Friday 24 July 2020

Mind the gap

Crazy Daisy (officially a Leucanthemum) in the border
As the first day of August draws closer and lockdown ends, I wonder how our gardens with fare? The uptake in gardening has been widely noticed – and welcomed – but it may surprise many, new to the activity, that August can be a patchy month. The excitement of Spring is a memory as many plants pass beyond their flowering period and the border loses some of its colour

This is a pity as we have so many plants that long to shine at this time of the year. Now is the moment to plug the gaps and have a display that will last well into the autumn

And Codger would like to help you out. Here are some plants that could be helpful to you. You can either leave them in their pot or plant them out – either way, you will fill the gap and have flowers that last

Dahlia - an old favourite
The first suggestion is Crazy Daisy – see photo above left. These are white with a yellow centre and are prolific - making a great splash. Ours are nicely potted up and ready to go, bursting with life

Next, consider Rudbeckia. Our variety is Praise Sun – appropriately names as this plant family is from the plains of North America and related to the sunflower. Ours are in bud now, longing to produce an Autumn display in your garden

Then we have the old faithful – the Dahlia. Provided you dead head, you will have flowers repeating until the first frosts. We have a range of colours from apricot to purple

Chrysanthemum in our border
Got a problem at the back of the border? The answer could be a Chrysanthemum. I have some really tall ones that would look good at the back – in a variety of colours. With these, and all those plants mentioned, get in touch if you are interested. They are ready potted up and just waiting to go. It would be pleasing to see them used 

Speaking of gaps …
We hear a lot about the decline in insect numbers, and rightly so. Mrs Codger watches out for butterflies as our buddleia comes into bloom. Sadly, we pitifully few. The photograph (immediately below) was taken three years ago. I do not think we have had a red admiral since – certainly not this year. A large Peacock was fluttering around yesterday but even that is now rarely seen. We get plenty of solitary bees but do not see many Bumble bees - nor are there many hover flies, these days

Red Admiral shot in October 2017
I have been reading a magazine article encouraging gardeners to be kind to mice, pointing out our inconsistences – house mice (bad), harvest mouse (good) / red squirrels (good), grey squirrels (bad). The author (Adrian Thomas in August’s Gardening Answers) also raises the issue of rats – the very conditions that favour mice will also encourage rats. My recent blog post showing a ‘tunnel’ elicited a response from reader, Ray White. Ray was a professional gardener and can spot a rat’s nest a mile off. Mine were old workings

Renovated Rosarium
I dealt with the varmints a couple of years ago but had never pinned down their quarters. I caught them with a humane trap under the bird feeders. The attraction was obvious but made worse by using cheap feed which contains a lot of wheat. The cheeky sparrows tend to throw this out; it accumulates on the ground – the rest you can guess 

Dutch boy on bench
The photo comes from our Dutch friends – the lad is their grandson. The bench has been placed in the Rosarium they told us about. As part of the renovation, a diseased tree had to come down. Rather than waste the timber, it has been recycled into a fine bench. What a great idea

Boskoop backwater
Speaking of recycling, Charles Dowding has done a recent video on composting. He gives an excellent explanation. Don’t worry that he is operating on a relatively big scale, much of what he says is transferable to a smaller garden setting. The advantage of the video is that you can see very clearly what he is speaking about. Recommended – click here to see

Forgot to say. The photo to the left is of the canals around Boskoop. It is a lovely area. Being Holland, the canals are not so much for transport as for drainage. The whole country relies upon them. You'll see that the view is similar to the Fens in this country. It was Dutch engineers who were brought over when the East Anglia drainage schemes were developed

Delicious figs - just picked
When I acquired a greenhouse, I thought I would try my hand at growing figs. Glad I did. We have just harvested the first two fruits to ripen. Absolutely delicious. The raspberries have finished now, so we move on to blueberries. Although I am reducing the vegetable area, I want to expand on fruit slightly. I mentioned in the previous post that I have a problem with the second apple tree, but I shall have to hold that over until next week. Likewise, the bread crate in the pond. Figured it out yet?

Siberian Iris taken in May this year
There is just time to mention that, unexpectedly, I have three clumps of Siberian Iris available – I’ve been working on the bog garden. As with the plants at the beginning, just get in touch if you would like a bit of blue – they are strong, healthy plants

The Iris won't flower this year - but the four listed at the beginning are all late season and raring to go. All for now ...

... best wishes from the old Garden Codger

We have just had the last of the gooseberries. All the soft fruit has been good this year

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