I have been wanting to write about the garden for so long… A few notes in the Gardening Diary page is all I could manage. But leave it too long and then you don’t know where to start, ending up with a disorganised post…

Most garden blogs I follow have been stressing what an extraordinary summer it has been: so hot, so dry. For weeks, members of several (if not all) Facebook gardening groups were seen tracking the mere possibility of rain up and down the country, each of us envious of any sign of dark clouds pictured in another vicinity, and triumphantly showing off drop-covered leaves whenever the winds would favour our own parched bit of land. Only on the surface was it fun : of course, somber considerations on climate change and the fragility of our (near) future on this planet could be felt behind seemingly light-hearted comments. I don’t remember how many weeks we went without any proper rain in my part of Kent. I couldn’t bring myself to let my plants die and I confess to having watered every few days, knowing it might all be in vain as I was due to be away for more than a month. As for the green bit in the middle, the ex-lawn so to speak, it was the same yellow and brown hue as everywhere else in the country. Even the clover struggled. My lovely neighbour agreed to help with the more precious plants, but he too was going to go on holiday soon. After his departure, the garden and the new pond would have to fend for themselves. Thus I left for France, prepared for a very sad return, having bid farewell to those plants I was sure to find dead, from damp loving creatures that wisdom should have kept me from purchasing in the first place (mainly three astilbes, a Sanguisorba obtusa – pimprenelle du Japon, my son’s little dionaea muscipula – dionée attrape-mouche) to acer palmatum seedlings and other potted and therefore more vulnerable green friends (not to mention our first tomato plants).

I left, I came back, I saw.

First, the “lawn” : of a vivid green, and of an endearing though not very respectable height.

Photo 21-08-2018 17 39 44

Then, the hedge : big, naughty, escaped, free.

The pond : full to the brim. Finally, the plants : alive, the whole lot. As for the little carnivorous beauty : it was thriving ! After our neighbout’s departure, Canterbury had apparently been showered by a storm or two, of the generous kind. However, tidying up would have to wait : we only had time to quickly mow the grass before leaving for Lancashire for another week. September arrived and I started clearing, as well as cramming in as many of my foxgloves as possible in the space available. Foxgloves galore next Spring !

The little pond, my favourite thing, in July and October :

The heuchera at the front is Alabama Sunrise (how could I resist that name ?) and its leaves will soon cover the plastic edge of the pond liner.

I couldn’t resist the urge to cut off another strip of grass in order to be able to plant more stuff. Here is the new border, looking a bit young, where my favourite thing is the pheasant’s tail grass. I can’t wait for it to grow and fill the space.

Quite a lot of hacking back and pruning was required. I carried on with the tentative pruning of a box (previously barrel-shaped) in the niwaki-style which I had started last year. For the first time, I used garden twine to try and train branches into the desired direction. This scupture will require a few more seasons’ growth to reach a better shape.

Photo 29-09-2018 17 21 02

I also pruned my oddly shaped Acer palmatum Redwine which is a vigorous and messy grower. It was a bit daunting but I am happy with the result. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suitable picture of what it looked like before.

Photo 09-10-2018 10 06 42

Our other shady bed now (with the Japanese maple starting to show colour) :

Photo 09-10-2018 10 06 18

Some of my favourite flowers and plants from mid-summer until now (the pictures are captioned if you want to know the name of the plants) :

Some babies for next year :

Photo 03-10-2018 11 59 53

Next things on the list : buy some more daffodil bulbs, plant the allium sphaerocephalon bulbs, sow honesty, and… get rid of a lot of ivy (I will tell you about that…).

I will leave you with funny pics of my kids’ idea for mulching / pot decoration and a brave little holly.

Happy gardening to you !

21 thoughts on “Autumn garden

  1. Cela m’amuse de découvrir que ton jardin(et?) ressemble tant à ceux de nos maisons du Nord 🙂 Je t’envie ta pelouse et la pleine terre, mon tout petit jardin est pavé en majorité… les anciens propriétaires avaient visiblement une approche hygiéniste de la cour en milieu humide !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha ! La pelouse fait “squidge squidge” tout l’hiver, alors je peux comprendre tes anciens propriétaires. Beaucoup d’Anglais jardinent “sans terre”, en pots, ce qui permet de cacher les plantes qui ne sont plus au top. 🙂 C’est drôle, parce qu’ici, bien sûr, mon jardinet est un jardin du Sud ! 🙂

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  2. Merveilleuses photos… Les arbres élancés vers le ciel m’enchantent. Le reste aussi pour l’harmonie et le foisonnement des couleurs et des formes. Comment fais-tu pour ce soit si beau?

    J’ai aussi de la bourrache dans l’unique jardinière-potager que j’ai installée pour les filles, et je l’aime pour sa délicatesse, son bleu violet qui est à la fois doux et relevé, comme son goût dans la salade. Les fleurs de bourrache: un remède contre la mélancolie!

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    1. Merci Clémentine, c’est gentil ! Franchement, considérant le temps que je passe au jardin à parler aux plantes, il devrait être beaucoup plus beau ! 😂 Je suis contente que tu aimes aussi la bourrache, c’est une plante merveilleuse, mais il y a des gens qui n’aiment pas son côté envahissant et sa vigueur de mauvaise herbe. Le plus drôle, c’est que j’ai eu du mal à la faire pousser ! Comme toi je trouve la fleur magnifique, un concentré de plaisir, sans compter qu’elle change de couleur, du rose au bleu profond. Et les propriétés médicinales ! Et surtout, les abeilles l’adorent. Vive la bourrache ! (OK, je dois me faire soigner).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah ah, c’est justement pour son côté vigoureux de mauvaise herbe qui contraste avec la subtilité de sa fleur qu’elle me touche! Vive la bourrache, vive la bourrache! 😉 La folie des plantes n’est-elle pas une douce folie (ou une folie douce!)?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is very narrow : welcome to the world of English terraced houses ! I find them strange too coming from France. Yes the houses are real bricks. Are there houses painted with fake bricks in America ? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are real brick buildings in other parts of America. I saw many in Oklahoma. It looked so odd to me. Brick was outlawed a long time ago here. There are only a few very old brick buildings that somehow survived the earthquake. Most are small. Larger buildings are not as resilient. There is a very old historical brick building downtown that was somehow salvaged, but needed to be pushed back upright, and then rebuild with artificial brick on the lower floor. It is really a steel frame building now, with fiberglass paneling that really looks like real brick. Most fake brick looks fake, but this paneling is quite convincing. Houses with exposed foundations are sometime outfitted with sliced stone or brick tiles over the concrete.

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            1. Victorian brick houses in Canterbury can be very cosy – we’ve been here for 30 years! We felt the last two earthquakes – one toppled a few chimneys in Folkestone, 20 miles off, but no harm done here. Yes, the gardens are narrow and even more of a challenge if North-facing. But a good city to grow up in.

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  3. Glad to hear your plants did well over the holidays even without a “garden sitter”! There’s little so depressing and sure to wipe out any feeling of holiday recovery for a plantlover than returing to a scene of death by drought or at least plants beyond a chance of a real recovery. In fact, the very idea of this is enough to stop me from going on holiday in the first place unless I have someone or some sort of contraption (like a Medusa’s head of timed leaky cables fed from a water bucket) to sort of ensure their survival. Then again almost all my plants live in pots and even a good shower of rain tends not to be enough during most of the year. Hope you could enjoy the holidays without constantly worrying.

    Was going to ask if the plant in the second acer pic was a toad lily, but as you helpfully included a close-up of one further down, I guess that it is. What a stunner!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Stefanie,
      Pardon my very late reply !!! My memory is getting worse and I constantly let things slip out of my mind. Summer seems a long time ago now. I hope you are well settled in Germany, I am going to read your posts to catch up ! Your image of Medusa crowned with leaky cables made me laugh, I would very much like to see what it looks like in reality and how you make it work ! Kent is so dry in the summer that I could do with learning this DIY skill.


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