September Charm

An anemone in the garden bears this name, Anemone x hybrida or Anemone hunehensis var japonica or simply Anemone japonica ‘September Charm’ as I have known it since we bought it many years ago. It fell out of favour with us because we planted it in the wrong place in the garden, where it proved a nuisance among smaller and more delicate garden plants. We moved it to a rougher area with plants which could hold their own, fight their own fight and compete with its thuggish habits and it is a valued garden plant there and enjoyed each autumn as it comes into flower and continues to flower over a long period. Back in the original position, we dug it out, pulled it out, resorted to weedkiller, prayed over it, cursed it and all to no avail for it is still growing there though, granted, just a small amount and it is pulled out when it shows signs of any renewed plans to take over the world.

Anemone japonica ‘September Charm’

I walked past a patch of the anemone today, took a photograph – these autumn anemones are very photogenic – and wondered if September in the garden really had charm. Those of positive outlook will, with ease, find charm in all months of the year but I think September has a number of challenges in that assessment. September marks the end of the season, the end of the summer, the end of the good weather – though some might well say that the hot dry summer we have had this year could hardly be called good weather – the start of shorter days and early nights, of cooler mornings and evenings and the first signs of frost, the time of more regular rain such that it becomes unwelcome, the time to move those tender plants into the protection of the glasshouse, time to cut down withering herbaceous perennials, to tidy up beds and notice the leaves falling from the trees and realise that leaf-raking and storing to make leafmould is the next seasonal work just around the corner.

This has been our work location over the last few days. The wall had collapsed, sagged a little, and needed to be rebuilt. We spent ages searching for the roots of a long-ago planted alstromeria which had become a dreadful nuisance here as it had spread to a patch over two metres across. A large patch of Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ was reduced to half a dozen small plants which will grow away next year. A monster aster was taken out, some heleniums lifted, divided and some replanted. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ was divided and planted along the top of the wall and several new additions planted as well – two crocosmias, an aster, a penstemon and a euphorbia. Next year should see it looking far better.

It takes an readjustment of outlook, a little effort – but not a huge effort – to see the garden’s positive aspects, the charms of September. This is after all the season of mellow fruitfulness, of sedums and cyclamens, of aconitums and cochicums, kniphofias, sternbergias, chestnuts, asters, late-flowering fuchsias and cannas and berries! Yes, there is much to enjoy about September and even the rain can be enjoyable for we have had a morning of heavy rain and I have spent it reading a book which is both beautiful and interesting but let’s see what I photographed yesterday in the garden:

This apple tree is the most reliable and enjoyed in the garden. We call it “The Carrick Crab” because Ron Dool, a local nurseryman, spotted it growing on the roadside between Waterford and Carrick-on-Suir, propagated it and gave us a plant. It is a beautifully flavoured eating apple which is also perfect in tarts, crumbles etc. It certainly fits the “mellow fruitfulness” of the season!

Sedums are such easy and perfectly reliable garden plants, easy to grow and to propagate and wonderfully attractive to bees and butterflies:

Cyclamen hederifolium is the species which gives best display in the garden in autumn. It self-seeds about to form nice patches over years.

Although they are not yet into their full swing, Colchicums are surely the highlight plant of this time of the year. Some are already into flower while I must wait for others to appear. This present rain should prompt them into growth!

Sternbergia lutea needs a hot dry summer to do well and I find it best grown in a pot in the glasshouse. It is worth the effort for the display each September:

Berries are a feature of autumn in the garden:

And, finally, a splash of colour from Fascicularia bicolor:

Yes, I think September does have its charm!

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12 thoughts on “September Charm

  1. You just convinced me to give up gardening and enjoy yours. Texas gardening is not for wimps. I’ll save the sweat and be grateful you are willing to share. Thanks

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    1. I imagine the heat of Texas would be too much for me. We complain and prepare to die when the temperature goes above 25C (77F) but, really, we should appreciate our mild climate here.

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    1. We have grown a few colchicums for many years – ‘Waterlily’ and ‘Lilac Wonder’ and these are in very good numbers now. In recent years I have added some more but they are now difficult to source.

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    1. All of the japanese anemones are inclined to be thuggish here with the exception of one, ‘Lorelei’ which has been very slow to get a move on. Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’ is pretty but a weakish plant.

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    1. Ah, good to hear you’re back to the volunteer job; it was interrupted for a long while. This apple tree is between the garden shed and the compost area, the busy spot in the garden, so I eat apples all day when I am in the garden.

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