It ends as it begins with a storm lashing through bringing high winds and rain. Earlier in the month the rain is welcome, a momentary reprieve for dried up watercourses, but too late to revive much of the planting already gone over. By the end it really looks and feels like autumn with temperatures dropping, the trees shedding their leaves and being blown about all over the place.
For the most part it is the same pattern as before – dry grey days, some scatterings of sunshine. The Dieppe sheds in the Kailyard are given a fresh coat of paint to see them through the coming months and survive another year. The felt footing on these will also need replaced as soon as possible to keep them weathertight as leaks are starting to show through, though somehow they still defy the elements. The Claudi Bridge and Fractured Cube form are repainted their various shades of pink – the bridge in particular now is ageing pretty badly and will need further structural attention.
The raspberry beds in the Kailyard and Front garden are cleared out of camomile underplanting – there are plenty of seeds already in the ground for a repeat next year. Some of the straggly growth of rosa rugosa is cleared back around here also to try to keep these spaces looking a bit more formal.
In the Wild Garden by the Synthesis stile the brambles are ripening dark berry fruits. These are now at the stage of needing to be kept in check as they throw out suckers and are pushing into the long grassy area by the Waves Sheaves inscribed stone. This same area is cleared of the remains of rose bay willow herb. Having been decapitated earlier in the season it is not so dominant or apparent. Pulling it out by the roots keeps space looking as much as possible as a clear and uninterrupted flowing grass sea.
Though much colour has disappeared we can see the bright points of devils bit scabious punctuating the hillside. The heather has finished, gone over into russety browns, while some areas of loosestrife by the lochan continue to present purple upright accented hues.
Foxgloves are moved to act as a planted pun around the ‘sea pink’ wild stone where it is too shady now for thrift itself, and a further drift of foxgloves down from the panpipes ‘Virtue is Harmony’ where they will hopefully bring colour to another area of dappled light.
Some ferns and a few stray yews from elsewhere in the garden are moved and planted around the ‘Holzwege woodpath’ to make this area and the inscribed plinths even more camouflaged – each of the posts and the revelation of its meaning thus coming as more of a surprise.
In the fields adjacent to the Parkland some large overhanging limbs are cut back. The damson trees in the Front garden are also given a similar cut back, allowing more light to come in here especially to the formal patio areas where the Appledore and Capability Brown benches are found.
In the Parkland itself the blackcurrants which form the serpentine path in the middle of the lawn are cleared around the base and given a top dressing of a seaweed based soil improver. They have not looked particularly happy here this year and struggled to produce fruit. Perhaps the prevailing conditions were also against them. By the old metal gate into the field more oxeye daisy are planted in the grass to form a floral bank. The gate is no longer needed or used, gradually decaying with the passage of time and so the surrounding trees and shrubs are left to fill out and naturalise there.
The ponds and lochan still get cleared out from the never ending supply of weed replenishing itself. The problematic sequence of leaks or not enough water supply is still to be dealt with to keep all looking as well as possible.
So the visitor season draws to a close and the garden returns to itself. A new set of seasonal tasks lies ahead.