Tuesday, 15 October 2013

October in my little corner of Scotland

I really am surprised at just how many plants are looking good right now.  Usually my winter tidy up has began in earnest but not this year.  I can't seem to pluck up the courage to do the deed quite yet.

I'm one of those gardeners who just has to chop everything back as we near the end of they year.   Perhaps if I tell you my reasons for doing so you'll understand.  Scotland suffers very wet and on occasions mild weather.  Rightly or wrongly, I refuse point blank to leave mounds of dying and decaying plants to their own devices.  The thought that I might provide snug comfortable winter resting place for slugs just gives me the heebie jeebies!  Those slimy creatures makes my skin crawl.  I will NOT make life easy for them.  What about you, are you a chopper?  I like to think that by clearing everything away - it also makes life much easier for the birds as they forage for their winter food.

Cardoon flowers would provide amazing winter structure, don't you think?  Alas, those huge fleshy leaves will happily keep a slimy mass happy for months on end.  Whilst snails will indeed hibernate for winter, slugs are active all year round here in the UK in all but very dry, hot or extremely frosty weather.  

   

Please don't just take my word that some things in the garden are still looking good - see for yourself.  Join me as I take a walk around.

Around the Physocarpus - there are still a few blooms.  It's kind of obvious from this picture why I just can't bring myself to cut it right back at the moment
Physocarpus opulifolius Lady in Red

Alstroemeria, Monarda, Sedum, Salvia and a lonely little Anemone (September Charm)  in the bee border - just out of shot and certainly out of season a couple of Geums are flowering again

Geum Dingle Apricot and Geum Bell Bank
October 2013 
Up to the hot end of the garden - both clumps of the Persicaria are doing extremely well, for October, that is!  There are a few bees still flitting about and visiting these plants regularly.


Persicara amplexicaulis J C Caliente, a few remaining flowers of Helenium Moerheim Beauty
a lemon scented pelargonium and climbing Rose Warm Welcome  


At the back of the garden there lives a shrub I planted 3 years ago.  It took an age to settle in and has for the first time flowered for me.  Heptacodium miconioides is a rather non descript shrub for most of the year and frankly might prove rather awkward to flower unless we have a perfect year like we have had.  Any shrub producing scented flowers at this time of the year is extremely welcome, don't you think? The clyxes should turn red a remain for while.  It's common name is Seven Son flower tree and has been awarded an AGM by the RHS.
Heptacodium miconioides
Speaking of scent - I bagged this plant from my brother's garden, Actaea simplex - the varietal name is not known.  I just wish it's scent would waft around the garden. Despite my encouragement to keep labels, he never does.  It's possibly Pink Spike - I have A. Brunette growing but the foliage is ever so slightly different.  It is completely lost amongst the Sambucus foliage but come spring I will find it a new home.   

Actaea simplex Atropurpurea?
The reappearance of Clematis Josephine last month and her continual growth has not been hampered by the time of year
Clematis Josephine


The deep pink Aster (another labelless plant from my brother's garden) has comfortably moved itself completely under the Sambucus.  It's the least affected of the Asters with Powdery Mildew.

Still on the scented theme - my newest David Austin Rose - Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton has an incredibly scent.  One sniff of her fruity citrus scent and I couldn't help myself going back for more - sitting on the step of the deck, the drifts of her scent is amazing!  I'm so looking forward to her maturing to an old age in my garden.

 
    
The shadier side of the garden is too in reasonable condition give that we are now half way through October.



The Mahonia is not quite flowering yet and Acer palmatum Orange Dream showing no Autumn colour yet.  A close look and we see that the Astrantia are all flowering again..  Astrantia are very good at extending the season particularly if you are brave enough to cut the right down to the ground when they are just about to go over.


Astrantia major Roma


Astrantia Ruby Wedding


Astrantia Snow Star
Around the pond Ajuga repens Burgundy glow is looking great despite been thinned out a few weeks ago.  I'm not sure how long this plant will last in the garden but so long as I can keep it under control it can stay for now.  Note Hosta Devon Green smothered by some ferns, signs that the afore mentioned slug population is on the increase. 

My rescued pot of Rudbeckia is still flowering - I've ceased deadheading this week.  I will find this a home in the ground for winter.  They usually don't make it through winter here,  I can but try!

These are not the only daisy like flowers around at them moment.  I tried a little piece of Erigeron in a far shadier position than they would normally be happy with - flowering later that expected but flowering none the less. 
Erigeron formosissimus
Another bargain pot of dying perennials - the blooms on Leucanthemum Snow Lady.  These are supposed to be frost tender but I'll get them in the ground and provide a deep mulch in the hope that they survive the cold.
Leucanthemum x superbum Snow Lady
The little dwarf Aster in the front garden is sadly suffering powdery mildew - I really do wish I could find a spot in the garden where Asters don't succumb.  Any tips?

