As the daylight hours shorten and nature all around us slowly winds down for the end of the season there has still been plenty of interest in the garden. The late summer border has quite literally flowered its socks off and the last of the bees and butterflies have had their fill of nectar before they retire until next spring. Whilst the plants in the shadier border have long since finished flowering and are dying back, the white anemones cheerfully stand out demanding attention.
We have seen the trees put on a fantastic display of colours over the last few weeks and if the latest gusts of wind have not yet brought the leaves down, then it won’t be long before they fall of their own accord. We have a couple of rowan trees in our garden whose leaves turn a fantastic shade of red, they also produce berries, and within days of taking a photograph Mr Blackbird had demolished the lot. The dogwoods and blueberry bushes have also given us a fantastic display of deep red leaves this year.
A lot of perennial plants in the garden will soon stop flowering and die back, at one time this was seen to be the time to tidy up the garden by cutting them down to the ground and disposing of the dead plant remains. However, more and more gardeners are seeing the benefit of leaving the plants in situ for as long as possible. The right plants can still make the garden look good well into the new year and they can provide shelter for small insects such ladybirds and lacewing as well as food for the local birds.
For those of you that have tried, you will already know that it has not been a great year for growing crops and it has been quite a challenge. The veg from the kitchen garden has now just about come to an end and the greenhouse has also been cleared. We did manage to harvest a few parsnips and cabbage this month and the leeks are growing well and will be ready to start pulling in a couple of months. It is still not too late to make use of some of the now empty spaces, shallots and garlic will happily grow through the winter months without requiring any attention and will be ready for harvesting next summer.
This year in the greenhouse the tomatoes cropped poorly and generally did not ripen, but we did manage to make a batch of delicious tomato soup from them. We were also picking raspberries right up until the end of October. Those fruit that are slightly past their best are excellent for using in cakes and we have been enjoying a Raspberry Bakewell, or two, or maybe three!