I’ve just about squeezed this post into October, phew.  My monthly survey of my borders as a whole continues.  We’re well in to Autumn, and although the weather has been mild, things are dying down and I have begun some clearance ready for the winter.

Rear garden

Border 1 – The loosestrife has brought a touch of the Autumn to this border, it went a fabulous colour but the leaves are almost all gone now. Other than clear away some bits and pieces, I have not changed anything since last month.  I’d say it’ll be looking quite bare this time next month.


Border 2 – The long sunny border is largely untouched, beyond clearing a few dead stems of shabby looking perennials. There is more of that to do in the coming weeks, and although Jack Frost has thus far let the dahlias be, most are looking past their best and are done flowering.  I’m going to leave them till frost-blackened then I’ll decide which I’ll risk leaving in the ground and which I’ll overwinter in warmer, drier quarters.  I have cleared away a large-ish clump of nicotiana that I took a dislike to, leaving a bit of space for bulb planting.  By this time next month I’ll have had a chance to get to the fence line and tidy up properly.  I have a few plants I want to put in if the ground is not too cold and wet.


Border 3 – Quite a lot has changed since last time!  The sambucus nigra has gone, as has the big buddleia. I was fed up with both of them, off with their heads! I also moved the broom to the corner. There were originally a group of three, but two were overshadowed by the buddleia and were not worth keeping.  The remaining plant is a decent size. Along with a bit of perennial tidying and clearing away of unwanted annuals, the border is basically clear. I have planted a bunch of bulbs in here already, alliums and daffodils so far. The bits of bamboo cane are bulb markers – I want to avoid putting a spade through my newly planted bulbs.  Next job to do is mulch, then I have some time to think through the planting for this border in 2018.  I’ve included a photo of the top of this the trellis as there is a bit of wisteria action.  With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that better pruning and training would have resulted in better coverage of the trellis and thus more flowers.

Border 4 – Since last time I’ve cleared away most of the nasturtiums which had sprawled over everything. The fatsia has put on some useful growth and is even flowering. The left side of the trellis is stubbornly sparse. The wisteria will colonise the top of this trellis next year, it has reached the end of the arch, just above the bird box.  I also plan to grow a few things up the trellis – mina lobata, or spanish flag, for one. I have seeds!

Border 5 – the long shady border. I’ve done nothing to this border since last month. the abelia is flowering still, the physocarpus and the pittosporum both look like they need a good prune, which would do wonders for the under-planting.  The dogwood is beginning to drop leaves, and I can see glimpses of the bright red stems that are the result of a hard prune in early spring. Everything is beginning to fade away as autumn progresses.


Border 6 – the little border – I still haven’t enlarged this border, might get around to it over the winter.  The plants I put in a month or two ago have begun to establish themselves a little. The gaura is still flowering away gamely, and I noticed that the tiarella in the right hand corner is having a second flush of flowers.  I have planted some alliums in here since last month, should add something to the late spring show.  Still very much a work in progress this border.

Front Garden

Border 7- I’ve cleared away the nicotania, leaving a big gap with which I have so far done nothing apart from plant a bunch of bulbs, alliums and daffodils.  The dahlias are still flowering a little but nearly done, and the frost will do for them at some point in the next couple of weeks I expect.  That will leave the framework perennial planting and I can then assess what needs adding or moving for next year. I think I still need to prune the dwarf magnolia a little, for shape – the lower branches are untidy and getting in the way of the under planting. There is some room for taller planting in the other corner, in front of the forsythia, I need to have a think about what can go there.  I don’t like the forsythia and am half thinking of getting someone in to dig it up and put a fence in along the border with next door.

Border 8 – most of the colour is done here. The dahlia bishops children are done, the osteospermum is almost gone and the helenium are on their last legs flowerwise. The dahlia black jack is still fabulous but the flowers are so dark that it is a little anonymous. I have planted alliums and daffodils throughout this border so I’m hopeful of a good display from February through to June.

Border 9 – Alliums have been interplanted here but otherwise this border has been left to its own devices since last time. Dahlia black jack is more obvious in this photo, despite leaning a little drunkenly. He’s a keeper, fantastic long-lasting flowers, if a little late in making an appearance. I shall be taking cuttings in the spring to get more of this chap. There are some small shrubs planted near the wall, an eleagnus and a cornus. They are still diddy and won’t amount to much for a year or two yet I expect.  I must remember to dig up the variegated pelargonium, or one of them, to overwinter, I quite like it.


Border 10 – I include this for completeness, all though technically it’s not in my garden at all. I have commandeered a little bit of the verge between my front wall and the pavement.  This year it has just had left over odds and sods, but I’ve put some bulbs in here too, and will refresh the planting with new annuals next year. I find myself in unspoken competition with a chap a few doors down who has done something similar.


That concludes this month’s patrol.  By next time things will be looking a lot more dreary but perhaps a little tidier.  With a following wind I’ll also have mulched the borders with nicely rotted manure, a supply of which I recently secured.

I’ll be back next month with another Border Patrol.