End of month review - August

"August is the dying month
When hot July struggles to keep her hold
Moving toward a hopeless chilled September
Pretending to be summer
As if children heading back to school stir the cold from the sky"  

(From August is the dying month, Wanda Swim Strunk http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/august-is-the-dying-month/ )

It feels like the chilled September may have already arrived.  The last couple of days have had a decided nip in the air.  The mornings are getting darker, the nights are drawing in fast.  In four weeks time we will have had the autumnal equinox.  Time is moving on.
and not all in the garden is good.  This border in the front garden is just a mess.  I would say I am going to dig it up and start again, but that implies some sort of planning in the first place.  I have removed several large shrubs from this border that blocked out the light, but otherwise it has been totally unsatisfactory 'spot' planting.  Its time to reassess.
The gravel garden (tiny corner) is coming on quite well.  The  Erigeron karvinskianus has really done well in this dry corner and a Verbena Bonariensis has self seeded itself happily in there.  The rosemary and thyme is also coming on well.
I am really pleased with this part of the garden.  The cardoons were one of the first things I planted in this garden almost exactly four years ago now and they are doing really well.  I originally planted about eight of them, now only two remain as they were too big and took up too much space when they really got going.  I like how this one is working with the cosmos in particular.
I think this cosmos and this purple orach is one of my favourite combinations at the moment.  The colours I think shouldn't work, but I have never really cared too much about what should or should not be.  This makes me happy - nuff said.
These persicaria are about four foot tall and have grown this year from seed.  They are wonderful and add great structure and height.  Wish they would flower though.
I have newly created bits of border ready to fill in the new year.  I want the frost to break down the soil before I commence any real planting in it.
This area is just a cat-decimated flipping mess.  It makes me sigh and makes me cross.  The plants are actually starting to recover a bit now, but it looks scrappy.  Next year the planting should bulk up more and then hopefully the cats will leave it be!
The apples are falling from the trees like there is no tomorrow.  This seems early for this level of windfall.  I am blaming the drought (rightly or wrongly).  Still, the birds love them and so do passing foxes so not all is lost.
My new prairie borders are dug over and ready to go.  I am currently dithering whether to let these get frosted to break down the soil as mentioned earlier, or whether I should get the seedlings out of the greenhouse and into the ground before the season really turns.  Decisions, decisions.
I do have quite a lot of seedlings ready to go in and I can't sow any more until these are gone to make some room.  I think I need at least treble the amount of grasses I currently have on the go and it is too late to sow more now.  My impatience is starting to show.  I want to see results but I know that if I rush things it will just look an unholy mess.  Thinking, thinking.
The dahlia border is not brilliant.  The dahlias are just rather small.  They are pretty, especially the ones that are the miscellaneous Twinings offspring, but they have not filled out as I would had hoped.  I shall blame the convenient drought again.
Some of the dahlias have been stunning.  This Twinings offspring in particular has performed magnificently.  I would not say I was usually the pale pink type, but this subtle pink veining and its prolific flowering ability has made it a winner in my book.
and I need more zinnias.  I have said a few times they have been my revelation this year and they really are.  I shall grow lots next year - lots and lots and lots.
The medlars are coming on well this year.  The tree has sprouted a good twelve inches, it is clearly settling in well now.
The broccoli has not disappeared yet to the hungry caterpillars.  Yet.
The ornamental leeks are still growing well.  I wonder how many years I can keep them growing, this is their second year so far.  I know I should dig them up, but I am fond of them now.
My beds of wallflowers are doing brilliantly.  I am so pleased with them.  I am expecting a riot of colour next Spring!
The pond remains really low and now really choked with that parrot/feather weed thing.  So cross that it was put into the pond (not by me) I shall remove what I can this winter to give the other planting a chance.

So that is August, the year feels like it has turned, the leaves are starting to fall.  September is on its way.

Thanks as ever to Helen, the Patient Gardener for hosting this meme.


  1. Thanks for joining in again this month. I do like your pond and the way you have dealt with the edges. Is it quite deep? I am looking for advice for my new pond as the last one was/is rubbish

  2. It is graduated so that things can climb out, but getting on for 2 foot deep in places. It was dug deep enough to take ornamental fish, but I never wanted them preferring a wildlife pond, so is deeper than it needs to be. I do love the pond - so full of life and birds love it - early morning there are always some having a bath in it.

  3. I'm not sure why you said you aren't happy with the garden, most looks very great to me. I am very interested to see what your new prairie planting will be – the shape of the beds looks really good already. My slope, which I’ve been writing about in many of the past end of month views is basically prairie style and I’m pleased with it although I want to add in some more plants this autumn (transplants from other areas of the garden. Christina

  4. If that is your idea of "plonking" you should see what my front border looked like before I took it in hand! It was a dumping ground for plants I didn't have room for in the back any more but couldn't bring myself to chuck. I've had problems with my dahlias this year too, they have been late and far from vigorous, for the most part, not helped by two of them not being what we ordered. I love your "shouldn't work but does" combination. Good luck working out what to do about all your seedlings.

  5. Your cardoons are wonderful and that rosemary's thriving (but what about the cat? He/she looks pretty thriving too), and I'm very envious of your wallflowers - I must, must get some in now...

  6. I don't know what you are moaning about it looks fine to me - anyway at this time of year no garden looks its best. I think you are doing ok.

  7. Thanks for the comments - it might come across more negatively than I would have hoped, I suppose I don't like to point at the bits I am really happy with.

    The cat is Chesney, he is about 8 months old now and appears to have stopped climbing trees (fingers crossed). He follows me everywhere in the garden and loves to 'help' :-)


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