This Month

This Month October 2019 - Monday, 30 Sep 2019

Autumn is here with leaves changing colour and falling, I enjoy its splendour but not the colder days or the thought of winter. We are busy pruning and started right down the Lower Garden while it is was dry enough to use the tractor to save the walk down and up carrying tools, it also means we could bring logs back up as we lop them rather than leave it all in piles until spring. Some of the trees are getting serious attention to stop them from being a wall of green, so they have more form and individualism and still keep the pleasing arched shape over paths. It is letting more light and moisture in and allowing more view of the shrubs below as well as the possibility of putting in new plants. We have finished pruning the area around the Oak Circle and I am very pleased with the result which now gives a good view of the surrounding shrubs.

Did someone mention new plants, it just so happens that I had a trip to a specialist nursery and obtained some lovely rare specimen such as Acer pentaphyllum which is endemic to south-western Sichuan in China at an altitude of 2,300 to 2,900m where it is on the brink of extinction so I thought I would help to save it.

Hakea lissosperma is a tall dense shrub or small tree like no other we grow in the UK (at the moment), it has linear evergreen foliage looking quite like a conifer although it is a member of the Protea family and is from Tasmania and SE Australia. It has clusters of white flowers in April and May, I admit it may not survive here but I could not resist trying it. Woodwardia fimbriata is a fern which will reach 7ft (2m) but that too will need shelter.

I bought Nolina hibernica (Green Beargrass or Mountaintop Tree) for the area in the grass garden which is now very dry, it is from North Mexico but from an altitude of 3,000m where snow and ice are seen in winter. In it’s native situation it can grow to 20ft (6m) and is slightly like a Yucca in its sharp sword-like leaves and eventual woody stem. For the same area I am trying Choisya arizonica Whetstone from the Whetstone mountains of southern Arizona, it grows to 3ft (90cm) and is drought tolerant.

I have just ordered the vegetable seeds and have decided to try Cardoon as I have never tried them before and I like the look of the plants. I am also trying one new variety of potato along with the two usual favourites. We are eating the melons right now, not a big crop but the fruit is quite large and tasty.

The rain towards the end of September was much needed in the garden although tiresome at the time, our “lake” had become a bog garden in recent years and this summer I started calling it a sunken garden as it had dried up so much. I would like it to be a lake again but am not sure if it ever will be although I do have one last idea mulling through my brain which we may try to put into action to try to get some water not to all leak away.

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