What a busy few weeks we have had! There has been light relief in the form of friends visiting, and a few sunny days spent on the beach, but otherwise we have just been working away in the garden.
All the areas of long grass that we left as meadow need to be cut back, and we hadn’t realised what a big job this would be. Each area is strimmed to get most of the height off, but that leaves a very uneven surface. The loose grass has to be raked into rows, then piles, then barrowed away. I run the mower over with the blades set high, and collect the clippings so as not to enrich the soil too much. It needs to be poor soil to encourage wildflowers. And that is a lot of clippings. Then I drop the blades and cut it again. Finally it can be left to green up over the winter.
Remember my gorgeous rose arch that I bought for my birthday? Well, I have now built a set of steps beneath it out of stone from the garden, and I am very pleased with them. The nine bigger stones were originally an edging to a border, which I am changing, and all the rest have been dug up from the soil. Did I mention I have stony soil??? I have planted a lavender and a Penstemon each side, and now just need to lay the path beyond, which is currently just a loose heap of stones.
The other big project we have been working on is digging out the roots of the enormous patch of Rosa rugosa that dominated the centre of the garden. And finally…it is done, after hours and hours and hours of hard digging. The picture below shows the last clump to be dug up, which is in the centre of the original patch. It extended as far again beyond that clump. Now the top half just needs to be levelled and raked over to match the bottom half, and it can be seeded to a lawn. It is such a relief to have finally dug it out, and any regrowth can now be sprayed off, or mown over.
The other two patches of rose that we have left are covered in gorgeous hips, and the occasional late flower. It is a nice plant, just such a thug!
The fuchsias are at their best, but I don’t have much variety, just this large-flowered one plus some magellanica.
This Cistus x dansereaui ‘Decumbens’ is one I only planted recently, but it is obviously happy as it has produced a very late bloom for me!
I have a very statuesque clump of Acanthus on the centre of the flower bed. I find it an underwhelming plant, but it fills a gap that would otherwise be full of weeds, so it can stay, for now.
My favourite surprise of the late summer has to be a lovely display of Schizostylis that I hadn’t spotted until they flowered, as I assumed that their foliage was just more Crocosmias. They are super flowers, especially at this time of year when many things are looking tired.
Now I am off to spend a week working on Lundy as a conservation volunteer…a bit of a busman’s holiday, I feel, and if they ask me to dig out any rose bushes I shall scream!!