Whilst garden-wise things may be slowing down now, October has got to be one of my favourite months here. A perfect blend of dry crisp bright days and beautiful rich autumnal colours.
Daytime temperatures are now hovering under 10 degrees celsius. The sun sits lower in the sky and this means that my plants, even though they face south, receive less direct sunlight before it disappears behind buildings or trees. This is how my garden looks today:
The Dahlias are straining for the sun and many of their buds have yet to open. I’m not a Dahlia expert but I noticed some of the leaves look like they are showing signs of frost damage.
The last two nights have seen temperatures drop to around freezing. It may be time to sacrifice the buds and cut the plants back and store the tubers until next year…
Back at the end of May I was given some Cosmos bipinnatus seeds by a neighbour. They are only now beginning to flower and it’s great to see them- pink and white. There’s something about the plants I like: feathery foliage and open flowers that make them very uplifting.
I wasn’t sure the plants would flower before the colder weather set in. So even though these won’t have time now to reach their full potential (Cosmos are typically prolific bloomers) I’m glad I’ll get to enjoy a few flowers for a little while at least.
The Antirrhinum continues to produce lovely velvety purple flowers but, like the Cosmos, won’t get to produce alot of flowers. I reckon I’ll grow both again next year to enjoy them over a longer period.
Some of the other smaller plants are also providing some late season colour: the Sedum cauticola with it’s lovely dark pink flowers against blue-green foliage; the Euphorbia Polychroma, true to its name, now bursting with yellows, pinks and fiery oranges;
the magenta dwarf Astilbe peeking out from under the straggly geranium, and the Ophiopogon ‘Niger’ which has produced flowers for the first time since I bought it 2 years ago!
On the veg front, the chard and kale continue to produce. Unfortunately I’m now three chard plants down after I discovered some had been uprooted, probably by over exuberant little hands (the pitfalls of growing in a communal garden). I like to think that these little green fingers may one day become big green fingers!
I didn’t have so much success with the squash this year. The plant had developed powdery mildew and frustratingly I had to consign it to the compost bin even though it had so many undeveloped fruit still on it. Other than perhaps not enough watering, the plant may have been stressed in its pot. I noticed that this patty pan variety of squash seemed to want more space than other regular courgette squash I’d grown last year. If I grow them again next year, I’ll be sure to find/make a large growbag to give them space to spread out much more.
In contrast, the carrots did well. It was a really fun project for my daughter who sowed the carrot seeds, watched them grow and, much to her delight, harvested them yesterday.
We decided to harvest the beetroots too. They (variety Robushka) turned out small and oblong-shaped, perhaps as a result of being grown in a pot. Then again, whenever I’ve grown these beetroots they’ve always turned out oblong rather than round!
Well that’s it for now apart from to mention that my poor winter seedlings are languishing on my window sills as they wait paitiently for me to finish making my cold frame….I’m almost done! But more of that coming soon!