Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garden, late summer 2011

Rain poured down in the summer, but pots on the ground still needed watering. And as nearly all my plants are in pots or plastic sacks, watering continued as usual.
Failures in the flower section have been few, with only impatiens failing after lots of spring and early summer colour. It seems that some disease or other has tackled them. So there may be a shortage of bedding plants next year.
I knew that pieris hates to be cut back severely, having once killed one with this treatment. But mine had to be cut back, which I did very gently. It should be all right in time. But it is angry with me.
Like treatment with my mahonia was accepted by the plant as a necessity.
An old pink fuchsia that was rather hidden by a new and very vigorous one, complained, and was given space and light. Its vigorous rival soars skyward and produces a profusion of red and purple flowers.
The two roses have fared well. Typhoon, as always, is unbeatable. And even the weaker Rev. P-R produced lots of flowers.
The camellia produced its column of springtime flowers, and a hydrangea and hibiscus, neither of which were particularly happy, were relegated to the dark passageway at the end of the garden. They have provided the required greenery, but have flowered reluctantly.
An agapanthus produced only one flower, so has been divided and re-potted for next year. But its blue flower head made the red pelargonium flowers around it seem more vibrant. Otherwise I might have scrapped it.
The pelargoniums mentioned, growing out of holes in a tall strawberry pot have been splendid, but I need to turn the pot every week to give the plants an equal amount of sunshine. Resting on top of the pot is a rustic bird bath, providing bath and drinking water for our birds.
To distribute water and nourishment to the pelargoniums in the strawberry pot, a plastic flower pot, through which I have drilled several well-positioned holes, has been sunk into the earth beneath the bird bath. This idea has been a success.
Hidcote lavender provided some flowers after over-severe pruning last winter. Its grey foliage has added a nice contrast to the greenery around it.
Near to this non-colour, cascade the scarlet flowers of Bolivian begonia, Firecracker. This has become one of our favourite plants. I will try to over-winter its corm, after failing to manage it before.
From the vegetable pots we harvested a good crop of Charlotte new potatoes. We will plant up another bucket of them next year in place of pink fir apple.
We have not come to a conclusion concerning the flavour and vigour of tomato varieties tried, but feel that after several experiments we will return to Gardener’s Delight and, perhaps, Moneymaker.
The spectacular success has been runner beans, grown over a constructed arbour of bamboos. We have had feasts of beans, harvesting them for the pot at only about 6” in length. Those beans missed among the foliage have grown too large for pleasant eating and have been allowed to grow for seed and beans. By regular cropping the beans have responded by desperately trying to form seed for their survival and have thus been very productive. We have even had enough to give to friends. Their added bonus has been that the many scarlet flowers have attracted bees, and helped to brighten up the garden.
The grape harvest was a strange one, with some bunches never ripening at all. But the quality of our first vinification of two gallons was with grapes in superb condition. The second harvest of one gallon included white and red grapes and will make a rather red rosé. So the quantity has been small, which means, usually, that the quality will be good. But we won’t know about the quality until we bottle and taste the wine just before Christmas.
Herbs have provided for our needs. And the asparagus tree (tied to a bamboo) gives frilly elegance to the garden.
Despite poor summer weather, our little garden has been a pleasure to the eye, and provided food for the kitchen.