Gardener's Diary Post

October 2023

Change in Seasons…


The skies grey, the leaves golden. There are stormy days but no substantial damage though at times it really does feel like we are in the midst of a billowing sea.

By now most of the artworks have been brought into storage or covered before weather truly turns against us – and the annual transition of objects to anonymity is complete.

In the greenhouses the benches are lined with next year’s pottings, and all of the container plants are brought in – the defence of terracotta. A little protection at least is afforded by coming indoors.

New packaging and covers are needed for some pieces which have succumbed to the elements after several harsh winters. But these will have to wait as struggling in squally winds and rain to wrap an obelisk is a very ungainly exercise.

The high winds have meant that we have lost some limbs and lots of smaller branches throughout the garden, along with all of the leaf litter, but days will change, there will be the chance again to get all back into order. There are some frosty starts as well and the water is gushing through its courses, however there is no flooding and the new drainage in the Parkland can now be seen to be fully effective.

The area around the Diana / Artemis pool is cleared where it had become straggly and overgrown, and the pool edge is planted up with primula vialli (the orchid primrose) which should bring brightness to an area of dappled shade. This in turn is a half planted pun on Joseph Agricol Viala – the child hero of the French Revolution who Finlay referenced in several works. A suggestion that planting here can be as much an association or placement of ideas as a horticultural arrangement.

Euonymous europaeus ‘red cascade’ is planted by the  1794 urn pedestal in the wild garden, cowslips are split and extended into the woodland edge in drifts.

There is more perimeter and groundcover planting – pachysandra in shady areas of the woodland garden and epimedium tucked into other bare spots under trees.

Acanthus is planted by the curved wooden bench ‘a delightful spot under chosen trees’, and by the Top pond near to the half buried Corinthian capital on edge of Pantheon.

It is approaching the time of year for bare root planting also – spindle and blackthorn are planned as an irregular windbreak along the bleak western boundary line of the wild garden. Seeds are ordered and new arrangements readied.

Bulbs are planted – white flowering dog’s tooth violets by the entrance to the AD grotto and Narcissus ‘Petrel’ in a loose nod to the Elegy bench at the edge of the lochan.

So even though it feels like a barren time of year, there is still plenty going on – in the mind’s eye the garden is already being seen as it might appear next year.