November Column: Homegrown Gardener

November 09 2012

We are now into autumn and despite the apparently endless rain we have recently had some fine days.

November Column: Homegrown Gardener

We are now into autumn and despite the apparently endless rain we have recently had some fine days.

I have checked the grass every day hoping to find it dry enough to cut. There  have been almost continuous dews, which with the rain prevented mowing. The other day, to my surprise, we had no rain,  the day was warm and the grass was ready to be cut.

I had a pleasant hour working and as I followed the mower I realised there was plenty of colour still in the flowerbeds. There was a lovely show of the dark pink asters, seedums were showing some lovely dark pink heads, roses still had blooms and when the grass was cut it was a very good shade of light green. Some foliage was beginning to turn to golden yellow and stems of shrubs lent a darker background. Are we ready for winter?

Recently we had some new neighbours come to live near us. A house not many years old, the garden had missed out on maintenance and new planting. We had some spare roots and divisions and we offered them to our neighbours.

When I took our offerings to them our neighbour asked me to carry them to the back garden. When there I noticed a long, high red brick wall ran along the back of the plot and I remarked that it reminded me of the stately homes we have visited. She agreed but expressed concern at the poor state of it. We walked to it to examine it and I put my hand on it. It radiated heat and I said that it deserved some peaches or similar fruit against it to return it to what it must have been, part of a kitchen garden.

The Old Red Wall

The old red wall

Seemed terribly tall

to children at their play;  

Its top, so high

That it reached the sky

Seemed ever so far away.

It was built of brick,

So terribly thick

That nothing could make it fall

Each holiday time

We longed to climb

To the top of the old red wall

Now is the time to split plants which have become too large or too old. This is not a job that I enjoy, it seems so messy. However there are two plants which give me great pleasure and I am determined to do my best.

We have a lovely clump of agapanthus and a small clump of pulmonaria “Blue Ensign”. which I believe is well regarded.

I have read several methods of splitting and I shall try one of each so the next dry, warm day there will be my task. Maybe next spring I will report!