Putting the Allotment to Bed
It has just stopped raining and the sun may come out so with no further ado I will brace myself and put on my boots and a thick jumper for a session on the allotment. Two of the three compost bins are ready to be distributed over the asparagus and the autumn raspberries once both have been cut back.
Well that was yesterday and the best laid plans of mice and men etc were cut short by rain. Having cleared the asparagus bed of weeds and cut back the dried stems I was stuck into my fifth barrow load of good compost when the sky darkened and the heavens opened and I was quickly soaked to the skin. I will do the raspberries on the next dry day although in the past I’ve cut them back as late as January and had an excellent crop.
I returned after a few days away to find a major part of the garden walls clothed in the glowing autumn leaves of Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris. It’s an excellent climber that self-clings and can cover 5-15 metres and is happy on north or east-facing aspects as well as in full sun. Although deciduous it comes into fresh green leaf early in February or March so is well worth growing for nearly all-year interest. The flowers are creamy-white rounded heads up to 25cms across and in bloom in early summer. And at this time of year I really welcome the butter-yellow of the leaves, albeit for a week or two, before they drop in autumn. I feel the same about the shrub Amelanchier lamarkii which turns a vibrant flaming orange in October. The image below was taken last year but the recent wet weather this year provoked both plants to turn at the same time . It was an astonishing combination for a few days but by the time I got the camera out the leaves on both had dropped.
And with the changing season in mind there’s a lovely give away of City Lights Yemen at http://www.thecuriosityproject.co.uk/ Tiffany Grant-Riley is a wedding planner and stylist and her blog is brimming with home-decorating ideas and inspiring DIY projects.. Take a look and please enter the give away. At Backlane Designs we put two sets on top of a kitchen cupboard for a photo session to start thinking about styling for Christmas decorations.
My pledge to pick flowers from the house or allotment for one year has come to an end in an unbelievable speedy time. It has been satisfying and surprising and totally worth doing in so many ways. I have learned what works well in small posies for the table and for guest bedrooms and for my work desk and what works for more impressive pots. Other than the summer months I sometimes found myself panicking fearing there was very little in flower. But there was always plenty enough and if I picked in quantity even the humblest flower looked charming when supported by evergreen or variegated foliage. This final bunch is a head of Hydrangea Madame Emile Mouillere with Lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’ , sprigs of rosemary and a lone flower of a purple Clematis Etoile Violette.