End of month review - September 2014

September has been officially (or allegedly, take your pick) the driest September for fifty years in Leicestershire.  I have not lived in Leicester for fifty years but it certainly the driest start to autumn I think I have ever known.  The established planting is not suffering too badly but the annuals and newer planting is looking worried.
I have finally got around to painting the front of the shed.  I have only painted the front as until I get the roof fixed there seems little point in spending too much time on it.  The sides are not so weather-worn as the front either, the rain (when we get any) must come in most often from this side.
I have tidied the front garden and clipped the box hedging so it looks better again now.  I am seriously considering putting gravel inside the knot garden as the attempts at planting I have tried have not generally done well.  I am thinking about this though, I have not quite made up my mind as yet.
The gravel garden is looking okay despite the lack of rain.  In true gravel garden style this part of the garden is never watered, it sinks or swims (without water).
The pots on the way into the back garden are still doing well.  The banana is thriving, the passiflora has produced a bright orange fruit and I am managing to keep them sufficiently watered.  Lawrence decided to photobomb this shot so I decided he could feature too.
The Pond Border is looking quite colourful.  This large aster and the perennial sunflower at the rear have not needed any watering and add great colour this time of year.
This border is making me very happy, from this angle it looks pretty good and flowery.
This patch of planting has worked very well this year and has not really been watered since it established earlier in the year.
But just walk a couple more steps along and this patch is looking dry and in need of water.  The soil varies hugely in the garden and in this border, some areas are far more water retentive than others.
The shady courtyard has not needed too much watering either, the buds are appearing on the camellia and the rhododendron 'Luteum' is taking on its autumn colour.
The view across the Conservatory Border is looking more autumnal too.  There is now an aster 'frikartii 'Monch'' which is giving some good colour even though it is quite small as it was only divided earlier this year.  This patch directly in front of the conservatory has always struggled a bit.  This is largely my fault as I allowed Geranium 'phaeum' to self seed unchecked and it swamped out this corner.  I have now got that more in check, but it has been a bit bare this year because of this as it took me a while to replace the planting.
The rest of the Conservatory Border is looking quite dry too.  The annual planting in this border has pretty much failed and it is a bit gappy because of this.
The Spring Border is also very gappy as it is not fully planted up yet.  It is also disappearing under a carpet of Bramley leaves.
The Prairie Borders seem to be coping well with this dry weather, but the rudbeckia I planted in there only last month have struggled and I am not sure if many will survive.
The Tree Lupin Border is looking quite bright with dahlias.
I have planted sunflowers in this border and they have been excellent,  I am totally converted to these dark coloured ones.
The Bog Garden is struggling in the dry weather.  This is a very dry part of the garden unfortunately, but it does seem to spring back ok when it gets a bit of rain.
There has been a lot of planting in the top corner of the Wild Garden.  Now the threat of impending tree-falling which has been hanging over me all year has finally gone, I can start to develop this part of the garden as I intended.  It is incredibly dry so I am having to keep it watered frequently.
This Peltoboykinia has been stomped into the ground twice by the tree people, but it keeps popping back up.  I am watering it as an encouragement not to give up.
In the other corner the grotto is being watched over by Bubo the owl, he will hopefully weather up quite soon.  I could try the yoghurt trick, but somehow announcing I am going to douse my owl in yoghurt sounds a bit weird.
The Wild Garden has been mowed and is looking incredibly dry.  The trees are starting to look more autumnal as well.  Lawrence decided having got away with being photographed once he would repeat the performance.
The tulip tree has grown really well this year.  The leaves are so large and are turning a wonderful yellow.
The small gingko is also getting that edge of yellow.
Whereas the wintering flowering cherry is getting budded up ready for flowering in a few weeks.
I need to harvest the medlar crop, the tree is covered in them this year.
I still keep staring at the changed skyline now the huge poplar is now just a stump.  It has created a big gap in the squirrel's runway, they used to be able to get from one side of the garden to the other by running along the trees, now there is a mega-jump to bridge.
and I keep staring at the stump and thinking of building a model of it out of mashed potato a la Richard Dreyfuss.  Maybe I watch too many films.....
The pleached hornbeams have come on well this year.  I think I can actually call them pleached now.
The Four Sisters have grown well this year.  The Carol Klein acer has put on quite a spurt of growth and the edgeworthia is looking healthy.  This is good, I will soon be on edgeworthia-watch again and hoping that it gets through the winter (and maybe even flower!).
The veg beds are looking reasonable and I have had a good crop of sweetcorn this year.  This has made me very happy if not a little smug.
The greenhouse is reasonably full of cuttings, seedlings and chillies.
and the table is still full of pots.
Bruce sleeps on the grassy knoll, he has made a nest for himself in the grass.
and the pond is getting really quite low but is still a total disgrace as it is so full of parrot weed.

Thanks as usual to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. If the conservatory border gets really dry then you could consider doing another gravel garden ala Beth Chatto. You could have some real architectural stuff in there and it would look after itself - just a thought

    thanks for joining in again this month

    1. Thanks for the thought, I might be developing desert gardening if we do not get the promised rain soon!

  2. Lovely looking garden, if a little dry. Nice Owl & Ginger Puss.

  3. What a fun garden! Lots of constructive staring going on, that's how wonderful ideas evolve. If the yoghurt doesn't do it for your owl, try burying him in some rich compost and keeping him wet for a while. Patina comes slowly.

    1. Thanks for the idea - I might give that a go. It would help if he got rained on, that might colour him up a bit!

  4. Love your bright pink asters. It looks a lot of hard work to keep it looking good, how do you find the time? Ronnie

  5. Very interesting round tour in your garden. We also had a very dry September with unusual high temperatures, but there are still lots of pretty things to see. Your pond border looks great, so do the prairy border and the lupin border with the dahlias. Nice to see a Liriodendron in your garden, they grow fast and have wonderful foliage and lovely tulip flowers, but that takes some time. Bruce has made himself the best bed in the garden.
    Wish you happy gardening!

  6. Have you thought of grasses in your box? Very good at filling such spaces reliably if you get tough ones.

  7. The Pond Border is looking very floriferous & pretty. Impressive that it's had no recent watering. I love that dark sunflower of yours. I must grow some myself next year - such an amazing colour. I think you can say that the Hornbeams are most definitely pleached and rather handsome.

    I've heard of the yoghurt trick. But I'm guessing the cats will lick it all up before it has a chance to start growing any mosses ;)

  8. I was going to suggest grasses in the box in the front garden - having recently re-visited Veddw where they look amazing at this time of year - but can see Anne has got here before me !

  9. Its been scarily dry, hasn't it, I've been worried about my newer plantings too. Your poor Peltoboykinia, I hope it defies the trampling and thrives. Love the aster against the yellow. And the shed colour. I think we should start practising a rain dance...


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