Getting back to business

That would be the business of watching what’s going on in the garden through the seasons. Being fully autumnal now, its Anemone flowers bobbing about in the breeze and Acer leaves falling that are catching my eye from my window.

A closer look on a garden wander with my camera late afternoon yesterday shows how much darker the light it is getting. I do like the depth colours of this time of year. Ah yes… the Anemone flowers did shout out ‘photograph me’ once again and I duly obliged.

Wonderfully some of the deep blue Gentiana sino-ornata flowers could still be seen on my wander. This is one of many ‘first garden plant favs’ and I had big plans for it. Ahem… they are yet to be realised. It is planted on the top of a low stone dyke and the plan is to have a sloped bank of it all the way down to the water edge of my new (to be built) wildlife pond. The idea is that the blue will reflect in the water on grey days.

Once again another year has passed and I have not fully committed to completing this (talked about many times) wildlife pond. In my defence, it’s a big job and an even bigger step to make such a large permanent feature in my garden. I am a tad nervous of this. With our Leylandii hedge overdue its annual trim (brother will trim it this year for us) and a few other essential garden jobs needing done before winter any pond work isn’t going to happen this year now.

The seed heads of the ornamental grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Fontane’ I have also admired from my window with the pink flowers Anemone September Charm close by. Out of sight around the corner of my house and scrambling up an archway structure Golden Hop (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’) can be found. Most leaves have succumbed to the season, have been feasted on (probably slugs) and look quite spookily skeletal but I did find a few hops and fresh leaves… yay 🙂

Autumn for the gardener is a ‘rush against time’ season in some ways (my thoughts anyway). Weather hampers work in the garden (like hedge trimming and moving plants). Daylight hours and available gardening time hampers the tidy-up jobs (from borders to sheds).

My absence from garden work over the summer is clear to be seen by walking round my garden. Deciding which jobs to tackle is going to be a tad tricky. Short regular walks are also needed to help my husband recover from his recent major Op and I want to join him with that. Thanks once again for all your good wishes. So where the garden is concerned, I’ll do what I can 🙂

This Autumn I had planned to collect leaves to make leaf mould compost. See this blog post by Emma Cooper for the BBC Gardening Blog (spotted yesterday) if this is something that might interest you. Emma uses plastic bags. I had been considering trying jute sacks I spotted earlier in the year in the RHS online shop. They have an offer at the moment with 3 for the price of 2. Mm… I doubt I could fill too many bags of leaves from my garden. However, it might be interesting to compare compost results between the jute and a plastic bag. I might give this a try.

Getting back to business in my garden has to be planting (ahead of frosts) a number of plants in a small border near my back door which are sitting on the top of the soil. This area saw a bit of a rethink after paving was laid there over the summer. There was quite a dramatic change/feel to the area with the removal of an arch. We also removed a piece of 3ft high trellis replacing it with a fence panel but I just couldn’t get into the planting bit here. This must happen soon. I’m thinking some bulbs would be a good idea… Mm…

Another seasonal job that needs to happen soon (again watching out for frosts) is the winter protection for my Gunnera. I’ve been chatting annually about this since 2007. Probably that first post still shows the best images of what I do with mine except that now I use dry hay (borrowed from the Guinea pig stash) in the layers between the Gunnera leaves. This method works for me and my Gunnera has survived the last two particularly harsh/cold winters we’ve had here.

Getting back to business with the bird feeders – well that will happen gradually. My bird café went short on supplies during some parts of the summer due to my absence in the garden. Birds looking for regular supplies of food would have found alternative gardens. Last weekend, I went out (in the rain) and pruned back climbers taking over an arch where feeders hang. With feeders cleaned, refilled and visible again the birds are slowly returning… yay!

Ground bird feeders have also been reinstated but for some unknown reason (to me anyway) the birds are opting for the soggy bread and odd seeds I scattered in preference to the dish full of high energy sunflower seeds and peanuts. However, the rather pretty female Chaffinch shown below was seen solo in her quest to search out the sunflower hearts. She was successful.

Not so successful were the bird counts I attempted on Sunday morning. Two different cats appeared on two occasions after I decided on a restart. However, on a brighter note outside my incomplete counts I spotted a Song Thrush which I was delighted about. The usual suspects of Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Blue tits, Chaffinches and Goldfinches were joined by Coal tits, a Robin and a Greenfinch. It’s great to see there is still a variety of species visiting my garden.

Now… I wonder if hedgehogs are still visiting. Perhaps they have already gone into hibernation. I must set up my IR camera to look out for them in the evenings. I used to really enjoy doing that. Hope I’m not too late for this year.

I also hope I’m not keeping you too long/late with this post. I’d just like to add that it’s great to be back in blogging business again… oh yes and I’m posting before midnight… now that is a result 😉

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in October 2011.

