Seems that finally – after this long, warm autumn – the cold weather is about to arrive. With this in mind I have been busy bringing vulnerable plants undercover. The brugmansia was still flowering prolifically, but I took a deep breath and cut it back to about 50cm and have now given it a fleece cover as it is far too large to move.
Succulents are hunkered down under a cloche where they will get plenty of light, but no water. Like many hot climate plants they are surprisingly tolerant of cold – it’s the wet they hate.
The really tender plants are now mainly in the greenhouse and conservatory – and one of the citrus trees gets a starring role on the kitchen windowsill. I would love to bring all three indoors as they are flowering prolifically but they would cut out all the light in the kitchen. The other two are on a table in front of the window in the garage – the nearest I get to an orangery!
I’m very proud of the lemons I’ve grown this year – best ever. Time to pick some I think; I left them on the tree while they were outside because they look so pretty, but they will go unnoticed in the garage.
In the garden
I took a few moments to admire the black-eyed Susan that has romped 3 metres up the ivy this summer – it will disappear with the cold. The last time I saw this plant growing so rampantly was in South Africa (see it here
)where it grows wild and is considered a nuisance.
This year I planted my sweet peas in a large galvanised water tank and once they had finished flowering I planted it up with a mixed bunch of leftovers from other parts of the garden – while everything else is gently subsiding into soft autumnal shades, this hotchpotch is continuing to perform in quite a jolly fashion.
The ‘Terrain’ late cropping peas and mangetout ‘Sweet Horizon’ that I was given to trial by Thompson & Morgan seem to be doing well in the greenhouse with plenty of flowers and pods that are starting to set. It’s all a bit of an experiment, but with the tomatoes finished, its worth giving them a go while the greenhouse is not needed for other things.
The sweetpeas that I sowed in Roottrainers earlier in October have now moved out into the cold frame where they will grow slowly over winter, developing strong root systems so that they eastablish quickly and easily when they are planted out next spring.
The greenhouse tomatoes are coming to an end – but what an end with four giant Brandywines. I’ve just picked one to take to a friend and it weighs in at just over a pound. My best ever crop of this delicious variety. This year I planted direct into the greenhouse border rather than into grow bags and I think that’s why they did so well. Next year I would like to do this again, but rather than replace all the soil I’m going to add several bags of GroChar compost as the biochar should keep the plants disease free. Fingers crossed.