My apologies for the lack of blog posts lately, but the more observant among you may notice that I am now publishing under a different name! My time and focus over this last summer has been taken up with organising my wedding, but now I am free to concentrate on writing blogs again!
Last week we began the autumn chop back, which is a job I love because you can completely transform the area of garden you are working in within a short amount of time! Last Tuesday we concentrated on the East Rill, where we cut back the herbaceous perennials using secateurs. The Leucanthemella serotina, and various species of Aster were all chopped back to a couple of inches above ground level.
Once the stems of herbaceous perennials start to turn brown, look untidy or look dead, then that is the time to chop them back. Although it can feel quite sad that the flowers have gone over and we won't see them again until next year, the chop back always cheers me up because everything looks so much tidier! Some perennials have had the hazel stakes to support them over the summer. We are going to try and reuse these hazel structures for another year, so you will see them in place over the winter.
Student Steph chops back the Leucanthemella. On the right of the photo the hazel supports can be seen over a clump of Aster.
We have also lifted some of the tender plants from the garden to protect them for the winter. For example, some of the plants used in the summer bedding scheme on the Victorian Terrace, including Senecio cineraria, Echeveria and Verbena rigida, were dug up and taken up to our fabulous new greenhouse where they are then potted up. They will be stored in the polytunnel or glasshouse, under a layer of fleece when we expect a frost, ready to be planted out again next spring!
Now is also the time to cover your Gunnera manicata with its own leaves to protect their fleshy hearts from frost. You can cut the leaves off, turn them upside down and place over the base of the plant to create a Gunnera teepee!
Some of you may also remember my blog from last year about flooding on the South Walk caused by a blockage in the leat. We now have a shiny new metal grid to collect any leaves and debris and this will hopefully prevent any further flooding! We just have to remember to periodically clear and leaves that get trapped in the grid!