Well no surprises, it’s been yet another month of gales and rain. I’ve just come to accept that this is what our weather is like now and have given up trying to sow many things outside. It’s been a good test of which plants can survive constant soaking and battering, and this month there have been a few that stand out.
The Cherry tree lost the top 1/3 of it’s earliest red leaves in the September gales. Luckily the lower ones had stayed green and held on. Now they are red too and are being whittled away by the wind, but not too quickly so we are getting the pleasure of seeing these ones reach full red (photo shows them partially green). The large Blueberry has been showing great variations of reds for well over a month now (photo from September, it is now full deep dark red). The Amelanchier and Enkianthus have both turned shades of gold with hints of red but the wind has stripped most of the Amelanchier leaves before they got more colour.
As far as flowers go the Rudbeckia all continue to look good and there have been several confused Primulas flowering away between the violas. An Achillea that was moved in Spring has put on a very welcome late show and of course, the Asters are all doing well and resisting everything the weather throws at them.
The constant wet has meant it’s been a particularly bad year for seed collecting with things rotting and moulding before they have even had a chance to fully make seed. Since I’ve had no time to repair the broken cold frame (gales) I probably wouldn’t be sowing many seeds anyway so I’ll just make more effort in Spring with the ones I already have.
The Hostas seemed to die back quite early this year. Normally I expect them to go transparent and collapse when the frosts come but they did that in late September, perhaps a few nights were colder then we realised?
We are getting lots of colour from the various pyracantha berries which are looking better this year after a really good run of flowers during Spring (perhaps in those 2 warm weeks?). Previously they have been a bit sparse. Amazingly the Lychnis flowers on and on. I’ve chopped back some to let air in to areas that harbour powdery mildew, but in other spots I’m letting them carry on. The large Hydrangea has coloured up into fully pink flowers. They used to be blue in the acid soil but there is crumbling wall cement near them this year which I assume has cause them to go pink. I’ve also finally cut back most of the Sanguisorba whic did so amazingly well in the raised bed this year, even when the wind blew it flat.
The Lamiums are becoming more apparent as the plants around them die back. They look great and Roseum is still spreading and flowering, though I notice ‘Beacon Silver’ is hardly spreading at all and is being munched by something.
The temperatures are dropping this week with nigh-time lows of 3c and daytime temp of 6 and a windchill of -2c so it definitely feels like winter is coming, though today is milder 11c and gusty winds.
I sowed grass seed earlier in the month which is now coming through, but it means I’ve not been able to walk the grass path to check plants, deadhead or search for my little Shieldbug Nymph friends who must surely be taking on new colour by now. I did spot one butterfly this month and heard one bee, but the wind keeps them all away most of the time.
I’m ashamed to say my bulbs are not planted yet! It’s been too wet and windy all month and the few days that were dry we had lots of emergency repairs to do to make our houses sound before winter comes, especially as they are predicting the UK can expect another hard early winter like last year. Instead of wielding a bulb planter I can be found wielding a sealant gun, filling the gaps that seem to have appeared everywhere since last winter. I could do it today but the ground is sodden from yesterdays rain, and it’s never a good idea to work clay soil when it’s wet. If all else fails I’ll bung them into some big pots instead, so at least they can do their thing and get planted elsewhere next Autumn.
1. Cherry ‘Spire’
2. Aster ‘Tango’
3. Blueberry (possibly Blue Top)
4. Achillea ‘Red Velvet’
5. Unknown Chrysanthemum with rogue unusual petals on one flower making it look like a firework.