Rather you than me !
In the sixteen years I’ve lived in this house I’ve had some minor tree surgery done on the tulip tree from time to time, but it’s not had a serious crown reduction done until now. Ideally I would leave the tree to get on with it, but it’s started to overhang the house and just cutting it back from there would leave it looking distinctly lopsided so I got planning permission (we live in a conservation area) for a 20% reduction by an approved contractor. It’s always exciting (and a bit scary) watching skilled tree surgeons at work, but it went really well and there is much more light in the garden now – as there will be next year. Despite the regular thud of branches hitting the ground there is remarkably little damage to plants and we also had the bonus that most of the leaves had not fallen so they were taken away and shredded with the branches. As our leafmould heap is pretty well full already and I have an ample supply that has already rotted down from previous years, doing without the bulk of this year’s leaf fall really isn’t a problem.
After : More light will reach the garden below.
The quince tree was supposed to be removed when the new landscaping was done in the garden, but when the time came, neither I nor the builders could bear to cut it down and the retaining wall was carefully built around it. It has rewarded our kindness by carrying a bumper crop. Over the next month the fruit will swell further and gradually ripen, filling the area with the delicious scent of quinces on still sunny days (of which I hope there will be many). I have always planted quinces in my gardens over the years –
I love the fruits uncompromising solidity which means that you have to work hard to release their delicious flavour,
but as they wait until a quiet time in the gardening year, I’m more than happy to devote an afternoon or two to making membrillo (quince cheese) and quince vodka. Another recommended diversion during the late autumn or winter months is the wonderful (but very, very slow) film Quince Tree of the Sun which follows the artist Antonio Lopez as he tries to paint the tree in his garden as the fruit gradually ripens and hangs lower on the tree – it is mesmerising – but definitely not for anyone who likes action movies.
One of my buys from Derry Watkins Special Plants Nursery near Bath was Salvia ‘Amistad’ – I love its intense blue colour and the fact that it is relatively compact – some can grow very tall and then have a tendency to snap their stems in windy weather. It is not reliably hardy, so I have already taken cuttings to ensure more Amistad next year.
Gladiolus murielae is a plant that keeps changing its name – it used to be Acidanthera, then Gladiolus callianthus and now G. Murielae, but whatever its name it is a thing of loveliness. Somehow I didn’t get round to ordering any this year and thought I would be without them because they are not reliably hardy, so I was delighted that several have grown in the new border. I can only think that they were in the soil that was removed from another border during the landscaping and that they like their new sunny spot.
There are some good splashes of colour amongst the fading or slug-ravaged plants in the garden. I gave the Phlox paniculata ‘Hesperis’ a selective Chelsea Chop earlier in the year, reducing some stems by half and leaving others untouched. The result is a plant that has now been flowering for three months, compared with other phlox in the garden that have long finished flowering.