Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Sunday 6 September 2009

And now it is autumn

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 4:37 pm

I think it is the end of summer because I have now set my central heating to come on in the evenings. The end of summer is in some ways bad because it means the first frost is not long away, and it gets dark earlier, and the rain is colder… but this week I have for the first time felt that there might be some chance of getting on with some Renovation instead of purely weeding and mowing the lawn.

Some things I have done since my last entry:
(1) I sprayed the tomatoes (Sungold, my all time favourite variety) with copper fungicide because they are bound to get blighted otherwise. Now they are blue, and I have to wash the tomatoes before eating them if I don’t want to exceed my recommended copper intake, but this is a lot better than them being brown. I will spray them again tomorrow, and keep going until the first frosts. They are in pots, but I think the pots will be too heavy for me to move them into the greenhouse.

(2) I decimated the bay tree. Although I think that the bay tree is so lovely it should be as big as possible, I also realised that if I let it grow any bigger I wouldn’t be able to prune it myself safely any more, so I got on my biggest step ladder and pruned off the top bits.

The remaining nine-tenths of the bay tree after pruning

The remaining nine-tenths of the bay tree after pruning

(3) I moved one of my logs from the Leylandii that I removed about a year ago and found two little baby newts, which I think must be from this year’s crop. I don’t know whether they are breeding in my temporary pond (see the foreground of the bay tree picture) or whether they are using someone else’s pond, but the main thing is that they obviously like visiting my garden.

Little baby newt sheltering under a Leylandii log

Little baby newt sheltering under a Leylandii log

(4) I levelled the ground under the three compost bins next to the greenhouse so they can stand upright. I didn’t go as far as getting the bins all at the same height.

New compost bins

New compost bins

I now need to move the compost from the old bins to the new ones. I am planning to sieve the compost and dig into the ground any bits that fall through the sieve, because they’ve probably rotted enough, and move to the new compost bins the bits that don’t fall through the sieve, because they could do with being eaten by fruit flies and woodlice for a bit longer. I have pumped up the wheelbarrow tyre in preparation (suggested maximum pressure = 30 PSI. Actual pressure at time of checking = about 7 PSI).

Old compost bins. Contents to be rehomed to new compost bins.

Old compost bins. Contents to be rehomed to new compost bins.

(5) I had time to admire some of the planting we did for our residents’ communal areas in April 2008. The best section is the smallest bit just next to my house. It’s the best because it gets the most sun and also the most water, since I am the most conscientious waterer and my hosepipe won’t reach to any other areas. The purple-leaved job is a Cotinus ‘Grace’ and the big bright pink flowers are sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’, which certainly is. The smaller-flowered plant at the front is Persicaria affine and at the back there are two Spirea ‘Goldflame’.

Border with Cotinus, Sedum, Spirea and Persicaria

Border with Cotinus, Sedum, Spirea and Persicaria

All credit to my mum for thinking of the cotinus, and to Susie Bower for letting me have the cotinus and thinking of the other plants that look so good with it. (Sadly, after the picture was taken, a unknown creature stood on some of the sedums so it doesn’t look so good now).

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