The Weekend Review

Waterford, south-east Ireland, Saturday, 24th October 2020

We are in deep lockdown, Level 5, due to the big increases in Covid 19 cases in the past weeks and will live under these restrictions for the next six weeks. We may travel no further from home than 5Kilometres, except for essential reasons. We do our shopping online and it is delivered to us, so we are perfectly fine in that regard and have little or no reason to go to the shops. We also have a good walkway very close to home and can go for a daily walk while remaining within our 5Km radius from home and we intend making an effort to get back to more regular, daily, walking from now on as we will be less active in the garden. Unlike earlier in the year, the garden is likely to be less of a pastime at this time of year with winter almost upon us and shorter days also. Earlier in the week we had very heavy rain which lead to local flooding; the ground in the garden was too soft to work there at all so it was No Day for Gardening. Wednesday was equally unsuitable for gardening and with the lockdown beginning at midnight we took the opportunity of the dry and bright day to take final walk away from home.

The high winds and heavy rain at the start of the week left the garden covered in fallen leaves and it was our first job – actually, one of our very few jobs – in the garden this week. Raking is good exercise, better than any visit to the gym, and I really value leafmould as an additive to the garden. It is especially valuable as a mulch over snowdrops. I saw a planting method being used by a gardener in a garden we visited some years ago and have used it regularly since: when planting snowdrop bulbs under trees or shrubs, where there is the difficulty of digging among roots, it is easier to simply pile on a layer of about 20cm of leafmound and plant the snowdrop bulbs into this, digging to the original ground level. It works very well!

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Now, a look at some plants at the end of their season. There are still some salvias in flower, still looking well, while others are past their best but with a few odd flowers still showing. We grew a big selection of salvias a few years ago but have never been terribly fond of most of them and allow nature to thin out the selection. ‘Amistad’ remains a favourite and the best garden plant here.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Asters are still performing in the garden, some remarkably well, and they are indeed valuable late-season garden plants.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’ strikes me as a perfect tree for the smaller garden as it is so tidy in growth habit, upright and slow-growing with several seasons of interest. At present, it is showing good autumn colour though the berry-set seems to have been poor this year. Here it is set within a circle of low-growing hedging, Euonymous microphyllus, and underplanted with a blue geranium, Geranium wallichianum ‘Havana Blues’ and a snowdrop, Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

This maple, Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ has been in this spot for over thirty years and has spread across the footpath, blocking it completely unless one wishes to push through it. It certainly has grown on us and we feel that pruning it would spoil its effect. This has been a good year with it for colour – some years it can pass through the bright-colour phase in the blink of an eye and turn a rusty brown. However, this year it has given an excellent display and we have enjoyed it very much – and it has made us more determined not to prune it.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

Finally, another tree which gave a good display this year – Euonymous planipes – a species of spindle which is rather nondescript for most of the year but which gives a good display in autumn both with the colourful seedpods and seed and also with foliage colour.

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributors to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read

34 thoughts on “The Weekend Review

    1. It’s good to give things a trial run at least, Grow and dump if you don’t like them. That’s why cuttings are so worthwhile – nothing invested only time and interest; no big loss if it doesn’t work out.

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  1. Paddy, I just love your garden. I love the scope and the winding lawns, the grand trees and I especially love the acers.
    I do hope you and yours stay well and safe. Tough times…

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    1. It is, unfortunately, the only way to stop the spread of the virus. We must endure it with the best spirits possible – and with alcoholic spirits if necessary! Cheers!

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  2. You’ve been very through in clearing up your leaves – the lawns are looking immaculate. I enjoyed the photos of the acer palmatum (you commented on mine last week). Who needs paths anyway?
    I’m sorry to hear you are back in lock down.

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    1. We must live this way for the time being for the better good. Sometimes, we must allow plants to have their way and just enjoy them as they are.

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  3. Sorry to hear you’re going through such tight restrictions, and that they are necessary in the first place. We had some of those earlier this year, and walking was such a solace. Your garden’s fall color is beautiful though!

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  4. Lovely garden, I am surprised to say I grow some of the same Salvia – but nothing else. The one tree I really miss from my former garden is Japanese Maples (I am too far south now) I had a Best Red Dissectum that I adored. Yes, no pruning that beauty. Floriduh is just about completely open, the Irish are much smarter, I think.

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    1. I’m amazed that the maples would not do well in your climate – too hot in summer, I imagine. Stay safe and well and, as we say, vote early and often!

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    1. You have me puzzled – the cart? I have looked at the photographs and think you are talking about the photograph with the sacks. Is that correct? If so, these are the bags of collected leaves stacked on top of a compost bin. At this stage they are bulky and awkward and putting them somewhere they can be left and not a bother can be a challenge. This compost bin was closed only a few weeks ago and can be left undisturbed for a long time before I open it so the bags can stay there – and they provide insulation for the compost which keeps it warm. No cart, I’m afraid.

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      1. Paddy, in the first photo in the the slide show under the acer……..there is a gypsy cart/wagon in the back, right? It’s black……. hope I am not seeing gypsy wagons or I might have to go off the booze! Ha Ha!

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  5. That’s such a good idea for planting snowdrops under trees. Thank you.
    We have a tiny area of grass and my husband cleared it on Thursday. Winds arrived last night and they were fierce. Yes, the grass is covered again – with leaves and crab apples. You’ve done a good job with your area of lawn, I hope high winds give you a miss.
    Lovely to see so much seasonal colour with your salvias and asters. The Acer ‘Dissectum’ is a star, what a great performer.

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    1. We have a lot of snowdrops and some in very big number so it can become a challenge to find space for them in garden as they are not good companion plants – they don’t really do well with vigorous plants put on top of them. So, when I have an especially large clump I search around for a tree or large shrub which nothing growing under it – and this is quite common in most gardens, I imagine – and then, rather than digging in among the roots I pile on the leafmould, good and high and plant the bulbs into it. It works very well.

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  6. Your garden is lovely. I look forward to a day when mine could be so tidy! As you say, raking is good for the body and soul and the garden. It’s just very disappointing that just when you’re done the wind blows down another crop!

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    1. But it all makes the most wonderful leafmould so is worth the bother and, to be honest, it isn’t a bother at all. I find it a pleasant way to pass time.

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  7. Amazing colors, thank you for sharing them. If only people here would take their restrictions seriously. Even better if some states had any to begin with. Or if they do, other people would stop suing about it!

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    1. It is tough keeping in line with the restrictions in some ways. I will not see my two closest grandchildren for several weeks even though they are only 20 minutes away. Skype/Facetime are not the same and I miss them very much.

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  8. It’s so lovely to take a virtual wander through your garden with its autumn colours and enticing paths. It seems like a very large garden. Is that so?
    Your lockdown sounds very much like the one Melburnians have had to endure for weeks and it was very difficult for them. I hope you stay safe and well in mind and body.

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    1. A lockdown in winter is a bit more dreary than in summer. We won’t be as occupied in the garden at this time of year but will take to walking. There is a good walkway very close to us and we will use that – 10KM each morning was our regular routine last year so we will get back into practice again now.

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