I wonder how many of us are well pleased with our October gardens this year - especially UK gardeners.  Last year and this year have been poles apart and 2013 has set the bench mark extremely high!

I am linking this post to May Dream Gardens Bloom Day meme. Thank you for joining me this October and please pop over to see what is happening in other gardens around the world.

The last picture of this post is a newest addition to my garden this autumn.  A late flowering Kniphofia which will probably prefer conditions in the front garden.  Be warned you may need your sunglasses - it's bright, very bright!  Yes, yes, I know - possible slug fodder!! 


Kniphofia Bee's Lemon

35 comments:

  1. They are so glorious...some I have never seen....stopping by ...happy gbbd!

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    1. Janie, thank you ever so much. It's nice to see new plants, keeps the interest up!

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  2. We might live about 1.30 hrs apart but you're still in the late summer season in your garden Angie! I can't believe how much you've still got in flower at this stage - so different to up here in chillier Perthshire. I usually clear the hosta, primula, geranium and day lily leaves and pretty much leave all the long stemmed seedheads as I love to photograph them when they are covered in frost.

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    1. Yes, quite a difference Rosie. I suspect you must be a bit higher up that us here too. I can see why such a great photographer, like yourself, like to have winter interest.

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  3. A wonderful lot of colors in your garden this October!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thank you Lea - the colour is most welcome!

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  4. I'm not surprised you don't want to cut your garden down yet, it is looking wonderful, so many blooms still to brighten up the whole garden. I like your Persicaria JC Caliente, unusual colour and your K. Bees Lemon, I much prefer yours to the normal orange.

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    1. Pauline, I'm loving the colour of the Kniphofia - needing to find some partners for it now! Persicaria does well in my moist soil. The deep pink is just a bit different and really stands out what ever the weather.

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  5. Hi Angie,

    I chop or remove anything which looks particularly bad or turns into a mound of mush. As you said, they can be good homes for slugs and snails - although you do realise many slugs live in the soil, right? Sorry, I know you probably didn't want to know this... Anyway. I also leave anything that provides winter interest, for photographs in frost, snow etc. But the dead plants do also provide good winter homes for insects such as Ladybirds, so it's a bit of a catch 22. If I chop anything I try to leave it a few days to give any insects chance to move on and find a new home before I get rid - loads of times in early spring when I floor the Buddlejas I find Ladybirds on them which I must've disturbed.

    Anyway, yes your garden is still looking very nice! I noticed today how few trees around me have turned. On my way home there is a row of Cherries at the top of the hill, only one is showing the first signs of red. The others look completely green still - as does the large cherry in the garden behind ours. But I don't think the colours will be very good this year as it's been quite dry.

    Wish I still had some Astrantia in bloom! Mine are all most definitely dead now.

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    1. Liz, yes a catch 22. I was aware the slugs live in the ground but I can't stop the urge to chop! Judging by comments on here, I really should have a little more restraint. I might have a go at restraint! I never have many ladybirds - lucky if a see 2 per year. I tend not to clear up as quick for the exact reason you give.
      Do you chop your Astrantia back after flowering, they always produce a 2nd flush.

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  6. Step away from those secateurs! Your garden is much too pretty right now to even think of cutting back.
    Oregon is well known to be slug country, but I still wait until late winter/early spring to do most of the cleanup (gotta keep those birdies happy and, truth be told, I'm ready to retire to the fireside with a good book by now).

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    1. Ricki - I'm stepping :) As I said above, restraint is what's needed. I'll give it a go!
      I do like to get outside as much as I can and don't mind being outside in all weathers but by the fireside with a good book is just as appealing.

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  7. Your garden really looks spectacular! Don't chop anything! Some asters are just prone to mildew and there's not much we can do about it. Give your rudbeckia good drainage this winter and they should pull through. They'll even overwinter in a pot, if it's large enough. Truly glorious fall garden. :o)

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    1. Thanks for the comment re the Asters - I should try source some that are a bit more resistant. I had wondered if the drainage is the issue with Rudbeckia - I'll try them in the front garden as it's better drained.

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  8. What a beautiful autumn garden for the middle of October! Unbelievable. I love Astrantia, but sadly, it does not grow in South Carolina. Lady Emma is lovely, both foliage and flower.

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    1. A shame you can't grow Astrantia Marian - they are lovely both in flower and in leaf. Thanks for the compliments, much appreciated.

