Gardener's Diary Post

October 2021

Autumn is fully upon us,

… as if by the flick of a switch the sounds and colours change: geese honk overhead in their precise flight patterns, rowan berries glow in oranges and reds. The wind whooshing through the leaves in the trees now brings them fluttering down to earth in all their assorted shades.

The main focus is to get the artworks covered over or brought in – this means waiting for a stretch of dry days when all can be completed and yet again the annual transformation to a garden wrapped up or stored away. A wholly different atmosphere dominates the space. 

As a last act the old storm damaged flag is taken down and a new replacement ordered for next season- the Lyre and the Oerlikon played out…

The Kailyard is cleared of any remaining produce – there is little of substance left to harvest and so thoughts turn to planning for next year. The Allotment too is tidied – the plan here is to remove some of the larger limbs from overhanging trees and a few along the perimeter edge which continue to steal light from this area.

The broken and twisted branches of an old damson tree are taken away in the front garden leaving more space and light for juvenile apple trees there to fill out the space by the Appledore bench. A new harbour (or arbour) of apples, russet browns.

The troublesome rogue sycamore outside the Hortus has also been removed. Maybe enough now to let whatever light there is to get through – again this year, a paltry supply of fruit from the trees along the back wall here. These are again pruned back more in hope than expectation. A few bullet hard pears does not seem like enough reward for the work that goes in to keeping this space.

Wild flowers along the edge of the lochan by the sluice are cut back and strimmed down hard  to the ground, tnen all raked over leaving this area ready for next year. This patch is very well settled now, and gradually creeping further along bringing a welcome mix of form and colour – any bare areas will be re-seeded in springtime.

The grass is now thick with dew most days, and by the end of the month the open lawn and grass pathways are tinged white with early morning frosts.

Blue skies give way to grey and the temperatures drop noticeably. These first frosts spell the end for any flowering annuals which were hanging on, and so the formal beds in the Front garden and along by the Temples are cleared of any remaining straggly growth. These areas are then given a top dressing mulch and a few perennials split up and moved around or repositioned – including veronica, stachys and monkshood. 

All of the container plants have been brought into the greenhouses – old foliage clipped back and left tidy. There is space here too for autumn planted seeds still to come along, and if they overwinter well we should have a better start and stronger specimens for the early part of the season.

Planning now turns to works for the winter – a few of the artworks need some more conservation or renewal, another part of the never-ending sequence of the requirements to maintain the presence of this place. 

As the sun sinks lower in the sky and the days shorten, there is the chance to sit in the little grove overlooking the lochan, on the curved bench set facing towards the horizon, catching the last warmth, eyes squinting – and longer fall the shadows from the mountains high.