Brrr after all that rain it didn’t half turn chilly. We can now officially use the F word. Two proper frosts last week I admit for about an hour I had to reach for the trusty wolly hat this week. Autumn will soon start showing her true colours in the trees now the temperature has dropped.
Borlotti beans, not only do they brighten up your bean row they provide you with beans to dry and use in Casseroles and soups all winter.
It is always a sad time of year when you start emptying the vegetable patch but that is one pressing job at the minute. Taking down the bean canes, put the plants on the compost but leave the roots in the ground as they have little nodules on them which fix nitrogen into the soil. The perfect spot for next years leafy greens. The squash and courgette plants can also come out as the frost will have finished them off. I did at least manage to scrap 2 squash from each plant this year. Last year I had 7 per plant. The cold weather in early June really hurt a lot of veggies this year.
Divide and conquer. Whilst you can still see all the thugs and how they are taking over the border. Take the opportunity of the raining days to settle the plants back in and get out there on the dry days and take out some of the Anemones, Physalis Geranium, Alchemilla, Aster and whatever else seems to be making a steady march on your borders and the slower growing more delicate plants therein. Anemone have long woody tap roots and you need to dig up completely otherwise they grow back. to separate the clump forming perennials dig up the whole clump and divide with a spade, a couple to forks or a hand saw. whichever is your preferred method.
Autumn colour in perennials, we often think about the wonderful autumn colour provided by our trees, Prunus, Acer, Cornus, Parrotia and Amelanchier to name but a few. Before you reach for the secatuers, take a minute to notice the colour in the leaves of perennials. The perennial leave sis going through the same process with the clorophyl no longer being made so as the levels dropin the leaves the other pigments show through. Some Peony, Begenia and Aster leaves spotted this week.
Lysimachia punctata can look dreadful for a while after it has finished flowering but sometimes it then rewards you.
Clear up leaves and dying off foliage on dry days, plenty of pests and diseases can overwinter i leaf litter left lying around the base of plants. If you want to also be wildlife friendly, create an area away from delicate plants like roses and fruit bushes and trees and make a pile of leaves and twigs for critters to over winter in but don’t save infected leaves you are just storing up trouble. Other than that put your coat on and watch your fingers with those secateurs!
I have been thinking this week about the Dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors. It lists some of the dreadful things the dentist did as a child, such as, “poisoning puppies” which is why he is a dentist as a grown man inflicting pain on his patients. I think there is something strange in psyche of gardeners, You spend all spring and summer nurturing plants to grow well. Feeding, Watering, Protecting from anything that wants to attack them. Then come autumn and winter we chop it all off to start again! I am a little worried. Happy Days in the Garden x