Greenfingers - September 2016

Alan Titchmarsh once wrote that we would not tolerate a riot in any other area of life so why tolerate it in our gardens. I am not so sure. Nature has a way of rendering acceptable colour combinations that we would not be seen dead wearing. Allowing self-seeding plants to flourish among carefully chosen planting schemes lends an informality to a bed that could otherwise appear contrived or formal. In addition they help to keep the colour going from one season to the next. In our garden stachys, pot marigolds, poppies, champion, evening primrose and many others fill in the gaps, and Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) provide their beautiful orange seed cases in the autumn, which eventually dissolve into filigree cages. From time to time these 'weeds' create stunning effects for which we are pleased to take credit, even though they are purely accidental.

The flower garden has been something of a riot over the last 2 months, and removing the spent flower heads is keeping the colour going and satisfying the bees and butterflies.

Vegetables have been good, though the peppers are late coming into flower. One or two tomatoes have been diagnosed with blossom end rot and removed. This is a black spot that appears on the fruit opposite the stalk, and is due to poor or inconsistent watering. We grow the tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse, so watering is very important.

cyclamenseedpodsThe cyclamen seed pods in the picture are almost ready to spring into action, using their unusual technique to disperse seeds.

The Minchinhampton Gardening Club Show takes place in the school hall on Saturday 10th September starting at 11am, so come and enjoy the display, or even better, pick up a schedule and entry form, and enter a few exhibits.

Look out for the rising full moon on September 16th, which may well be rather dark and reddish as it will be passing through the shadow cast by the earth, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse.

Pete Smith