The weekend brings a barrowful of gardening blogs and there has been several mentions of the season moving along; that we are leaving the brighter and hotter days of summer behind and that the change to autumnal weather is clearly perceptible. It is a milder, gentler season I feel and more appealing to me than high summer. I found those especially hot days we experienced in mid-summer this year particularly uncomfortable and, at times, thought it was dangerously tiring to work in the garden in those conditions. The gentler temperatures of spring and autumn suit me much better.
Neil, “Yeah, Another Blogger” was ahead of this gardening posse as he wrote along the same lines earlier in the week with a post featuring a photograph for each of the months of the year to date. Obviously, this perception of time passing has been noted internationally – Neil lives near Philadelphia. I agreed with Neil on how the months do seem to have passed so quickly but commented that, in contrast, for me the days seems to drag on ever so slowly and tediously. This is, I feel, because of the continuing Covid situation. In a country of five million we have had over 2,000 Covid cases on three days of this past week, the highest numbers since January last, and this despite a much lauded high uptake of the vaccine with 3,586,658 people after receiving their first dose of vaccine and 2,987,398 their second dose (as of August 20th). We have continued to live what we would describe as a careful lifestyle with as little social contact as possible. Video reports on television of people gathering for various reasons – bars, restaurants, sporting events etc – are in stark contrast to our lifestyle and there are moments when I wonder if we are simply being over-careful, over-fearful but as I write the reader on the evening news has reported that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has warned that “A large wave of cases is possible in the weeks ahead” and advises that it is best to avoid any large gatherings of people. Tomorrow, we will have a sporting event with an expected, and permitted, attendance of 40,000 which will be the largest gathering of people since the pandemic arrived here in Ireland. There appears to me to be chasm between expert advice and social behaviour which I cannot understand.
Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow: The grass was cut!
In the meantime, we have continued to pass our days in the garden with a few good jobs done during the week and some nice plants in flower also. Painting projects have continued as a sideline and as a pastime on rainy days. A pair of wooden gates needed some repair and have had a colour change from the deadly dark of over thirty years of applied Sadolin to Natural Sage, quite a change and a very pleasant one. We have had ivy growing on the gable end of the house for about twenty five years and the twice-annual tidy up has become an unwelcome chore so we decided to take it all down and it came amazingly easy, almost in one great big sheet. This has lead to the need to repaint the plinth…and the windowsills and door surrounds! One thing always leads to another! Of a more horticultural nature, the grass was cut and edged, there was more shredding so that the compost bin presently in operation is now full; the contents of an older compost bin was moved to a smaller on to allow space for coming material; a beech hedge was cut and the autumn-flowering snowdrops, Galanthus reginae olgae, which I grow in the glasshouse were repotted and watered and should flower in about a month’s time.
Autumn is most certainly with us when the Japanese anemones come into flower: The beautifully clean white Anemone japonica ‘Honorine Jobert’ is the most prolific here but planted where it can’t roam about too much. They can become a nuisance in the garden and are a terrible bother to remove if you wishes to be rid of them. They suit the wilder spots very well and are the easiest of plants to grow, reliable and requiring very little effort.
The cannas seem to take an age to come into flower and it is as well that they have large and attractive foliage which, alone, make a good impact in the garden. When they do eventually come into flower, they are a perfect delight and prove that the wait was very worthwhile.
There are a few attractive flowering shrubs and trees in full display at the moment and worth a mention. Clerodendrum trichotomum is grown as a small tree or large shrub, depending on training, but is most often seen as an unruly large suckering shrub which needs to be kept in control or it would quickly take over a large area of the garden. It has come into flower in the past week or so and it attractive at the moment but I really look forward to when it has set its seed as they are a striking, eye-catching blue. I’m jumping the gun by several weeks to show the berries as this photograph is from September of last year.
Hoheria sexstylosa is a small evergreen tree native to New Zealand and perfectly suited to our gardens. It is rather pushed in among other large shrubs and trees in this border in the garden and generally doesn’t catch the eye until it comes into flower at this time of the year.
We had commented that Koelreutheria paniculata, with the common name of Golden Rain Tree, didn’t look like it was going to come into flower this year at all but it came to full flower all of a sudden during the week and is putting on a very good display this year – though the flower panicles are high in the tree and not so easily enjoyed except in the morning when the light catches them perfectly. The flowers will be followed by a bladder-like seedpod.
Finally, Crinum x powellii and Crinum x powellii ‘Album’ are into flower and are a good note to finish this week’s roundup of the gardening week: