October Cleanup

Usually, in the winter, the patio is desolate – stripped of all of the bags of potatoes, gladioli and other sun-loving plants which I grow there.   I have wanted to reclaim some of the land under the patio since we moved on, but was held back by the fact that the patio is actually useful, and a nice place to have a barbecue, however, I decide there was a way to kill two birds with one stone – get more planting space and liven up the patio during the winter – removing some of the slabs around the edge.  This preserves the width of the patio but allows me to plant some shrubs!  If you can’t quite see them, the shrubs in question are buddleja!

I’m a big fan of these hardy bushes which are vigorous, attract insects and have a nice, fairly open, silhouette when not in flower.  These particular ones, too, were grown from seed – I have no idea what colour they are but of the three which I managed to grow to this stage they all have very different leaf colours and shapes and differing bark colours.  They are davidii, but beyond that?  Could be white, magenta or lilac!  I’m also hoping that by planting them in the ground now they’ll make it through the winter better than in pots.  They had already filled their pots with roots so they really should have been repotted sooner, but I’d been slacking a little on getting these new ‘beds’ done.

Behind the half-barrel is another mini-bed – not sure what will go there, yet! In the half-barrel itself is an Acer, which went straight from summer-colour to winter leaflessness.  I’ve heard that it’s common for Acers to drop their leaves all at once but I think this might have been a stress reaction due to being in a too-sunny spot during the summer and also being transplanted a little late.  The branches all have little buds, though, so I’ll look forward to it doing well next year in a shadier spot.  During winter it’s staying where it is, though, as our light levels drop so much that even the sunniest spot in the garden hardly gets much light all day.  The joys of living in the north, eh?

The rest of the garden is also still a little messy – I need to figure out what to do with the pile of decorative slabs!  The sunflowers are still doing pretty well and I’m even managing to grow some ‘small’ green stuff again.  The slugs must be starting to hibernate! Mwuhaha.

‘Dragon’s Tongue’ in the foreground, mibuna way at the back and I have no idea what’s in the middle as I seem to have lost the label – probably ‘Green Wave’ mustard greens.  Next to them is the late daikon I put in – it seems to be doing well and despite being grown outside of the cloche the slugs don’t seem to have looked at it much – guess they don’t like the taste!

This little geranium is still trying hard, despite the cool nights –

Oddly, it’s blooming pink – it was blooming deep red a month or two back!  Maybe the cold, whilst not killing it off, is affecting the colours of the flowers?  Or maybe the nutrients in the soil are less available in the cooler weather.

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