I am not entirely convinced it is still 'alive'.

Ophiopogon nigrens Black Beard, seen here in a terracotta container is used as a companion plant to deep purple Iris reticulata for a sping display.  It is planted elsewhere in the garden and has settled in well.  I think this is going to be a 'spreader' so will need careful monitoring!!

Uncinia 'Rubra' - I'm not overly fussed about this grass.  I'm hoping that as the winter progresses it becomes the lovely deep red it was when I bought it last year.  However - it has flowered and has put on a reasonable amount of growth this year! 

Carex 'Ice Dance' planted earlier this year near the pond - has spread and is showing signs of spreading by producing off shoots.  Like the Ophiopogon I will need to keep an eye on this one I think!


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