That’s a new collective noun invented by me to refer to our tree that is now laden with fruit that will never ripen. It has spent the past 20 years bearing a handful of fruit at best; this year it is finally in ‘full fig’ but despite the long warm autumn not one has ripened. I’m now faced with the task of knocking them all off (or as many as I can reach) so that next year’s crop can start to form. A major prune is scheduled for this winter, so at least I will be able to reach the fruit – ripe or not – next year.
It has been a long and lovely autumn with some of the best autumn colour I have seen in many years. The day before Storm Angus arrived was glorious, crisp, cold and sunny and the tulip tree looked quite wonderful and at its most golden, with just the occasional leaf detaching itself and drifting gently downwards. Then, during the night, as predicted, we were hit by storm force winds and all that beauty was blown away in a few hours and now carpets the ground. Next task to rake them all up and put them on the leaf heap which will look more like a mountain than a heap by the time we have finished. I’m planning to throw a net over it to stop it redistributing itself when the next storm arrives. And much as I mourn the loss of the leaves, it won’t be long before the first bulbs start to push through the ground to remind me that spring is an equally beautiful season.
I’m not sure I entirely believe predictions of a very cold winter, but just in case I’ve been giving the large pots of agapanthus, cannas and the (still in flower) brugmansia a deep mulch of straw tucked all around the stems for insulation and protection. I will soon add fleece covers to the agapanthus and straw-stuffed wire netting collars to go round the main stems of the other plants. It’s not the most attractive solution but the pots are far too large to move and they do look so wonderful in summer that I’m not prepared to risk losing them.
Agapanthus – A fleece jacket will be added if really cold weather is forecast
Brugmansia with its straw wrapped stems – it will be neatened up but the light was going!
Agapanthus – A fleece jacket will be added if really cold weather is forecast Brugmansia with its straw wrapped stems – it will be neatened up but the light was going!
I feel as it I have spent most of the past month getting bulbs into the ground and into pots, and now the finishing line is almost in sight. There are just a few tulips to go and because they are destined for gaps in the border that are not yet available I am potting them up, seven at a time into black plastic pots so that they can get on with growing, rather than shrivelling in their paper bags. Depending on how the winter progresses, I will either plant them out as space is cleared, or if it proves to be a hard winter I will sink the pots in the ground in early spring. The terracotta pots that I have already planted get a hat of wire netting to keep the squirrels away and upturned wire hanging baskets cover groups of tulips in the flowerbeds.
Wire netting hats aren’t very lovely, but they do the job
Old hanging baskets deter squirrels and also mark where bulbs have been planted