Garden – September – 1


Willow Garden is a series exclusive to the Earthly Comforts blog only.

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Begonias

Everything always takes time.

The following two to three months will see changes for Willow. I should hear later today or tomorrow about the allotment, but l believe all is looking good for Suze and l. But we still have to await the fact that plot 17# is to be ours.

Everything takes time.

Everything always takes time. Such is life. Sometime this week, Suze and l will be stepping foot into the plot to configure what needs to be done first.

The Allotment will then become a series – The Allotment Plotters. Acquiring the plot, however, will allow for significant changes to be introduced to Willow. Long overdue changes. Welcome changes. The garden can become more of an ornamental and, to some degree, an unassuming garden yet relaxing garden.

The worm farms will always be here until the time l can secure a building to bridge the gap between active hobby and business. That’s the problem – you are not a business but you are nearing the point of no longer being merely a hobby – the limbo lands.


We are in autumn, and whilst the intense heats of a few weeks back are behind us, it’s not yet freezing, thankfully. I feel l had been suffering from heat exhaustion from mid-June to later August. As much as l love dry heat, the British humidity was slowly killing me and leaching energy levels from my already aching body.

It’s still surprisingly warm, and last night we had rain storms which were very welcomed, but it’s not the weather that recovers ground overnight. We need to get rain and lots of it.


I never thought l would reach the point of saying, ‘l need cooler weather!’ But this year has proven for me especially to be the summer of discontent.


Even with the heat, the garden fared okay, although earlier dreams and visions of great colour were never realised. Gary mentioned a lack of bees and other pollinators in his garden this summer, and l can somewhat understand that.


Willow still enjoyed bees and bumblebees, l saw very few butterflies, but l didn’t not see any. It was just very few. But more than last year, the bush was doing what it is supposed to do. The butterfly bush was enjoying its first season here and produced some lovely flowers, which are still displayed.


I didn’t get the beautiful spilling over flower effect from the hanging basket, but this was down to two main reasons – 1] the blue tits and the crows stripped the lining out from the baskets, and 2] with that, the planted seedlings were stripped away as well. The baskets also proved inadequate as they did not retain the water as much as they should have and had to be watered daily.


But they still managed to produce some lovely begonias and fuchsias, which are still in flower. The season started with eight hanging baskets, but the grouting gave way in the brickwork where the hanging baskets were affixed, and half of them tumbled to the ground. This meant that the baskets had to be worked on again but stayed on the tables. No flowers, but huge surpluses of herbs survived!


The baskets will not be used again here, but they might be taken to the polytunnel at the allotment and be planted differently inside and undercover.


Now we are overrun with certain herbs, many of which will be cut back and repotted to be taken to the allotment or disposed of into the compost. Willow only needs certain herbs here that we use with immediate cooking, like bay, some sage, Rosemary, and thyme.


The rest will be extracted from the garden.


We didn’t ‘not’ have any flowers or flowering herbs. They were just scattered throughout the garden and not in any specific location. Certain experimental growings, like the Mallows and the Clary Sage, did very well.


The white wall roses have had a great season but the pink French roses not so much. Both rose bushes will be completely cut back this year.


The hydrangeas performed well until the severe heat of July and August when they suffered serious foliage burnings and never truly recovered from the trauma. The orange blossom grew well but didn’t produce any flowers like last season.


Many of the shrubs l noticed flowered much earlier in the season as they became confused with the temperatures. Many of the season’s pollinators also experienced climate confusion. This would certainly explain poorer and lower numbers.


There are many reasons for decreased numbers ranging from habitat destruction and loss to pesticides used by farmers. Climate change and new warming temperatures, especially in some of the northern parts of the UK, would tremendously impact many pollinators.


I remember reading an article recently that cited losses of up to a third of bees and hoverflies and also discussed the increasingly worrisome levels of air pollution. That alone can cause stress to certain species and create further confusion in their navigation systems, meaning they struggle to find suitable crops to pollinate, forage and gather from. Air pollution disguises the scents of the flowers.


It is a very worrying time.


One of the other reasons for the absolute need for an allotment is so that we can grow right across the board of crops meaning not just vegetables and fruits. Still, wildflowers and flowers and herbs, and weeds desperately need designated areas. Anything that can encourage a diversity of life in the garden is a must.


Suze and l have discussed that we will grow strawberries, blueberries, and the Cape gooseberries in the allotment and no longer attempt them here in Willow. There are already present red, white and blackcurrants, blackberries, gooseberries and strawberries [albeit older plants], figs, apples and pears that l noted whilst l was there on Sunday, so there is quite a vibrant diversity of fruitiness already there.


So although we had some colour here, we still had a lot of vibrant greenery, which always makes the garden look healthy. Once we have the allotment up and running, Willow will take more of a backseat and only have a very slim presence of colour growing.


It has to become more manageable especially given the overall size of plot 17# and, more importantly, what will be down there that will require a lot of our attention.


Chickens, composting, worm farms, water collection and growing maintenance, are a lot of hard work, especially as there will be the main bulk of the worm farms still present in Willow. This means that the garden has to be not as time-consuming.


So we will not be looking at lots of additional plantings here. 40% of what is already growing here will move out down to the plot, leaving just the bare basics, and the rest will be what was here, to begin with.


So between now and l would say end October, Willow is going to really change.

Plenty of greenery in the way of shrubbery, herbs and bush.

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

I know l’ll be pleased to be able to slim down the contents of this coal scuttle shed.


Thanks for Reading – See you next time.

Willow Garden Series Directory
The Country Life Style Diary

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here


Published by The Autistic Composter

Howdy Folks, Earthly Comforts is a broad niche wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, also known as ‘worm farming and photography too.

5 thoughts on “Garden – September – 1

  1. I feel Willow has certainly enjoyed her Hey-day while she had it, Rory! Here’s hoping the transitionary period will go smoothly for you. 😊

    My oldest son devoted himself to chickens and bees for several years. He even went so far as to earn a degree in Bee Keeping and was teaching. His goal was to help bees make a come back in the North Carolina mountains. He and his wife are very conscientious about living a “green” lifestyle, so you can be sure they did everything possible to make it work. Every year they fought to keep their hives going, being challenged by wasps, various microscopic things I don’t remember and bears robbing the hives. They started over from scratch several times and imported bees from all over the world in effort to find a hardier stock – some breed that could survive and thrive in their climate. However, they finally had to admit defeat when the last hive of expensive Russian imports evacuated the hive – every last bee – never to be seen again. We are all hoping they swarmed and are now happily creating a whole new thriving bee community to repopulate the North Carolina mountains. Hopefully they didn’t fly back to Russia. 😁

    They also had to give up on the chickens due to preditors, mainly racoons. He installed electric fencing and even had to extend the fence down into the ground beneath, because the racoons started digging under the electric fence. He had to cover the top of the chicken run with chicken wire, because of chicken hawks. He lost dozens of chickens over the years. The racoons even killed his peacocks and they are large birds! After that he started humanely trapping the raccoons and transporting them to a state park to release them into the wild, but gave that up when he reached twelve trap and release and his last flock had dwindled from thirty-five down to nine.

    None of this information is intended to dissuade you, by any means, only in effort to be helpful. Maybe something said will trigger some ideas to check out. I know your climate is very different, but there are still similar challenges to look out for, just the same.

    Like

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