Greenfingers - November 2018

After a bit of research after last month’s item, it is clear that the hummingbird hawkmoth does land occasionally, and is well camouflaged when it does. Generally, eggs are laid on bedstraw (galium) plants.

It’s well into October as I write this, and from a distance, the garden is still looking very colourful, and I’m particularly pleased with a combination of a few late flower spikes on a verbascum, cream with purple centres, alongside a purple salvia. I only wish it were planned. Other contributors are campanula, dahlias, fuschias, hesperanthus, salvias, roses, canna, rudbeckia, alstroemeria, cyclamen, and annuals in the form of marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums.

On closer inspection, many plants need to be cut back and tidied up, which will be done once the first significant frost occurs. This includes taking up and labelling the more tender plants to overwinter in the garage, and digging up and splitting those perennials which have grown too large for their location.

Other jobs are to remove leaves and debris from the pond, and to replace a trellis arch before it falls down. The grease band on the apple tree will be replaced, and spring flowering bulbs will be planted out, some in pots. The lawn is looking healthy, so fallen leaves will continue to be removed and the grass cut with the blade raised. The ‘ready’ compost heap will be used to mulch some of the beds, including any tender plants which remain in the ground, such as agapanthus. This will free up space to allow the heaps to be turned.

The greenhouse is now virtually empty, having cut back the tomatoes and peppers. Green tomato chutney recipes and empty jam jars and lids abound. And the grapesCyclamen1118 have all been harvested and the vines pruned – though ‘pruned’ may be exaggerating slightly.

A new blackcurrant plant is putting out shoots, so I look forward to next summer when I can enjoy cheesecake with compote of sharp and sweet freshly picked home-grown blackcurrants.

The carpets of cyclamen in the churchyard during September and October were stunning, and I shall try to remember to men-tion them at the end of August, next year.

Pete Smith