14 thoughts on “Getting back to business

  1. Good for you, Shirley. Lovely post as usual. I have a wire mesh round posts for my leaf mould which works well although I never have enough! I have also tried the plastic bag and the jute bag. Both worked but the jute back started to disintegrate. with our gunnera I just bend the leaves over and so far that's been enough! Hope you are all recovering and happy blogging!

  2. Good to see you back on your blog Shirley. There are lots of things going on in your garden. You will have plenty of time to create your pond another year. I can imagine how different the part of the garden looks without its arch. Happy Gardening.

  3. Great news in your last post. Nice to see you have been able to relax a bit and enjoy your lovely garden. I am sure many of the things you see that need attending to can wait another season or two.

    I still have at least one Hedgehog visiting every night so yours may be around somewhere. I find they don't spend more than a few minutes in one place so they are easy to miss.

  4. I found your blog yesterday and can't wait to find some time to look at it in detail. Looks fab! I noticed something scrambling through some holly and other trees the other day but couldn't quite work out what it was; I think it may be similar to your Golden Hop so I'm off out there to check it again! Thanks

  5. I did laugh when I read your comment about your wildlife pond. I'm converting mine into a bog garden and starting a new one. In my head it will all be done by late spring but in reality probably 2013!!

  6. Some lovely photos from your garden. I just love the white anemone… must get some!

    I hope that you catch the hedgehogs again too because we would really enjoy seeing them!


  7. There are so many fall tasks awaiting us in the garden, aren't there? I seemed to have taken enough of a break from the garden for some weeds to take over. Drats! Your gentian is unbelievably blue and the anemones are so lovely. Enjoy the day.

  8. Its so good to have your back blogging, Shirl. How is it you manage to get such good bird photographs? The birds must love you to pose like that. Autumn is certainly the busiest time in the garden and this year it has been harder than usual with September temperatures in the low 30's C a lot of the time – too hot! Christina

  9. Hello everyone, can’t believe another week has past. Isn’t time just flying by so fats just like the leaves off the trees!

    Janet, Thank-you. Ah… now that was another method for storing the leaves I have considered. Think the chicken mesh wire got tangled and I threw it out some time back… drat 😉

    Lisa, Thanks, yes the pond will wait a bit longer. Been out on a few trips taking advantage of the weather when we have it. Gardening jobs still mounting up :-O

    John, Thanks, the best news we could have hoped for. Yep… I hear you re the garden. It’s hard to see the jobs needing done though. Temps have dropped a bit here, I brought the guinea pigs indoors yesterday. Perhaps now any passing hedgehogs won’t get disturbed by noises they will have been making. I’ll get me camera out tonight 🙂

    Catherine, great to hear. I wonder if you’ll enjoy my next posting which is out of the garden 🙂

    Alison, Welcome, thanks for stopping by to say you’ve stumbled by me. Your visit has had me updating some links in posts – specifically my bird videos. Although I haven’t posted in a week I have been spending time on my blog. The video in my next post took a bit of time selecting the jumps. Delighted I could help with an ID 🙂

    Helen, yep… why is this do you think?

    Julie, Thank-you, these anemone flowers just draw you out with the camera. As I said to John above, now that the guinea pigs are indoors for the winter perhaps we’ll get more visitors at the pond area. I’ll get my camera out tonight 🙂

    Layanne, Drats indeed… as I’ve said the same is going on here too. Fortunately I’ve a lot of ground cover planting (from memory you do too) so that has to help us both. Ah… that gentian blue is my fav – it even beats the meconopsis for me too 🙂

    Christina, Thanks. Ah… the area I took that photo is very close being just under my window. I am patient for the poses. I take many photos that aren’t kept. Gosh… sounds a bit hot for Autumn as you say. Hope all well with your husband now 🙂

    Bridget, Thank-you… I agree completely. Small steps are okay as long as we get there 🙂

  10. Love the photos of the anemones – my favourite plants. I also found that jute bags disintigrated and I was just left with a pile of old leaves. I've since used an old builders' bag (the bulk bags they supply gravel in) to make leaf mould. If you can find a place where you can keep it without moving it, because it will be very heavy, it works really well. You can also buy smaller versions of the bulk bags described as 'garden waste bags' from smartliftbulkbags.co.uk

  11. Dear Shirl – I know I've been absent myself from blogging over the best part of this year – it's been v. busy with work and not many spare moments – have really missed being in touch with my regular visitors! I'm SO sorry to hear of your hubby what a horrible worrying time you must have had – do hope you're both okay. This is a lovely posting by the way and also the current one on the Salmon – good to see this on Autumnwatch just last week… do take care and keep feeding the birdies… they're all arriving here too. Do hope I'll get more time to post over the winter… keep in touch Miranda x

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