Border Patrol is my monthly look at the borders. What works, what doesn’t, an opportunity to reflect, note what needs doing at some point. These photos were taken on 1st November but I am only just getting around to writing it up. I will be brief or I will never get this published and we’re already well into November.

Rear Garden

First the overhead shot, taken by a swarm of nanotech gnats. Not a lot of floral colour left now, but autumn is working its magic on some of the foliage.

I am gradually sorting out finished pots, removing them so they can be dealt with. I am bagging up the spent compost, probably to use as a soil conditioner in the front garden. I did buy one decent pot before Lockdown II. A large glazed pot, it is currently occupied by a hydrangea. Are garden centres open still? I am due to buy another.

The Patio Border. Things are beginning to look a little untidy. Since I took these photos I have been removing the worst offenders, consigning them with due ceremony, shredded, to the compost heap. I think I will soon cut back the finished asters too, and maybe the loosestrife, although I like the way that looks better. My main motivation is that I have bulbs to plant that I’d like to get in the ground sooner rather than later. Likely later…

The Sunny Border. The amalanchier leaves look very red in these photos, quite a lot more than they are in real life. But you’re not to know that, they look fabulous don’t they?! There are lots of late autumn jobs I want to get on with in here, pruning, cutting back, training, planting, weeding. After a few weeks of reduced gardening motivation, I feel the urge upon me once more.

The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. I have some dahlia floppage, but they are still flowering away. I need to do a better job of supporting them. Aside from that, can’t be bad for end of October.

The Lilac Border. In common with the other borders there is still quite a lot going on here. The persicaria seems particularly happy in what is a shady corner of the garden. That is all one plant. I may need to divide it come spring, perhaps even move it back a little. I think it is obscuring a couple of things, can’t recall what exactly. Ferns, maybe.

The Shady Border. I’m a little embarrassed to say that the garden fork in the 3rd picture has been there since before I took the September pictures. I have now put it away. The bamboo in the centre of the same fork picture has done well this year. A former Six on Saturday contributor sent a division to me a while back. In the first year it had two stems. Last year three, this year five. It is a creeper rather than a runner, I would be happy for it to creep a little more.

The Hibiscus Border. The stachys is beginning to look ropy, a state it achieves around this time every year. I end up cutting it right back and removing the slushy ex-foliage. As observed last month, it may be getting to big for its boots, some division may be in order. I’d like to get in here with some daffodils and maybe even some excess tulips but am inclined to leave it be for now. If I’m honest that’s more out of bulb laziness than admiration of the current state.

The Side Passage. The roses in the nearer containers are doing extremely well, putting on several feet of new growth this year. It needs training in properly, I’ll do that once the clematis have been cut right back out of the way. That piece of guttering has been on the floor there for years. Funny how you don’t see things after a while. I want to top up the containers, the compost has sunk. I need to line them again which will be an interesting exercise.

The Front Garden. Clematis tangutica ‘Bill Mackenzie’, in full flight last month, is now a mass of silky seed heads. Since taking this photo I have cut back all the helenium. I have way too much of it, I will be digging up and dividing the clumps. I will give away the spares, I have quite enough of the basic h. autumnale variety. I’d like to bulk up more on the h. ‘sahin’s early flowerer’, and h. ‘moerheims’s beauty’ which both have better coloration. I will be dividing my small clumps of those into the smallest possible plantlets and growing on again, a job for next March.

That’s the tour for this month.

I’ll be back in a few weeks with another Border Patrol, by which time we ought to have had some hard frosts.