Today was the first day of wet and cold fingers while working in the garden, a sure sign of a turn in the year. Winter gardening is not always a pleasure and there’s a lot of it ahead!
We had quite heavy rain last night and for the first time in months the ground is saturated with water lodging in that dip between the grass edge and the ground, squelching and with a give underfoot when you walk across it and, although it would be a good idea to run the lawnmower to top the grass and collect the fallen leaves, the ground is so soft that it would only cut up the sod. Grass cutting from now on will only be possible on the rare occasion of some days without rain and a breezy day to dry off the heavy dews we get here.
Wet ground and fallen leaves: Click on photograph to enlarge:
In these conditions there wasn’t a lot that could be done today. We made a compost mix and planted some hippeastrums Mary had received in the post in the last few days – three per pot which is something we haven’t done previously. I cut back a large potted plumbago and canna and put both into the glasshouse for protection over the winter as we have a forecast of a cold night tonight though I don’t expect it to be especially cold, hardly frosty, but it is the start of the cold nights, I think.
Trees with colour: Click to enlarge:
It really was too wet to work on the beds or trample around on the grass so I did a little tidying up on a bed which is to the side of the drive and which has a footpath on the inner side. I decided that a few phlox plants, a few of Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, some geraniums, a few sedums and an herbaceous clematis had given as much ornamental value as they were going to give this year and set about cutting them down – we don’t have those crispy, dry cold winters experienced on the continent where herbaceous plants can look well in their dry winter skeletons; here our winters are generally mild and wet and our herbaceous plants soon turn to messy, brown gunk. Even today they were wet and handling them lead to cold hands, despite gloves, as the evening darkened.
Some seasonal plants: The metallic blue berries of Clerodendrum trichotomum and the long-lasting flowers of Cyclamen purpurascens are favourites. Click to enlarge:
If tomorrow brings a dry day, I’ll continue on this bed – with heavier gloves, maybe! This gardening work is partly a clearing up of the garden at the end of the season but, also, partly a preparation for the coming season. The first of the snowdrops are already peeping above ground and it would be well to have the garden ready for their flowering. There’s no end to work in the garden – cold fingers or not!
‘Walter Butt’, a cultivar of the the Algerian iris, Iris unguicularis, has started to flower: