Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the September issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’. The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk
September and October are two of my favourite months of the year. Whilst much of the garden is looking a little tired and jaded, especially after such a long, dry summer, the shortening days hint that autumn is just around the corner with all its beautiful shades of yellows and oranges.
We are starting to crack on with the next phase of restoring Percy Cane’s secret garden. As many of you will no doubt know, gardening on a slope is very unforgiving. There is the practical aspect of physically having to work on a slop which is precarious and tiring. Then given the high clay content of our soil it is also prone to shifting and expanding with rain, whilst shrinking and cracking during dry spells. Any nutrients you try and add to the soil in the form of bulky organic matter are also washed down the slope at the first sign of heavy rain. Having been here almost two years, we have made the decision to remove two of the original beds, which are sited on the steepest part of the slope.
I am slowly moving many of the herbaceous plants and shrubs to alternative areas of the garden and clearing the beds in preparation for the ground to be sown with grass. It is an ambitious project, not least because about 100 metres of York stone path also needs to be removed; these slabs are unbelievably heavy.
Last summer I made the most of some free plants by potting up Sisyrinchium ‘Striatum’ seedlings, splitting irises and growing Geum alba, Verbena bonariensis and Crocosmia from seed. The Sisyrinchium ‘Striatum’ were great at filling spaces as they grow so quickly, but due to their insane ability to self seed I have drastically thinned them out. I love the veil like effect that self seeded Verbena bonariensis offers so have carefully worked around this years seedlings whilst transplanting.
It seems to go with the territory with these kind of projects an insane amount of mess is created before any progress is made. Hopefully by October I will be able to report that we have turned a corner and have the first signs of a new lawn!
The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk