My Garden by Philippa Thomas

Our September days are noticeably shorter yet our gardens can still remain a riot of colour and life, throughout this coming season.  Some of us may have rescued a favourite plant from a bargain table, charity table or a particular friend may have parted with a little Treasure that has come down generations in the family, – or, – maybe a mystery €1.00 Rose from a Euro Shop. If I take a moment to reflect on days or Things that have been special or made me feel happy, it’s usually something linked to the garden, perhaps a plant, a newly formed bud on a Propagated plant,-a silky spiders web covered in morning dew, or even the sheer satisfaction of cutting down a herbaceous clump in the hope that I might seduce a second, final flush.  Among gardeners presently, Hot Topics are what has been their favourite plants, then plants that didn’t perform well or even some that were just lost or, those plants that we will try, just one more time,- maybe, in a different spot, different soil, a different aspect.  For other nature lovers, their favourite plant/ flower is, – whatever is out at the time of asking.  It’s almost like for them – seeing old friends again, whatever is emerging.  I witnessed several ‘happy accidents’ / self-seeded plants settle down so beautifully, so contentedly this past summer with shocking pinks and garnish oranges and lemons.  Do they not seem to find the perfect spot that they alone can thrive in and sometimes, the very place where they can attract wildlife, such as birds, insects, moths etc.  We enjoyed such miraculous beauties; especially double pink, frilly Poppies, wonderful clumps of two species of Feverfew, Alchemilla Mollis, and several forms of Canterbury Bells etc.

Finally, some of us attach Romantic Associations to particular plants.  Plants have the ability to evoke different emotions.  Must admit, I myself have been a bit misty eyed with the performance of a few of our David Austin Roses and plan to give a dear cousin of mine a beautifully scented double golden yellow Climber for her recent Engagement.  Another Awe- inspiring Little Gem is The Zinnia Family and more and more people seem to be growing them from seed.  The sheer complexity and intricate beauty of each flower is almost indefinable.

Containers are a trick we can use to play with space and by doing so, keep our gardens inspirational.  Many plants will grow in pots for a few years provided they are minded and maybe, pruned to look their best.

Lime Green flowers can light up a garden.  Green flowers never seem to shout like some yellow or red.  They seem to compliment and cajole and almost have a calming / soothing effect on their brighter, louder neighbours.

Might Do, Maybe September Jobs

  1. When purchasing a new Herbaceous Plant, (and sometimes, Nurseries are selling them off at this time of year), find your old reliable sharp kitchen knife and cut the root ball into two plants. You can plant one in sun and one in partial shade and then, observe their respective progress.
  2. A citrus scented Pelargonium in a pot close by, will help somewhat to keep mosquitoes at bay while you enjoy The Last of our Summer Barbeques.
  3. A banana placed near your slow-to–ripen tomatoes will help them turn red.  Bananas give off ethylene gas which triggers the green tomatoes to ripen.
  4. Remember, wonky looking vegetables generally are so because they have had less pesticide sprays etc. applied to them, so maybe go for those potatoes, carrots, – whatever with more lumps and bumps.
  5. The joy of growing cut flowers is that you can choose what to pick and arrange add in some fragrant foliage and blooms from the herb garden such as Mint, Fennel, Dill or Spearmint.
  6. Maybe, its time to pierce open all those packets of liquid flower food that are stuck in a drawer, that were attached to bouquets of bought flowers.  Dilute and give as a special treat to tired plants, outdoors.
  7. Fresh herbs can be added to ice cubes so that we can enjoy their freshness in cooking.
  8. Beware of old bags of compost.  Compost can deteriorate quickly if it isn’t stored in a cold dry environment as the fertiliser in the bag will begin to break down and be released into the compost – then young plants placed in this compost will be damaged by high nutrient levels.  Wouldn’t it be great if bags had an expiry date on them?
  9. Remembering to remember to do something can be trickier as we age: some psychologists in the UK found that people aged 65 in a room filled with a rosemary aroma, displayed significantly enhanced memory compared to those in a room with none.  Lavender on the other hand, decreased the ability to remember.  So, we need to remember which herb to keep busy with and then to relax with.

Shade

There are various Types of Shade.  There is dappled shade – under apple trees etc., then, there’s dark shade like under a Chestnut Tree and then, there is permanent shade, like under a Conifer.  We also have dry shade and damp shade, just to keep us pondering!