Read­ers’ gar­dens

Lawn needs some TLC

Garden News (UK) - - Advertisement - Gil­lian Hill

A re­tired NHS con­sul­tant from East Loth­ian, learn­ing that time, pa­tience, wildlife and dirty hands make gar­den­ing an ab­so­lute joy.

Hav­ing been away from home for a month, I was wor­ried what the gar­den would look like on my re­turn. The tiny patch of lawn was mown while I was away, but that was all. There has been de­cent rain, so the grass is green enough, but the bare patches I tried to re­pair in spring per­sist, so it’s time for an­other go.

The bor­ders aren’t as messy as I’d ex­pected, but some leggy plants have grown beyond their sup­ports. Achil­leas and he­le­ni­ums, for ex­am­ple, have fallen over the asters, which are now mildewed-look­ing, as is the monarda which has been trapped un­der some fen­nel.

The aga­pan­thus were ex­cel­lent in pots this year and I’ve cut back the spent flower stems. I hope they’ll sur­vive the win­ter sim­ply placed in a shel­tered spot.

In the bor­ders, ra­di­ant white Ja­panese anemones are at their peak and glow like lamp­posts at dusk. After cut­ting back the del­phini­ums early after their first flow­er­ing, two sec­ond spires of dark blue flow­ers have ap­peared. The echinops globes are be­gin­ning to fade, but are still at­tract­ing bees.

Berries are abun­dant on elders, hawthorns, pyra­can­thas and co­toneast­ers, and there are clus­ters of hips on some roses. A clump of au­tumn cro­cuses has ap­peared from nowhere, like a gift, at the edge of the lawn.

I haven’t seen green­fly on the roses this year and like to think it’s a re­sult of plant­ing a few gar­lic cloves nearby. I may get a cou­ple of flori­bunda roses for the raised bed near the back gate, which is dry and in full sun, but needs some­thing bright and scented.

A ro­bust philadel­phus by the fence needs a ma­jor cut. I should have re­moved old flow­er­ing stems in July, but will now learn from ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve cut back lower branches of two bud­dleja which were ob­struct­ing a path, but will leave the rest un­til spring.

I’ve just dis­cov­ered The Gar­dener’s Year by Karel Capek and rec­om­mend it for hi­lar­i­ous de­scrip­tions of the ups and downs of gar­den­ing!

Some un­ex­pected colchicums and, right, rusty-red heucheras

De­spite a bit of over­crowd­ing, blooms have come thick and fast, such as bril­liant white Ja­panese anemones

Smokey blooms cover the pur­ple fo­liage of cot­i­nus

Berries abound on hawthorn and co­toneaster in vivid scar­let

Fad­ing fast, but still bring­ing in bees, are the echinops

This is our over­grown bed, which will be ti­died up and made smaller

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