Thursday, 31 October 2013
End Of Month View - October 2013
Whilst September slithered out of reach I am struggling to find a word that sums up October. I think that 'sogged' would be it if there was such a word. October 2013 has felt exceptionally wet and mild. It be interesting to read the statistics when they are available. Although the nights have been noticeably colder of late our first frost is still on the cards.
My stars of the month flower wise have been a trio of hardy geraniums especially 'Dilys' (above photo) who deserves to be better known than she is. She is extremely long flowering and has enjoyed this year's weather. I think that she that she may have attracted more attention if she had been given another name. The other two geraniums that have shone through October are 'Bob's Blunder' and 'Salome', which both have most distinctive foliage too over a long season. 'Dilys' and 'Bob' are both still in flower on this last day of October but 'Salome' has given up the ghost.
I've made some inroads on bulb planting in the garden but at the same time have bought some more bulbs so funnily enough the to be planted pile remains more or less the same size. The special snowdrops have received an autumn clean as I've tried to check over each pot and remove any stray little seedlings that have germinated as well as scrape away liverwort. In some cases I've replenished the top dressing of alpine horticultural grit. I've not been able to resist the odd naughty rummage beneath the surface and have been so excited to discover little green snouts. Leaf sweeping has now started in earnest and will be the order of dry days to come for a while longer.
The main path to my allotment plot is a swamp once more so my trips are getting fewer and further between. The main edible attraction is the autumn flowering raspberries 'Polka'. The plants are having their most bountiful year ever. I have probably said before that not only are the fruits bigger than my summer fruiting raspberries but they are also superior taste wise. They certainly live up to any description of them that you might read in a catalogue or in a book.
Last weekend saw some garlic planting. I'm not quite sure what I've planted though. I was pleased to come across 'The Garlic Farm' at the Malvern Autumn Show and came home with four bulbs of garlic to plant. I sought advice as to what would be suitable for planting here in north west England. Unfortunately the otherwise helpful young man did not write the names down on the paper bag they went in to but it was equally my fault for not asking him to. I've been in that situation before so should have learned my lesson by now. I'm fairly sure though that one of them is 'Early Purple Wight' whilst whilst the other is destined to be anonymous. The two bulbs that will be planted later are definitely 'Solent Wight' which I've grown before. I'm still debating whether to plant the 'Jermor' shallots that I bought at the show or wait until spring. They are suitable for autumn planting but if we are in for a wet winter they may be better planted in the spring. Either way I will have to decide very soon.
The last of the climbing French beans have been eaten and the beanpole wigwams have now been dismantled. I've picked my one and only 'Black Futsu' winter squash and am patiently waiting for its skin to turn colour from dark green to a rich chestnut. I fear that this may never happen but will post more about it at some stage in the future as it's a born survivor. Still much tidying up to do before thoughts can turn to next year's crops.
In the greenhouse the sweet pea seeds have germinated and are making sturdy growth. Most of the penstemon cuttings I took have rooted so can just tick over during the next few months. I will pot them up individually in spring. I also have some seedlings of annuals to get through the winter. Some plants have now migrated inside the greenhouse for winter protection. They will be joined by the dahlias once their leaves or what remains of them receive their first frosting. The spider plant babies that came home with me from the Chester Cathedral open garden plant stall have now come inside the house. They all rooted and I hope to grow them in containers next year.
New plant additions have been minimal. I confessed to the hesperantha earlier this month here and have managed to commit the new name to memory. I bought a tray of smiling faced purple and white violas from our local market. Finally I've been given a well established melianthus major from one of my allotment friends. I've had this plant before but lost it so am delighted to have the chance to grow it again.
Thanks as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for enabling us to share our end of month views.
PS Blogger seems to have a touch of the gremlins as my post published minus its top and tail ie post header and a link to Helen's website which I've now remedied - I think that the bits in between are still intact.