As we gradually move towards autumn, there seems to be less to do out back (and less to post about!). The weather has been colder, and the nights are starting to draw in – it’s no longer light at 9.30 pm, which is terribly depressing, and I’m scarily close to putting on my slipper socks in the evenings.
Overall, the weather has been either muggy, overcast or mild – nondescript to say the least. However, yesterday and today’s soaring temperatures and beautiful sunshine gave me the opportunity to dive out into the yard with my camera to take some nice snaps which feature in this week’s post.
I’m thinking ahead to next year and recently bought some relatively young plants (pictured above) that would work well as border plants when I extend my little flower bed next spring. I decided to opt for different colours, heights and textures and ended up with the following after a trip to the garden centre:
- spotted laurel
My plan is to let these grow over the winter (I re-potted them in larger plastic tubs) in preparation for getting them into the ground next spring. Much like a squirrel fattens itself up in preparation for the winter months and stockpiles nuts and berries – I’m also thinking ahead.
When I planted stuff in my newly-dug flower bed earlier this year it all ended up looking rather messy; some things grew taller than others and spread out in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. This time I’m hoping for a better structure.
Invasion of the molluscs
Wet and mild weather is ideal for slugs and snails and the scene in my back yard was close to carnage a week or so ago. This reminded me of the importance of ‘little but often’ – getting out there to de-slug or de-snail once every couple of days makes such a difference, particularly in the damp, north-westerly English climate.
A couple of my favourite plants were destroyed by a slug that appeared to have burrowed into the soil and laid eggs, thus damaging the roots. I said a few prayers as I tipped it away into the compost bin. And in case you were wondering, slug eggs appear as translucent little spheres, much the same size as the little food balls that can be found in compost. I hoiked out the cluster that I found immediately and tossed them over the fence.
In all honesty, I just don’t know how slugs, the slimiest, squidgiest of creatures can be so agile. It’s worth raking over soil during the colder months to bring up any slugs and their eggs and expose them to the cold. One little blighter even took a couple of bites out of a succulent, before deciding that this type of leaf was way to hard for its soft jaws.
My lovely next door neighbour moved house recently and left me a couple of beautiful turquoise pots. One of them (pictured above) was filled with succulents . Acquiring new things for the garden through the kindness of others is always a bonus. Friendly neighbours, friends and family can be a great source of new plants too – this summer I’ve taken hydrangea and fern cuttings from next door, and my garden is all the more resplendent because of it.