Yippee! It’s Autumn!

My son went back to school last week – my daughter goes back to preschool tomorrow.  It’s sunny but still chilly enough for me to be wearing a cardigan.  It’s Autumn!  My favourite month.  I love September.

My favourite month

My garden has been bumbling along, same as usual.  My husband has bought a chainsaw and has done a deliciously brutal hack of a load of shrubs in the bed outside the library.  I hope that this means that the hydrangeas end up being a bit happier – I think the spot has been too shady for the oak-leaved hydrangeas (the American ones, with flowers shaded a bit like the buddleia).

The flowers were finished much earlier than usual – I think this is because we had such a hot, dry April.  We gave the wildflower patch a brutal hack well before the end of August.

Wildflower patch

The plants left are the foxgloves that I grew from seed.  It should do the jasmine some good to have nothing in its way before the sun disappears.

Over the summer, we also got a couple of conifers taken out at the front.  They had terrible wind burn (that spot gets a lot of wind and sea spray).  In their place, we have put an arch and planted a couple of roses.  I can’t find a picture so will put one up a bit later.  The roses we planted are Malvern Hills by David Austin.  There were only a few climbers / ramblers that were okay for a coastal spot and the yellow roses should look pretty in that spot.

Rose garden

My roses seem to be doing rather well.  They aren’t fully flowering yet (there are loads of rosebuds yet to blossom) but the flowers that are there are looking very pretty indeed.  They’re also quite fragrant – the rain has done them good.

Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll
Claire Austen
Claire Austen
Munstead Wood
Charlotte – not yet in flower
Anne Boleyn
William Shakespeare
Gertrude Jekyll – this seems the best flowering
Rose garden

The lavender has lots of bracts but isn’t yet flowering.  This is probably a good thing – it tends to be the last thing that flowers and once that is done, that is it (more or less) for the summer.

Thyme is flowering
Giant fennel

I got the roses from David Austen a couple of years ago – I planted them as bare root plants in February / March (it was drizzling at the time).

Rose garden

Yesterday, I had a morning pulling weeds out of the rose garden – my hands are scratched to buggery, even though I wore gloves most of the time.

Some of the weeds I kept – in particular there was a load of deadnettle that bees seem to like so I left that.  However, all the grass, stinging nettles and some weed that I’ve only ever seen in the IoW but which gets everywhere came up.  I filled a builder’s sack with it all.

Afterwards, I put wood chips down in the gaps.  The lavender plants are, on the whole, doing very well (and all but one are enormous) but they will do better without a load of goosegrass and grass clinging to them.  A couple already have (small) bracts coming up.

One thing that has done well is a thyme plant.  As the rose garden is walled and sunny, I assume that it is a bit more sheltered than the rest of the garden.  Usually thyme dies here but this is looking super.

Thyme in the rose garden

The roses have buds but also, sadly, aphids.  I hate using chemicals but I might have to.  Unless we get a plague of ladybirds.

More rose garden
Yet more rose garden

New rose and bark chippings

Some friends came round last week and gave me a miniature rose with white flowers.  Now that I’d done some weeding, I did, finally, have some spaces between my plants.  I had rather a dilemma as to where to put it though – my rose garden is walled so you only see small plants when you look directly down into it.  However, I have a policy that the children Are Not Allowed In The Rose Garden Because There Are Prickles.  So it does seem rather unreasonable to put a rose somewhere that isn’t the rose garden.  Plus, the miniature rose was a prickly bugger.

I ended up planting it in the front of the rose garden.

My new rose!  And some bark chippings
My new rose! And some bark chippings

Now, a few people (I think including you, Kal?) have recommended that I put down bark chippings to try to control the weeds.  I’d resisted, for ridiculous reasons like occasionally I like the weeds and weeding is good exercise.  However, it was getting ridiculous so I ended up putting some down.

We’d had them for a little while so when I opened the packet, they smelt.   My sister in law said the chippings smelt of vomit.  I decided that they smelt more of someone’s cheesy, garlic arse when they hadn’t washed for around a week to ten days.

Anyway, I spread 200 litres of bark chippings on my rose garden, around the hydrangeas on the terrace and bunged the leftovers on the front flowerbed.  I’ll put more down when I do an Autumn prune; I estimate that I need another 600 litres.

Lovely plants

The other day, I noticed this bindweed.  Bindweed is such nasty stuff – t wraps itself round plants and smothers them.  I am on a constant mission to get rid of it.

Bindweed - you don't want this in your garden
Bindweed – you don’t want this in your garden

However, I do think the flowers are rather beautiful.  It used to grow in a graveyard near my house when I was young and something about it is very witchy and spooky.

I also love this rosa alba that I noticed on a bed on the New North Road.  It looks great, smells amazing and is super for bees.

Rosa Alba
Rosa Alba