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  9. You do have a lot of blooms - your garden looks fabulous. I will have to research persicaria - it's so showy! And I agree about Lady Emma Hamilton. One sniff and I was hooked! I'm not usually a chopper, but looking at your garden, maybe I should be!

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    1. Holley, Persicaria is a lovely plant if you can grow it. It does get quite large if it's happy though. It's quite easily pulled up so not so bad. Yes, Lady Emma is gorgeous. Glad to see I'm not alone in that department.

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  10. Glad to see the torrent of comments about not cutting back too soon! I believe cutting back is a very movable feast which should be prolonged as long as possible into and even beyond winter. I want to extract every ounce of beauty before I cut back.

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    1. Roger, there certainly are more folks that don't chop compared to those that do. I need a little more self restraint, don't I? I'll give it a go!

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  11. Your garden looks great, Angie, and not very autumn-like at all but I guess it'll start towards the end of the month. I like the Heptacodium, such pretty flowers and also the Clematis Josephine. I don't chop back until late winter because I just enjoy looking at the grasses, seed heads etc. during the winter. It's a protection for insects too but I do get your point as it certainly wouldn't stay looking good if winters were very wet. Don't dare to chop anything down for a while - it'd be a pity as your garden is so beautiful still. :)

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    1. Annette - yes it will turn pretty quick now. As I was driving home from work this morning, the car had a frost warning!! Yes, the wet plays a big part in our winter and generally the cause of plants not making it through.

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  12. So much beauty in your garden rigth this moment Angie. I love the seedheads in winter too. It's also great to see the birds eating this seeds in wintertime. Thanks for sharing and wish you a wonderful day.

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    1. Marijke - thank you. I love to admire photographs of garden in winters - the cardoon is usually horizontal by now but the wind hasn't been so strong. I'm not sure if the birds will eat these seeds but a reason for leaving it as long as I can I suppose.

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  13. What you have going still is wonderful. I also cut back all perennials in the Fall. I can't stand the messy look all Winter. I also have enough to do in the Spring that I don't need to deal with extra stuff from the Fall.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Cher, thank you for being a chopper :) The messy look is not a good one is it!

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  14. Your garden is looking great! What fantastic autumn colours you have.... beautiful.
    Julie :o)

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  15. Your garden looks so healthy and colorful - not like an October garden. To answer your question - I leave most plants standing, but then I don't have slugs.

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  16. I was just reading about 'Bee's Lemon', I think the colour is too strong for what I am after in my front garden, but it is a lovely plant. Mind you, you have a lot of lovely plants - flowers and foliage combine to make striking tableaux, defintiely don't want to be cutting back just yet As for when I cut back - as and when something starts to look manky. I don't worry about homes for slugs and snails since I hope to also be providing homes for their predators, or at least food for the blackbirds etc, but I refuse to leave plants standing over winter that don't maintain good structure.

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  17. There is so much colour in your garden, it can't possibly be October. I agree with the "leave well alone" brigade. I only remove anything damaged or diseased and leave everything else until spring... Apart from providing shelter for beneficial creatures, it seems to me that the plants are less exposed to the winter elements.

    So far Aster amellus 'Veilchenkonigin' is mildew-free with us. It is a stocky, strong purple one and although it is only the first year I have grown it, I have been hugely impressed with it.

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  18. You still have so many flowers in your garden. I leave most of the garden in autumn too. The old branches, twigs and leaves protect the plants against heavy frost. See still a beautiful flower of Clematis Josephine, one of my favourites and the already brown cardoons look just gorgeous.

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  19. You weren't kidding - your garden is looking great! I couldn't find as many flowers in my garden in southern California. Because we get so little rain, we don't have much of a snail/slug problem and what little we have is easily eliminated with a nice snail-killing granule - I guess that's the one positive we can take away from perpetual drought conditions...

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  20. You certainly have plenty of colour still. I am a selective chopper - I leave anything that I think the birds would like to browse of anything where the top growth will protect from frost.

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  21. I am definitely for chucking away dead things, not necessarily chop things that still looks good. You have seen my garden on the photos, some people would probably say I am a gardener with a touch of OCD, but I am just a tidy person. Piles of rotting leaves left over winter, no way! But I leave the flowers on my hydrangeas all winter, I think they do look pretty even if they are dried up.
    Clematis Josephine looks gorgeous and so does Lady Emma Hamilton, next year I am definitely having astrantias, lots of different colours, yours are really good, are they placed in full sun or can they take say 4-5 hours sun per day? That’s what most of my garden has. Good luck with your Kniphofia, tried it twice in my garden, both times it didn’t re-appear after winter.

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