My Garden by Philippa Thomas

As our temperature drops and our days shorten, our varied incredibly beautiful leaves are falling daily…  Indeed, Is ‘THIS’ – Not Our Fall.  Isn’t Our Autumn, such a dramatic season and as our soil is warm, it is the ideal time for planting…

Every New Day Is A Blank, New Page/Canvas…

Remember, a gardener’s work is never done!  …So, let’s enjoy our amazingly coloured leaves and late flowers around our irreplaceable Dalkey.  Remember too, change is constant – if a plant is not happy, maybe move it to a different spot, perhaps light or shade, gritty soil or rich manure-ish soil – You decide.  I consider, this time of our year, such a good time to plant perennials and when buying them – , look out for plants that have filled their pots with lots of roots and shoots, emerging from the bottom.  …And after our wonderful, past Summer of growth, This is such an advantage.  …Maybe, get out your old bread knife, then carefully, cut the plant in two or four pieces, depending on its size, making sure each piece has strong roots attached, – plant up in individual pots with good compost – in time, you will have multiplied your very own supply of new plants.  …If, alas, however you notice some roots have dried out completely, simply cut them away…  likewise, if you find the roots coiled or matted at their bottom/base – , gently tease them out in order to encourage them to grow their roots away from their rootball.

Why not be adventurous This Autumn, re: planting your containers so that they will last until late Spring?  …Maybe, consider planting SOMETHING that nobody or no neighbour plants in a pot…  In a year or so, if it grows too large, you can take out and dig into some suitable place in your garden.  Maybe, try a black grass, Ophiopogon Nigrescens, (there are some gorgeous dwarf varieties.) or perhaps, an unusual crocus…then, Violas can be more reliable than most Winter pansies.  Small short daffodil, Narcissus, such as ‘stint’ or the double ‘tete a tete’ or ‘rip van winkle’ too, are so worth while as is Special Hellibore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ with its mottled marbled leaves or maybe dwarf chrysanthemums…  Really there is a huge variety of Narcissus to choose from including the classic petal-and-trumpet shape to double or multi-headed.  There are oranges, yellows of course, white and bi-colour varieties.  So, by selecting a number of Narcissus varieties, you can have flowers from December to May.  All should be planted now in bright positions with well drained soil.  If you really want to dazzle with another bulb, nothing stops admirers more in their tracks than a display of Parrot tulips – some of these beauties produce flamboyant, huge striped patterned and frilly edged flowers that last for several weeks, right into late May.

‘Best Buy’, ‘Seed Trials’ via Garden ‘Which’ Magazine, September 2017.

Salad Niche Oriental Mixed – This is a mix of nine mainly Japanese leaves including peppery rocket and Mizuna with a fiery mustard and cooling, mild Komastuma, which creates a delicious blend of flavours for a salad.  These leaves can be picked from November to April but seem to be at their peak in February.  Seeds are available from Thompson & Morgan and can be grown indoors or outdoors, approximately €1 for 500 seeds. – An extra edition of mustard ‘Red Lace’, adds a pleasing touch of more fire!

Did You Hear?

The very first truly blue, (not dyed) Chrysanthemum has been created by plant biologists in Japan using colour-creating genes from Canterbury Bells and the tropical Butterfly pea.  Then, on another note, watch out for phytophthora, which is infecting Larch, Rhododendron, Beech, Oak and some other trees – simply keep an eye out for blackened foliage and a black liquid leaking from the bark.

I read recently, but also feel it in my very own bones that the colour green helps to alleviate anxiety.  …Forest shades and limes etc. are tranquil, refreshing and cool.  Green soothes and relaxes and then a green in your conservatory can link your space out into your garden.

A New Foliage Plant From The Drakensberg, SA, Inulanthera Calva…Planted This In Early May.

Might Do, Maybe October Jobs.

  1. Make a leaf mould bin with chicken wire fastened to four posts, this will help contain leaves so that they can rot down and make leaf mould: – Alternatively, put them in black bin bags with a few holes for drainage.
  2. Did you know that there are perennial Sunflowers that only need planting once and thus, re-appear here, there and everywhere year after year.  Worthwhile sourcing out a good seed packet.
  3. We can buy bare-root Roses much, much cheaper right now in most of our garden centres.
  4. Feed herbaceous Hellebores now as they are developing their buds that will flower in late Winter and early Spring.
  5. Many growers raise seedlings in homemade paper pots, (generally newspaper) that may be planted out in the garden, – pot and all.  This avoids root disturbance
  6. Huge 2017 Autumnal News: Apple Surprize.  An apple variety dating back to 1830, ‘Surprize’ is the result of careful breeding.  It is prized for its unique orange coloured skin and then, pink flesh/fruit, deliciously crisp and juicy – (Now available to buy here in Ireland.)

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

Henry David Thoreau.

“The leaves are all falling and they’re falling like they’re in love with the ground.”

Andrea Gibson.