Despite my lack of blogging I have actually been out in the garden a few times over the past weeks, mainly attempting to tidy but also to get the final planting into place for winter.
Some garlic arrived that I’d ordered from Thompson & Morgan, 4 bulbs of ‘Albigensian Wight‘ to be exact. If I’m honest I’d forgotten that I’d ordered them but they are now safely split and planted as per my usual method. It’s a little less than I normally buy but I have promised the boys they can have a raised bed next year to share so I need to save a little space, also the ‘Albigensian Wight’ is by far my favourite variety so I decided to simply stick with this (I’d normally also plant some ‘Solent Wight’ which I’d buy from the Garlic Farm), even the inner cloves were big and fat so it saves me feeling guilty about making room for the usual mini ones in the center that never grow very large but take up valuable growing space.
I have also been planting quite a few flower bulbs, mainly Geums, Ranunculus and Anemones. The Ranunculus and Anemones are best soaked overnight to get them off to a good start before planting, we have such mild winters here (usually – fingers crossed!) that they have always survived in my garden with little help, even thought their hardiness is in question, I did plant the Anemones (my usual favourites for cutting ‘Mr Fokker’, ‘Sylphide’ and new for me ‘The Bride’) in lines in the cutting patch though so that I can cloche them over the colder months to make sure the corms survive. The Ranunculus will just have to fend for themselves scattered in the borders.
Whilst placing a bulb order I bought some Fritillarias meleagris in Plum & White to add to my lonely single one that grows under our tree and I take great pains to stop M from mowing off each spring; an Amaryllis Emerald ‘Spring’ for some Christmas cheer (I do love Amaryllis) and some Hyacinth ‘Purple Sensation’ to grow indoors in hyacinth vases, if I can find them, I know I put them away last year but I can’t remember where.
In the garden it’s very much winding down, I quite fancy a rest this winter so I haven’t bothered to grow many new things, only a bed of mixed Kales as they tend to survive no matter what and look so pretty through the cold months. I’d normally have purple sprouting broccoli and parsnips amongst others but this year I’d like to get everything properly tidied up and start a fresh next February with mostly clear beds. I may attempt to get some of the hardy herbs in better shape and perhaps some winter lettuce, maybe some spinach but I’ve read we are due very low night temperatures this weekend so I’ve probably missed my window.
Still cropping (just) are:
Tomatoes (the last few)
Courgettes – I’m amazed how long and how many we have had from 4 plants
Cucumbers – they were so late to get going this year and now we are getting a lot of late crops.
I turned out some of the last small potato bags recently, if you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know I just covered the bags with cloches once the tops died back to stop the soil getting wet, as we were a little potatoed out and couldn’t keep up with the eating. I am surprised to say they still were delicious, even though they’ve been sitting in dry soil for many weeks now, the skins were a little thicker but they were still much nicer than store-bought ones (to be clear all the potatoes I grow are second earlies, so mainly ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Anya’ variety).
We awoke to our first frost this morning, a light one but it’s taken out the dahlias and a few other softer flowers, I am quite relived in a way as I need to get the borders tidied and it’ll be easier to do when much of it has died back. Autumn has finally arrived!