End of Month Review - August 2023

As I write this August is closing its doors and handing the keys over to September; Summer is very much on the wane.  Whilst the days have been warm enough and there has been enough rain to keep everything going; the evenings and early mornings are cooler and the nights draw in fast.

The Cercis 'Forest Pansy' that lives in a pot is getting that bright red tinge to its leaves that means they are considering their options for Autumn.  
On the plant table this little pot of begonias makes me happier than is reasonable.  Sometimes it is the small detail that can make all the difference.  Regular readers know that I love begonias.  I have not fallen for the big blousy flowering ones yet, but we all know it is a matter of time don't we?
I planted this Clematis 'Amazing London' a couple of years ago and it has settled in very well.  It grows up an obelisk and wanders a little into the border.  I like the effect this creates.
In the Coal Bunker Border this aster is always having a fabulous year.  It has spread rather too large so I will have to divide it when it has finished flowering.  As it has not started flowering yet, this will not be tomorrow.
The Persicaria orientalis has also had a good year, it is not very tall this year, but it is growin well and hopefully I can collect a lot of seed from it in a few weeks.  This is one of my 'must grow' plants and probably my favourite annual to grow.
In the Courtyard Garden the yellow table needs a clean.  I keep putting dirty plant pots on it whilst I am moving things around, I should wipe it afterwards.  You can see the large aspidistra in the background.  This has been growing well this year after giving me a bit of fright earlier this year that it had got too wet.  It is now playing the hokey-cokey, it lives outside until it rains heavily, then it comes back in to dry out, then it goes outside again and so on.  I am determined not to drown this plant.
The baby Tree Ferns are doing well.  There are two in this photo, they are just merging together.  They have had a good year but will be brought in again over the Winter, they are not big enough to be safely robust.
The other three larger tree ferns are doing ok too, I have been watering them as the Facebook page I follow where tree fern owners share tips tells me to water water water and also not to water - t'was ever thus.  Newby, the fourth tree fern is dead.  Definitely dead.  No I have not removed it yet, but maybe in a few years I will.
The Tithonia in the Exotic Border are and wonderful this year.  I am very pleased with them.  I removed a bamboo from this part of the border and the Tithonia have filled the space well.
The various bananas are doing well too.  They are all still in their pots as they will all overwinter indoors.
I may have over-bananaed - I just took delivery of these three Musa Basjoo bought from Thompson and Morgan.  They are very young and quite tender so these will overwinter indoors too.  I might need to create a banana-room to keep them all in - my conservatory really is very small.....
Last year I planted out the eucomis that had been living in a pot into the Pond Border.  This was a risk as I had no idea if it would thrive and it had been living happily in the pot for several years.  Anyway, it has reappeared, it has flowered - all good.
The Euphorbia mellifera that is the strongest surviving of its type from the hard winter (one definitely dead, two are coughing...) has formed a nice mound.  I think I might prune it far harder in future as it has been a better neighbour to its companions this year being a lot smaller.
I like this part of the Pond Border, the Stipa gigantea blends so nicely with the rusty tree and the emerging flowers of the sedum.  All totally planned, obvs..... (good job I am not Pinnochio).
From this angle the Prairie Border is looking ok.
but move around a little more and you can see the invading couch grass....
and a little further and you can see the patch where I lost my temper and mowed it.  I am currently considering my options.  I don't know whether to dig it all out and start again, or dig it all out and grass it.  Time will tell.......
Meanwhile in the Wild Garden the long grass is looking reasonable.  Last year I gave the long grass a demi cut in June to see if it would give more opportunity for other plants to grow in this area.  There was quite a drought last year and the long grass never really recovered so I did not know if this would have been a good thing to do or not.  This year I did the same, a rough cut leaving the grass at about 6 inches tall; it was not an attempt to mow.  This year we have had rain and the grass has regrown but not too fast.  I like it at this mid-stage.  Now though it is soon time to give the Wild Garden its first real mow of the year.  I have started to widen the paths a little with my new lawn mower.  Did I mention I bought a new lawn mower?  It is very exciting (well for me it is anyway).  It took me a while to consider what I would buy but in the end I went for robust and reliable - the Honda izy-466XB cordless mower.  I am sure I made the right choice, I am having huge fun mowing with it.
At the top of the garden under the Horse Chestnut tree there is now a veritable drift of Cyclamen hederifolium. I planted a few some years ago and they have slowly spread.  
Pinus mugo in the top corner has put on some good growth this year, I think it has grown a good 30 cm.  I am looking forward to seeing how it develops.
There are buds forming on the Edgeworthia chrysantha, which seems to have recovered from being too dry last year and a bit too cold this winter.  I really thought I might lose it as its flowers were frosted off.  It is currently looking very healthy again - this is a relief.
and flower buds are forming on the Magnolias, always a favourite moment as it is the promise of Spring to come.

The first signs of Autumn are tapping on the window,
or is that just the sound of the wind chimes.....
The pond is however a little short of water, which is surprising as we have had quite a bit of rain.  I think the plants in the pond drink it all (no seriously, I really think they do).  The pond, whilst low, is not nearly as dry as it often it this time of year, so this is good.  I wonder what September will bring.

Take care and be kind

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