In this monthly series I take a look at the whole garden, border by border, with a critical eye. What’s working, what’s not, what I might move, what I might plant instead. There’s no room in my garden, or my life for that matter, for plants I don’t love. Join me for a spin round my patch.

Rear Garden

First the overhead shot, taken by a flock of migrating birds. Most of the heavy lifting flower wise is being done by the remaining cosmos, dahlias and the asters. It’s good to have plants that keep going till the last knockings. I am considering removing some more lawn. I think I could extend the planting circle for the amalanchier on the left side to make a small island bed. I also have designs on an area in the back right. Rather than extend the existing border, I might just cut an island bed into the lawn. Dunno yet, still more of an idea than a plan.

I’m still getting good value from the pots on the patio. I haven’t quite got started on my plan from last month of buying one decent pot per month. I might pop to the garden centre this weekend. The dahlias are doing well, even the ones I rescued from the ravages of slugs and snails in the border. Some may not flower this year but lots of photosynthesised goodness will be going into the tubers.

Patio Border – I’m beginning to wonder how much I like the stachys. It is gradually (rapidly) spreading. I might need to split it to make a bit of room. A job for the next couple of months. The morning glory on the trellis have been great. I will do something like that next year too, if the roses planted at the base aren’t yet tall enough, and maybe even if they are. I still have a bit of a gap at the front on the right side of this border. I probably have a few things that could go in here, I should get on and plant them so they can get established before it gets too cold.

Sunny Border – That hot lips is still a thug, and still in place. I can’t quite bring myself to remove it, especially as it is busy flowering away. I have monarda and lysimachia plants I’ve grown from seed this year that I plan to grow on and plant out next spring, so that might finally be the trigger for the hotlippectomy. The viburnum bod. ‘Dawn’ has suddenly put on a spurt of growth. This is a good thing, it has underwhelmed to date. It is now obscuring the fuchsia ‘Mrs Boothby’ that I planted behind it to grow against the fence. I trust she will compete. There is still much fence visible. I had big plans this year to grow annual climbers up the fence. In reality, the plants I had were rather weak, and by the time they were in theory able to fend for themselves, they struggled for light as the other planting thrived in front of it. I will have another crack at it next year, growing the plants on more before letting them mix it up with the big kids. The newly planted area to the right of the first photo is a bit disappointing. The short asters are doing their part, but the achillea and alstromeria behind them are a hot mess. I did buy them for peanuts, close to the end of their season, so I shouldn’t complain too loudly. Behind them are several foxgloves which are beginning to bulk out but obviously won’t come into their own until next spring. A work in progress.

Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. Aside from the fact that I can see bare soil, I am pretty happy with this since rearranging it a month or two back. The proportions work better. I have another canna, a red leaved one, that I will plant out towards the back somewhere, further burnishing the increasingly tropical late season flavour. The gingers which I grew from seed last year are finally beginning to put some growth on. They are still only a foot high, but I hope for better things next year. In the corner, roughly behind the table as you see it in this picture, I have planted a purple leaved eucomis (e. comosa ‘Oakhurst’) I bought earlier in the month. It supposedly is hardy and will grow to a decent size. The leaf form and the odd pineapple flowers should earn its keep. It’ll be interesting to see how it all grows next year once the new plants are established and the moved ones stop sulking. I also note that the two or three variegated cornus are now getting quite big. In a good way, so far. I think I will leave them be for another year then aim to prune them back in early 2022. I miss the winter colour of my old cornus of which these are cuttings.

Lilac Border. Last month I was contemplating removing the eupatorium on the left hand side. As you can see, it is no more, the flowers just weren’t good enough to justify the spot. In its place I have planted some tall aster ‘September Ruby’, currently quite short, a berberis artopurpurea and a roscoea ‘red gurkha’. The cosmos will be done soon, but they have definitely added some flower power to the order, although obscuring other things as they did so. I haven’t seen the platycodon all summer, for example, nor have the telekia grown on as much as they might. Next year, perhaps.

Shady Border. This is rapidly becoming my favourite border. The new shape is much better than the straight line I had before, and the new plants are doing well. Talking of new plants, I have planted the ivy I bought last month. It allegedly grows to 10m if supported, so should eventually cover the whole of this 4′ fence if I train it the right way. I’m pleased with the rather pretentiously named begonia ‘angel’s blush’, tucked in underneath the physocarpus. I took leaf cuttings earlier in the summer and, yay me, they have all rooted. I’m growing them on in the greenhouse, I hope they survive the winter. I intend to sprinkle them liberally in this border.

I have planted a few other things at this end of the border. A spotty dotty went in here, a euphorbia amygdaloides purpurea and I moved a big hart’s tongue fern to make way for….

… the Chinese rhubarb (which these days sounds like we are blaming China for the spread of rhubarb), rheum palmatum ‘Hadspen Crimson’. This should get to be a substantial plant, filling this space quite the thing. You can see it to the left of the fork. Right now it is pretty small and getting a little lacy as the local slugs try their luck. When it grows on next year they won’t stand a chance, the leaves are too tough.

Hibiscus Border – The fuchsia at the base of the little trellis seems to have survived its first few weeks in the Planting Place of Doom. Perhaps it will thrive on the bones of its long dead predecessors. Again with the stachys. I like the texture of the leaves, I just wish there was less of it. The moss rose I planted earlier this year, ‘William Lobb’ is beginning to assert himself. I think that should do a nice job of covering the back of the planter. At some point I plan to plant some more bulbs in here, alliums, daffs and maybe tulips.

Front Garden– Do clematis tangutica usually go through a second flush? My ‘Bill McKenzie’ has gone bonkers in the last month or two, putting on more vigorous growth and knocking out a lot of flowers to boot. I’m not complaining, all very welcome fence coverage. To paraphrase that snotty kid from Sixth Sense, however, “I see fences”. Must try harder in 2021, I want it all covered. The eccremocarpus does a pretty good job but that went over fast this year and I’ve cut it right back. I have planted a tall fuchsia so if that establishes well it should do a job. Like the fence in the back garden I aim to grow annual climbers up here next year, plus I have a couple of rose cuttings which seem to be doing ok, plus I have an embarassing number of clematis to plant. My fence covering cup runneth over, at least potentially so. The rest of the front garden is a bit of an uruly mess, but still lots going on. I have to hack my way through with a machete, I just need a pith helmet to complete the look. Overall though, I remain happy with the front garden.

Finally, my piece of guerrilla gardening, a commandeered section of verge on the pavement side of my front wall. I don’t remember to water it very often so I should have a think about which plants might thrive in quite dry conditions, with soil on the poor side. This is one location I am completely happy to keep a salvia hot lips, it is doing nicely. Perhaps I should move its twin, the thug from the sunny border, in here. The dahlia on the left has flopped about shamelessly, I clearly need to do a better job of providing the necessary support. It’s a shame really as it is proving to be a good plant, thriving surprisingly well considering. Certainly it is putting out a lot of flowers, which is surely the point of a dahlia.

That’s the tour for this month, I’ll be back in a few weeks for another Border Patrol.