I’m so excited! (Sad middle-aged woman, doesn’t get out much.) I’ve bought a large heated propagator and David has fixed up my smaller ones so I now have 5 on the go! The perennials must be quaking in their boots as I have been prowling around, secateurs in hand, eyes narrowed, snipping off as many non-flowering shoots as I could find. I have even dug out (haha, no pun intended) some (stale) organic rooting powder and added vermiculite to my potting compost to give them the best start in life.
First though I had to clean the greenhouse and covert it from summer to autumn function: Everything out, chillies, tomatoes and cucamelons harvested, plants composted (that’s a lie, they will be composted, but by the council, am ashamed to admit I don’t have a compost heap – I AM NOT A REAL GARDENER). Plant food, seed tins, storage boxes and general detritus out, staging and flooring swept. Someone please tell me why it is only now that the curcuma bulbs have sent up new growth, stuffed as they are into a dark corner, as no amount of encouragement during the summer had any effect?
So there I was pottering about when out of the corner of my eye a creature, at first thought a frog, threw itself against the greenhouse door before beating a hasty retreat to safety. As I suspected, the mice are back! Small burrows are appearing in the soil of the raised tomato trough, surrounded by straw and bird seed. (You have to admire their tenacity; they have gnawed a serrated circle and a mouse hole through the lid of the plastic storage bin – he who dares wins, I say.) In honour of their return I have even bought a small resin statue of a mouse.
It’s all change on the patio too. I got bored waiting for the begonias to die down so I pulled them up to dry their corms for overwintering. Turfed out the spent soil as mulch onto the back of the dry border where the cornus go to die. Crammed T & M Jonquilla daffs into every pot: Martinette, Pipit, Pueblo and Green Eyed Lady. Don’t think I have bought enough! Must have more, more, more! Breath…………..Without the colourful annuals the patio has transformed from exotic terrace to shady glen; the ferns really come into their own at this time of year, and I’ve added T & M Blechnum brasiliense Volcano to the mix, which has been growing on in the greenhouse since The Triallist’s Open Day, waiting for its new home. Sadly most of the heucheras have come away in my hands, their roots eaten by the dreaded vine weevil (Note to self, try nematodes next year, the chemical drench lied.) I’ve put all five FUCHSIA fuchsiaberries together in one huge pot in the hope that they will establish and make more of an impact next summer, as they never really got going this year. More sun I think.
Talking of sun (good link, huh!) David and I did actually manage to have a holiday last month after all. We went to stay with our old friends-&-neighbours who have moved to Manaccan, a village – in the middle of nowhere, sorry B & P – on the Lizard peninsula in south Cornwall. (And just as fellow blogger Amanda found with her bedfellows in hospital, one of the first people we were introduced to was a keen gardener who buys from T & M and reads the blogs!) First thing I noticed was how echium are growing en masse in Bob’n’Patti’s garden, so much so that their gardener pulls’em up like weeds! They have a patch of ginger 6ft tall and 5ft round and perennial aeoniums the size of dinner plates. All of which they inherited from the previous owners.
We visited Helston Museum, one of the largest folk museums in the South West, with a vast social history collection dating from the 18th to the 20th century. My attention was naturally drawn to the gardening exhibits, some of which looked eerily like the contents of my shed, the implication being that I too am a relic!
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens could have been on Madeira, if it wasn’t for the tell-tale view of St Michael’s Mount in the bay. Trebah Gardens was a revelation! A grand colonial style whitewashed mansion sits on the brow of the hill, overlooking the panoramic sweep of Hydrangea Valley, full of blue hydrangeas, towering palms, gunnera, tree ferns (also growing like weeds) and towering bamboo, as it slopes down to the sea. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in some sub-tropical paradise. It reminded me of a tea plantation (not that I’ve ever been to one you understand but I have watched Indian Summers).
Having visited RHS Hyde Hall in Essex shortly after our return (needed another horticultural fix before the winter) I was bowled over by the swathes of grasses and prairie planting. All three gardens are breath-taking in their scale, but completely contrasting in environmental conditions and planting styles. England certainly punches above its weight when it comes to its wealth of different terrains! (My uncle used to say I had swallowed a dictionary when he read my A level essays.)
So back at Chez Broome autumn has taken hold, but nobody has told the hanging baskets! The new T&M bidens is having a late flush (know how it feels) although for some strange reason the flowers are all white this time, instead of pink tinged. Petunia ‘Crazytunia Mandevilla’ and Minitunia calibrachoa ‘Crackerjack’ just keep on going so I just keep on feeding. The lime green, black and caramel coloured foliage of ipomaea are going for it in the shade so I’ll just leave them all to it!
Oh, and reader, we won: London Gardens Society Best Small Back Garden 2016. How about that!
Congrats on winning the award. I am sure your garden with your combined efforts really paid off. I think locally we could be in the running for something Like this. Although it is a bit of a brainstorming that created it in the first place. It sort of 3 gardens in one if you follow. We like it and everyone who visits seems to like and enjoy it.
Its got to the point where we ourselves dont really notice it (Well we see it everyday) but everybody else loves it. Must admit since my bad fall some 2 years ago the wife does much more than I do. She really does enjoy gardening. I would love to do more however its really a case of not being able to.
Keep up the good work all of you.
Warmest regards to all readers.
Thank you for your comments, Caroline is a real inspiration to us all. I am sorry to hear you had a bad fall, it does sound as if you really did hurt yourself. At least your wife enjoys gardening, and it sounds like you have a wonderful outdoor space to enjoy. If you ever feel like writing about your/your wifes gardening exploits we would love to hear them. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org it would be a pleasure to welcome you to our blogging community. Kindest regards, Wendie
Congratulations on winning your LGS Small Back Garden ! It looks stunning.Loving your Ricinus – they are essential annuals in our garden too and we have had our best ever year with them this year.
I share your pain about the mice… got the t shirt for that !
Many thanks for your comments, we all love Caroline’s blogs, they are a fun read. Kind regards, Wendie
Congratulations on winning best small back garden!! Thanks for a great read, it’s nice to see pictures of gardens when your on holiday too. Thank you for the mention too, it is still a strange feeling when someone says they read my blogs. Xx
Hope you are doing okay? Both your blogs are great, we are very lucky to have you both. Take care, Wendie
Hello there Amanda, I have a veritable library of photos from gardens we visit when on holiday in the UK but I think Cornwall has been a revelation because it’s so different. Next spring we hope to visit friends in Cyprus so that will be another new experience in terms of gardening. Hope you are keeping well, treatment not too grim, and still enjoying the fruits of your (partner’s and Mum’s) labours. Am onto my third apple and blackberry pie this fortnight…..all love Cx
Loved reading this – as Michela said, really funny! That back garden is dreamy. Inspiration right there!
Many thanks for your comments. Yes Caroline’s blog is very funny. Her garden won the London Garden Society’s Best Back Garden. I would love to visit there, I’m sure we could get a tour one day! Kind regards, Wendie
Hurrah, well done, I am proud to be your friend.
Ps The blog was quite good too!
Thank you for your comments, I have to agree, it is a good blog. If you ever feel like blogging for us, please email me at email@example.com. We would love to hear your gardening stories. Kind regards, Wendie
Why thank you Hilde, that’s lovely. Wait ’til you see our CUP, its huge! cx
it is the first time I find 5 minutes to read your entire blog….it is so funny!
Congratulations again for the prize, you are great!
Thank you for your comments, I agree Caroline’s blogs are really funny. She has a really great way of writing. If you would like to blog for us please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org many thanks, Wendie