Gardener's Diary Post

September 2023

Change in Seasons…


The change in seasons, week by week, the strange lurches from hot bright days of Indian summer to misty mornings, heavy downpours and then blustery winds and looming grey autumnal skies. There seems to be no set pattern, but things move on nonetheless.

The Huff lane hedging is given a trim back into shape to keep its formality.There are few gaps at the base of it which will need to be filled out with bare root plantings later on.

There is another final round of willow herb control and prolonged sessions of nettle removal to keep these interlopers in check.

Hostas are split and their planting extended around the Seigfried line path edges. Self seeded foxgloves are moved from the Allotment to this area also for next year. Sections of sweet cicely which dominate here are moved to the back of the border next the fence where it can fill out without smothering everything else and so that we will have a bit more variety of form and colour. In the Allotment itself the herb beds are cut back and tidied.

A replacement silver birch is planted in the Longer fall the Shadows grove. The curved slate benches here still need to be reset.

Facing up to the reality of box blight there have been several rounds of buxus treatment with a foliar feed. This does seem to have had a noticeable effect with rejuvenated growth, and so at the very least we can hope that the spread of infected areas has been curtailed. The worst affected area was in the formal per terre garden of the Hortus, but here too there are hopeful signs of recovery. The Cloud pool area is tidied – it will need a top up of new gravel in the spring perhaps as the stones have become very mossy.

The Temple pond is also weeded out, the lily circles thinned out and reshaped and the willow behind the paper boat plinth given a good cut back. The AD great piece of turf islet is reshaped so that it sits cleanly in the water and the Aircraft carrier Homage to the Villa D’Este cleared of overhanging growth.

There are a few more plantings out in the front garden as beds are gradually being bulked out with perennials so that there is less need for annual flowers in the long term. Brunnera ‘Betty Bowring’ has now taken its place by the base of the Siegfried line signpost and the Sea Pink carved wild stone nearby.

Acanthus is replaced in the beds beneath the front perimeter hedge where it failed to take last year – quite a few of these plants were brought on from seed, so there are some more spotted out in other shady areas – beside the lararium shrine of Apollo / Saint Just – where it should establish. 

The repaired Wave / Sheaf mosaic stone is back in place on the entrance path between the Sea poppy memorials and Piranesi stone base.

Liriope ‘Monroe white’ and epimedium ‘Niveum’ are planted in the woodland along the edge of the Xiape pool and bridge overflow, while further clumps of Actaea Atropurpurea and liriope are planted by the Artemis / Diana pool. A suitable setting for a river nymph and mythologies to meet. The entire woodland will need a bit more attention in the coming season, with plans to let in more light at lower levels so that the very worn grass paths here can be properly re-established and underplanting allowed to flourish.

Crocosmia is removed from where it was unsuited and unwanted on the side of lochan to new areas in the temple and front garden beds.

A long section of perimeter post and wire fencing is replaced to the adjoining moorland where the original had long since passed its usefulness.

So here we are again – one orange arm of the world’s oldest windmill shifts, the visitor season comes to an end, the colours, light, shapes and sounds of the garden realign themselves for autumn.