And in blows November. Chilly winds, dark mornings, dark earlier of an evening. And frosts. Here in my little part of the UK we’ve had several hard frosts. The garden survived the first few, but succumbed to the last one. The worst hit was the dahlias. They are shrivelled, flowers and bud squidgy and bedraggled and looking entirely sad. Like me, seeing them like this as it marks the end of the season.
And the erysimums… well, they seem to flower non stop all year. This year I bought a new one “Winter Orchid” which has taken over from “Bowles Mauve” as my favourite.
The plants and pots on the patio have been put to bed, but a few winter and spring ones taking their place with pansies and spring bulbs and annual wallflowers. Not too much to look at now but come spring they will be magnificent.
We have a few containers in the lee of the greenhouse giving some brightness with red geraniums hanging on to the last of the warmth and in the shelter of the drive, the osteospermums are still going strong.
Dave and I are keen gardeners but we do have different ideas and ways of gardening. He likes to take everything out, and store for the winter or buy in new. This year, though, he’s taken lots of seeds for propagation and lots of cuttings. Which is fine, but it means a vast area of the front garden lies bare all winter. He prefers annuals and digging in each individual plant each spring, and then pulling each one out at the end of the season
I don’t do anything other than take out the cosmos as they are tall and lanky and flopping over everything. I much prefer to garden as Mother Nature does by leaving everything to die down naturally and I certainly don’t cut back anything, not even clematis, until early spring.
I believe cutting back opens the stems to the elements, allowing the frosts and cold to get in. An my dahlias stay in the ground covered with mulch. The insects and, in turn, the birds benefit from shelter, food and warmth too. Nor do I believe in making work for myself. I prefer shrubs and perennials that stay in place and only come out when either totally dead or I’ve had enough of them or they don’t earn their place.
Both methods work, bare soil in the front, a messy but full of wildlife in the back. Either way, we love what we do and enjoy each other’s results. And we have lots of photos of the garden from the summer to look back on during the dark, cold, dreary days of winter.
So now during winter I shall be updating my gardening file – I keep a note of what is planted where, how it has performed and whether it needs moving to another part of the garden. Each plant label is kept in the file, so I have its growing habits and needs to hand along with its name. Each border has a name, ie the long border, the kitchen border, each pergola numbered: No.1 nearest the patio, etc. Not because I’m organised and well-planned, but because as I get older, the old memory cells are rather slow and forgetful. But I like to think that it’s because I have so much information stored in the brain, it takes longer to find in the archive.
Now… what was I saying?….