So the summer eventually decided to creep out for a few weeks and then set about frying anything that looked vulnerable. We have had some very hot days and if you haven’t been on the ball with the watering plants have really struggled and blossom has just been drifting like confetti without setting.
All of that and now the autumn knocks firmly at the door. It has been a tough journey and it will be interesting to see how the final harvest unfolds. The vegetables and fruit crops have been well tested, with every pest that can creep, crawl, fly or float on a breeze, turning up and creating havoc. There have been caterpillars, white fly, lily beetle, plum moth, slugs and snails as well as blight, mildew and botrytis all entering the fray. Much of the damage is done, so don’t waste too much money on chemicals, just be thorough in cleaning up. If the caterpillars continue you can drape a bit of net over them and who knows it may keep off the pigeons too. Many of the flowers, have taken forever to perform and already gardeners are seeking to bring new life to the borders, ripping out summer planting and looking for something new. There is a strong interest in herbaceous and alpine plants these days, as many opt for more permanent planting. Most centres seem to be offering a good range of plants at sensible prices.
Of course the Pansies are back and in fairness they are still the most reliable of options when it comes to winter colour. True, the Cyclamen are wonderful and there are very pretty and compact Chrysanths about, but they don’t like prolonged cold and wet, so it will be Pansies and violas for me again this year. I have to say the varieties developed for baskets are pretty impressive, for best results these want planting soon (look for the Cool Wave series) but are worth a go. The other winter offerings will be around as the month advances, with Wallflowers, violas, sweet William and more turning up as the days pass. All of that and then there are the bulbs, which are now all in stock and offer huge temptation. I am like a kid in a sweet shop with bulbs and stand open mouthed as I join the carnival. Tulips in particular are a delight.
And finally, they are still bits and pieces of veg to play with. As space is created you can introduce late greens, spinach, lettuce and over wintering onions.