Tag Archives: hellebore

AUTUMN EQUINOX IN THE GARDEN

Summer has sadly slipped into autumn and hit us hard here in the West Country with a rain and a cold, cold wind after several days of glorious sunshine when we enjoyed lunch and tea outside on the patio.  Coffee indoors today. What a contrast!

Autumn this year in the garden began to show several weeks previously when we were still in late August, its arrival heralded by cyclamen coum appearing, their white and pink flowers peeping out amongst the foliage and flowers of crocosmia and salvia. A few days later, the first blue blooms of the creeping plumbago opened, now a swathe of blue climbing over the kitchen bed. Both these plants indicators that the weather and season were on the change.

Amongst the pot of alstroemerias and heuchera by the fence, I spied a white flower of my Hellebore Niger–the Christmas Rose in bloom yet again, with more buds about to open. It had flowered all winter, again in early summer, and here it is announcing itself once more.

Helleborus Niger

Of course, flowers blooming when they shouldn’t, out of season and out of kilter, is nothing new, not in my garden or in anyone else’s. It’s what they do. Mother Nature blossoms when it wants to, when it feels the temperature and conditions are right. This is particularly so with my red rhododendron. It always performs beautifully in May, and again in October, admittedly not as prolific as its spring show but there nonetheless. This year, however, it’s in flower now, in late September, beneath it primulas which flower most of the year where they are in constant shade.

Rhododendron (type unknown)

A stroll around the garden this morning, despite the cold wind but in bright sunshine revealed many summer plants are still flourishing. A clematis and my “Black Night” buddleia, begonias and third flush of roses. There are poppies, field and Welsh, along with alstroemerias, fuchsias, bright marigolds, and my beloved perennial foxglove “Firebird” still on display amongst the cosmos (always great doers in autumn) in full flower, as is my favourite dahlia, the Bishop of Llandaff and my sedum Mr Goodbud.

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I’ve also a second flush on the phlox. Once the first flowering has finished on these, I cut each stem back to about half, give them a good feed and watering, and invariably get a second show. Nowhere near as prolific as the first summer stems, but colour and perfume for a second time, prolonging their season. They are certainly worth the attention. Phlox are thirsty plants and need almost daily watering in summer or else the leaves quickly go brown and yellow and wilt. But the plant will survive and return next year, regardless.

Most of our hanging baskets and pots are looking a little sad at the moment. Those that have gone over we’ve already planted up with winter pansies and violas, wallflowers and bulbs for the spring. We will slowly work our way around them all putting the majority to bed for the winter, taking cuttings and collecting seeds as we go.

 

In some ways, it’s a sad time in the gardening calendar, but it’s also one in which to look forward to next year. We’ve already sent away for our seeds/plants and bulbs although throughout the next few months we will be scanning the catalogues for more. There’s always room for more. It’s also the perfect time too to sit back and assess the success and failures of this year’s planting. Deciding what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be moved and to where and what we would like to see next year. Every plant in Kit’s Garden must earn its place, be it with colour, perfume, profundity and beauty. If a plant lets us down, we give it two more chances. Fail again, and out it must go.

That said, I have a clematis, no idea which one it is, although memory serves it is a spring “Montana”. All I remember doing several years ago was planting it in the hope it would spread over a border that often looks bereft of flowers. It never bloomed, never flourished, in fact I forgot about it until clearing the bed last autumn. I moved it to another place, hoping it would climb up a pergola, which it did this year, but again no flowers. So we pulled it out and planted some spare plants there for this year. Low and behold, this clematis has sprouted from a root we must have missed and has covered the pergola and swamped out the other plants there already within three months. I will leave it and see what happens next spring. No flowers then out it goes again, and this time we shall make sure we dig out every little bit of root. I already have in mind what I want to grow there next year. Just in case.

Happy gardening until next time from Kit’s Garden.

The Garden in February

So, it’s the middle of February, and the middle of winter, the spring equinox still some six weeks away. Yet here in the West of England spring has well and truly arrived today. Gone are the chilling winds, the grey leaden sky, the snow,  the sleet and the rain. Today the sun is shining, the central heating off as the temperature rises, and out in the garden flowers are everywhere.

The first to greet any visitor to the house is the front lawn along the driveway – a technicolour mass of white snowdrops that are self-seeding and thus multiplying each year, and crocus popping up everywhere in many shades and hues of blue, violet and yellow, and with the sun out today, the flowers are fully open. Wonderful! I even noticed the first yellow flower, just one mind, on the forsythia hedge. There’s a yellow haze on the hedge which means it will not be long before it, too, bursts into full golden glory.2017-02-17-13-39-55

Out in the rear garden, cyclamen are in flower along with most of the red hued hellebores; the white clumps are still in bud but should be fully open by next weekend. I love hellebores, the flowers last for weeks. I sometimes pick a few flowerheads and float them in a pretty glass dish of water indoors so we can admire the flowers. In the garden, most varieties always have their heads down. I might try a plant in a hanging basket next winter and see how it fairs.

2017-02-17-13-46-12Already some of the daffodils are open too, the majority of which are the small, dwarf types. The stock of these has been building up over several years as I am wont to buy small pots of them in the supermarket each week instead of buying bunches of, as I used to. My sister gave me the idea of buying the potted ones for indoors and then after they have finished flowering, to plant them in the garden for next year. Now why didn’t I think of doing that sooner?

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If the weather forecasters are right, next week here is going to be even more mild and bright so I shall have to get my skates on (no, forget skates, snow’s gone…) garden shoes on and bring the rest of the garden to life. There’s much tidying, pruning, dead stem pulling, general clearing and maintenance to do. Already there are fresh leaf buds on the clematis and honeysuckle, things are moving fast. I shall be popping outside everyday looking to see what else is coming up.

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It’s such a delight hearing the birds singing in the early morning. The dawn chorus always gets me off to a good start knowing the dark days are behind us. And to think, before much longer I shall be able to enjoy coffee and breakfast in the garden again. Yippee!