Gardening Magazine

Update from My (windblown) Garden

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

Update from my (windblown) gardenMahonia Lionel FortescueThis week of heavy rain and high winds has brought down the last of the leaves in the garden and I suppose I should be grateful for this as the autumn tidy up can now begin in earnest! The garden seems to have changed almost overnight with the autumn leaf color stripped away to reveal plants winter skeletons. The evergreens now shout ‘look at me!’ and stand proud displaying their bold shapes and glossy green leaves. Some, including my Skimmia ‘Rubella’ hold clusters of tight red flower buds that will stand the winter and open in spring to scented pinky white stars. The Viburnum tinus is also covered in clusters of red buds but I will not need to wait so long to admire the flowers – this remarkable plant is in flower from November to March and has to be one of my favourites!

The Birch trees have taken on an elegant silhouette; their delicate tracery culminating in stout trunks of mottled gray and white bark. We have some under planted with the evergreen Pheasant Tail grass (Calamagrostis arundinacea) that makes loose mounds of long, tawny leaves, setting off the bark and the yellow Daffodils when they appear in the spring.

The ground is still far too wet to carry out any winter digging on my allotment, so for now I must content myself with tidying up the garden so that I have the time to spare for the digging later on!

My borders, although fairly weed free, do need a tidy now and I will cut down the old growth on the herbaceous perennials. They always look better once this has been cut off and plants such as Phlox, Oriental Poppies and Day Lilies are perfectly hardy so don’t need the old growth to protect the crowns through the winter. I like to leave the seed heads on late flowering plants such as Sedum and Verbena bonariensis. These plants are not only a valuable source of nectar for insects and butterflies whilst they are flowering but make a good larder for birds as well!

Now that the leaves have dropped, our Dog Woods are sporting their coloured stems that will give a focal point through the winter. One plant has really got out of hand – it was crowded by another shrub and has grown out of shape as it reached for the light. I have decided to enjoy the stems for now and give it a severe prune in January so that it begins to grow more tidily! The green stemmed Dog Woods in the front garden were pruned very hard last winter and have grown back into beautiful upright plants that are set off by a dark purple Phormium growing as a back drop to them.

One late flowering variety of Clematis has covered a huge part of the back garden using a small pine tree as a frame. It has been full of bell shaped flowers for weeks and the bees have loved it. Although this shouldn’t really be pruned until February, I am going to remove most of it so that I can get to the border below and rescue yet more plants that have not seen day light for a few months!

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