It’s interesting to compare photos taken on the same date in consecutive years. Last year the Acer had shed its leaves, the orange dahlia had stopped flowering and the Amaryllis which this year have been finished a week or more, were still performing.
Other differences, like the shrub that is no longer in front of the conifer and the bamboo that is no longer at the back of the bed in the foreground, are because of my actions during the year. With the growing season winding down, I am planning the things that I want to do for next year.
It’s a list of small things. There is a small area just out of shot to the right in the picture above which we see from the house, through the glasshouse. It’s currently overrun with a rather uninteresting Persicaria. That’s the biggest item. The rest is about doing what I have done this year, but doing it better. Sort out the dahlias into more coherent colour groupings. Use more Fuchsias to carry the flowering season into the autumn. Contain the hydrangeas without losing flower.
The nerines are winding down now, as are both dahlias and fuchsias. I have a couple of dahlias that are still flowering quite well, like Cheyenne here. It’s best not to look too closely though as its foliage is pretty skanky. I cut down nearly all the others this morning. The smaller ones I will lift, the bigger ones cover with a pile of leaves. As the flowers fade, the more understated colours of evergreens and grasses come into their own. I especially value Miscanthus and Hakonechloa for carrying their warm tones deep into the winter, sometimes as late as February.
This picture features four New Zealanders that now come to prominence. Astelia chathamica is a wonderful plant, so much better than Phormium. Pittosporum Elizabeth is now 5 or 6 metres tall and turning from a bush into a small evergreen tree. The dark red at the bottom is a Coprosma, one of two very colourful forms that we have and which are proving reasonably hardy. The fourth is Muehlenbeckia astonii, which is tucked in between the Hedychium and Hesperantha. Its bare divaricate stems are very different from anything else I grow and even without a display of colour at any time of year, is a great plant to grow.
It feels like a turning point in the year, all the flowery stuff winding down and a long time until it all starts up again in the spring. I don’t really understand the people who say that autumn is their favourite season, I suspect they’re trying to make themselves feel better about the winter that’s coming.
I’m off now to check on everyone else’s end of month contributions to The Patient Gardener’s meme. My thanks to Helen for hosting it.